How Did Bob Dylan Get So Weird?

For someone who seems to be in such plain sight, Bob Dylan remains hidden, present but opaque, an open book written in cipher. After listening to him since I was a kid and seeing him live for — gulp — nearly 40 years, I think I’m beginning to figure it out.

Samsung files for another Gear related trademark – Gear S

samsung_gear_s_trademark_application

We have already seen Samsung apply for a few Gear related trademarks, like the Samsung Gear VR mark and another for the Samsung Gear Store. Samsung is clearly interested in building out a complete ecosystem based on Gear devices. The latest trademark to be added to the mix is the “Samsung Gear S”. Like the previous applications, the description regarding application of the mark is very general and casts a wide net over most any wearable device or related accessory.

Although the description may not be much help in figuring out what device this latest trademark may be meant for there could be a clue in the name. There are some who think the S is a reference to “Solo” which would be a variant of the Samsung Gear 2 that has an onboard SIM card and cellular connectivity instead of relying on a connection to a user’s smartphone.

source: USPTO
via: SamMobile


Come comment on this article: Samsung files for another Gear related trademark – Gear S

Bing Ads Is Getting A Slick New Look That Will Feel Familiar

Bing is unveiling a new look that will start showing up in the web interface next week. The new design makes trend graphs immediately visible, has simplified navigation and generally looks a lot like Google AdWords. That’s by design, of course. The Bing Ads team has been making a point of...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

OkCupid Experimented on Me and That’s OK

Matchmaking social site OkCupid sent me a mysterious message one day claiming their super computer misstated my match percentage with another user. That is, the amount of answers to match questions we shared in common were inexplicably wrong, and they wanted to correct their seemingly anomalous mistake. As it turns out, OkCupid did it intentionally, and they are hardly sorry – in fact, that message was probably one of many sent out to users who were involuntary participants in the social site’s experiments.

As outlined on okTrends — OkCupid’s data blog that shares statistical information on user behavior — the site, along with many other websites, regularly subject their users to questionable social experiments in order to gain knowledge on the quality of services rendered, either for users or advertisers. For OkCupid, this meant helping users reach their ideal mates — even if it meant lying to them.

Facebook made similar admissions recently by finally sharing its emotional experiments on users. Unfortunately, all social sites are using personal data in order to reevaluate or even test out its user experience as part of its own ongoing “science” experiments. Participating and using sites like OkCupid allows its robots to sift through massive amounts of personal data in order to find something users haven’t found: love.  One can only imagine how terribly wrong that can get, but it didn’t actually alter the end results very dramatically.

For example, in my case, as in many other users, OkCupid’s special match percentage ended up being not as important as one would expect:

The ultimate question at OkCupid is, does this thing even work? By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships. It correlates with message success, conversation length, whether people actually exchange contact information, and so on. But in the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. Maybe people just like each other because they think they’re supposed to? Like how Jay-Z still sells albums?
 
† Once the experiment was concluded, the users were notified of the correct match percentage.
 
To test this, we took pairs of bad matches (actual 30 percent match) and told them they were exceptionally good for each other (displaying a 90 percent match.)† Not surprisingly, the users sent more first messages when we said they were compatible. After all, that’s what the site teaches you to do.

As it turns out, users were more likely to have the odds of exchanging at least four messages if they were both very compatible and were told so. Ultimately, OkCupid users will find compatibility based on their actual match percentage, but when lied to, they will take an initiative to send the first message to another user because that’s what the site is designed to do. Without enough compatibility, messages and interests tend to wane.

Prior to opening my OkCupid account, I was an avid reader of their data blog, okTrends. Unlike Facebook, OkCupid’s data practice was semi-transparent and even downright educational: I read subjects that ranged from racial studies (Real Stuff White People Actually Like) to helpful tips for users (Exactly What to Say in a First Message). In fact, it can be downright revelatory:

Whites respond by far the least to anyone. Both white lesbians and white gay men write the fewest replies. In fact, across the two charts, whites respond about 15 percent less often than non-whites, and white gay men show a marked preference for other whites. On the other hand, gay white women don’t have the segregationist tendencies of their straight counterparts; they just dis everyone. Whereas last week we saw that straight white women strongly preferred other whites to the exclusion of other groups, lesbian whites respond to all nine racial groups roughly evenly, and, in general, the lesbian community seems relatively colorblind. Only Indian lesbians receive a response rate far off the average, and as I said above, the sample size there is limited and the results might be skewed by chance.

Catholics are more universally liked than Protestants. While neither Christian group has many extremes of like/dislike, Protestant Christians only truly match well with other Christians. Catholics have above average match percentages with Hindus, Jews, and even Agnostics. Looks like Vatican II is working, guys!

Another inquiry that had unexpected results: we asked 252,900 straight people have you ever had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex? Almost a quarter answered ‘yes’.

Admittedly, as someone who writes about the Internet and social media, I might fall into a different category of users than most. But with over 3.5 million users — OkCupid is a treasure trove of data, and if you enjoy human interactions as much as you enjoy studying human interactions, it’s not so bad.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Sit Back and Enjoy These 6-Second Remakes of Classic Movies

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You know you've seen creativity at its finest when 120-minute movies are condensed into six-second segments

Last week, we challenged our Vine community to recreate movies in short-form videos. Submissions ranged from comedies like Office Space and Do the Right Thing to cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and science fiction films like Back to the Future. We saw a good mix of stop-motion animation and live-action Vine videos, some illustrating overarching themes using everyday objects and others acting out a line or two from film scenes.

More about Entertainment, Movies, Vine, Film, and Social Media

A Brief History of #Twitter (2006-2014)

On March 21, 2006, co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first-ever tweet and Twitter was born.

just setting up my twttr

— Jack Dorsey (@jack) March 21, 2006

Jack’s famous missive started something, although at the time he and fellow co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams really had no idea what that was, what it could be, or what it would eventually become.

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

The Middle Class Is 20 Percent Poorer Than It Was In 1984

Nostalgia is just about the only thing the middle class can still afford. That's because median wealth is about 20 percent lower today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was in 1984.

Announcing: A New Resource for Those Who Need Great Content

image of colorful writer's desk

It’s a common wisecrack around the Copyblogger virtual office.

This whole content marketing thing would be a lot simpler if someone else would just write all the content.

Whether you’re a writer or not, it’s just a fact that a solid content marketing strategy needs lots and lots of words. Well-crafted, interesting words, assembled into a strategic plan that moves prospects along the path from stranger to happy customer.

It isn’t always easy to find the person to write those words. Which is probably why we get so many queries from people asking,

Do you know any really good writers we can hire?

And the answer to that question is: Yes, yes we do.

I’m tickled to let you know about a new resource for those of you who need to hire smart, capable, savvy writers. These are the first graduates from Copyblogger Media’s Certified Content Marketer program:

Copyblogger-Certified Content Marketers

How do the writers get certified?

These writers have taken an in-depth course, created by Brian Clark, on the essentials of content strategy. The course covers:

  • Advanced content strategy
  • How to strategize and create content that ranks well in search engines
  • How to use social media to boost the effectiveness of content
  • How to use email as the “conversion key” to turn fans into customers
  • The keys to unlocking maximum results for clients

… and more essential techniques and strategies for putting effective content marketing together.

Each writer on this page has then submitted their application to our writing team for evaluation. A senior-level Copyblogger staff writer carefully reviews each application for:

  • Writing style, voice, and clarity
  • Understanding of key elements of content marketing
  • Mastery of persuasive copywriting technique
  • Professionalism and polish

So if you’re looking for a writer who understands the art of writing and the business of content marketing, this would be a smart place to find one.

What does Copyblogger get out of this?

We do charge the writers a moderate tuition fee to take the course and submit their application. (Just like with a college class, you pay your tuition whether or not you receive a passing grade for the course.)

We do not, however, gain any commissions or referral fees from these writers in exchange for sending them your way. We also don’t charge businesses for hiring our writers.

We actually had two main reasons for creating the program:

  1. To take solid writers and help them become great marketers,
  2. And to facilitate that connection between talented writers and the businesses who need them.

Because content marketing without great content is just … sad, pointless spam. We know content can be so much more than that, but we also saw that businesses absolutely needed trained writers to make that happen.

Not all of us are professional writers — and sometimes it just makes sense to call in a pro. If that’s what you need to to do, here’s where we suggest you start.

The Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers

And do check back from time to time — new writers are being added weekly as they complete their application review.

If you want to know more about what a well-qualified writer can do for your business, you might want to check out this post:

A Breakthrough Resource for Your Content Creation


Are you a talented professional writer who wants to join the program?

Access to the Certification program is limited, but we expect to run the course again before the end of the year.

To find out when, just make sure you’ve signed up for our free online marketing course and ebooks. We’ll drop you a line when we’re ready for new students.

Creative Commons image by Trinesh Champaneri. Some rights reserved.

About the author

Sonia Simone


Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

The post Announcing: A New Resource for Those Who Need Great Content appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Want To Do PR For The NSA? Here’s Your Chance

Are you a U.S. citizen living in the greater Washington, D.C. area looking for a new gig? Do you have impeccable oral and written communication skills? What about the ability to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance?

Porn Performer Or Prima Ballerina? They Aren’t So Different

How do porn laws and ballet relate? Stoya breaks it down with a look into the life of nineteenth century dancer Emma Livry.

London’s Gherkin Skyscraper Up For Sale

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Is Big Pharma Testing Your Meds On Homeless People?

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Could We Ever Build An Artificial World?

If humans are going to live in an off-world habitat, then it must have the things we’ve evolved to depend on here on Earth: the right temperature range, breathable air, specific gravity, day-night cycles, and plenty more. But rather than gussying up a spinning, tin can space station, wouldn't it make more sense to re-create our planet by building an artificial world?

Sprout’s Carolyn Breit on the Importance of Customer Care

Sprout's Carolyn Breit on the Importance of Customer CareAfter working a support job right out of college, Carolyn Breit didn’t think she’d ever wind up back in that field. But then she signed up to participate in Grub With Us, a service that offered people a chance to make new friends over a meal. At one of those dinners, Carolyn met a Sprout Social employee who told her about the startup and mentioned that it had an open position that she might like.

Carolyn applied and started the job as a customer support manager in May 2011. She’s been with Sprout ever since, and in that time, she has not only watched the tool evolve, but helped a growing number of customers make the most of its capabilities. She shared her experience transitioning back to support for social media, along with what happens on a usual day in the Sprout Social office.

What Makes a Manager Tick

Even though she didn’t expect to return to the customer support profession, Carolyn felt it was a good fit for her personality and skills. “Being able to listen to people and identify their problem, even if they don’t really know how to describe it,” she said was an important trait, especially when so much client interaction happens over the phone or by email.

Along with the usual people-skills traits needed for any customer-facing position, Carolyn highlighted observation and a good memory as abilities that make her a good fit for the job. “I can identify trends,” she said. “I can remember that there have been five or six people reporting the same thing.” That means she might be able to point out things to the engineering team that are causing trouble for customers, making the service better for everyone.

She also has the extra benefit of seeing the Sprout Social tool change over time, and that’s a huge benefit for clients. “I can tell what the pain spots are for a lot of people and anticipate that they’re going to need help with whatever it might be,” she said. “You know how to answer customers’ questions before they even have them.”

Timing is Everything

Carolyn is one of two customer support managers in Sprout Social’s Chicago office. The company has two more employees who live in the Philippines to help provide round-the-clock coverage, bringing the entire support team’s numbers to just four. “It’s a very small team,” Carolyn said. “Small but mighty!”

There are plans to hire one or two new support team members later this year, just to give the two Chicagoans some flexibility in taking days off, or even taking breaks during the day. As it stands, Carolyn and her customer support colleague, Tim, handle all of the phone calls, emails, and chats that arrive during working hours in the U.S.

This is an impressive feat for two people, because Sprout’s philosophy for customer support is all about timeliness. “We want to provide fast and accurate support,” is how Carolyn summed it up. “Social media is very time sensitive.”

Even though a client’s problem with the tool often stems from human error, a small issue can quickly become a big problem. She gave the example of a customer’s messages not posting because they’d unwittingly disconnected their Facebook Page from their Sprout account. “We don’t want to wait 48 hours to get back to them because by that time, two days of messages haven’t posted,” she said. “And then they lose money.”

Sprout's Carolyn Breit on the Importance of Customer Care

To provide the best possible service to each client report, the customer support team places a high priority on first response time. “We do like to make sure that people get an answer from us within less than an hour,” she said. “It’s generally not even 10 minutes before we answer their questions.”

During the weekdays, she and Tim trade off handling emails and phone calls, while both keep a close eye on live chat. They usually trade shifts on weekends, just to ensure that every customer in need is taken care of, no matter when they have a problem.

Although Sprout has grown considerably, both in staff size and in client numbers, the goal has not changed. “It’s still manageable that we can treat every customer equally and give them the support they need,” Carolyn said.

A Team Effort

Carolyn noted that working in support can be a strenuous task, especially when there are only two people to manage the ever-unpredictable volume of customer needs. “It’s rare that people will email customer support with a compliment,” she said. “It can get a little draining.”

To counter the stress of needing to be on-point for customers, Carolyn said fellow support workers needed a lot of patience, a good sense of humor, and an occasional cocktail. She also gets support from her colleagues, who she said were one of the best things about her job.

For instance, on a strictly business note, the social media managers at Sprout do pass on the praise and happy responses that clients share on Twitter and Facebook to Carolyn and Tim. This helps balance out the pressure to fix what problems do arise. But the appeal of the people in the office extends beyond professional courtesy.

Sprout's Carolyn Breit on the Importance of Customer Care

“I just like coming to work,” Carolyn said. “I mean, I love the product, but it’s also just fun to be here and feel like you’re with friends.”

The post Sprout’s Carolyn Breit on the Importance of Customer Care appeared first on Sprout Social.

Spainish Law To Force Google To Index And Pay For Local News

There’s a basic feeling among traditional news publishers throughout Europe, and among some in the US, that Google has benefited enormously from their content but failed to offer anything in return. Furthermore, many publishers see Google as directly responsible for the decline of their...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Study: How can retargeting supercharge a Facebook ad campaign?

retargeting650

More advertisers are discovering Facebook’s complex ad models, such as retargeting via Facebook Exchange and Website Custom Audiences. How effective can these techniques be? A new study by AdRoll, a Facebook Exchange partner, showed that by using both FBX and Website Custom Audiences, the CPM of News Feed ad impressions on mobile was 57 percent lower than desktop, generating a 10 percent higher click-through rate. It led to a 61 percent lower cost-per-click for News Feed ads on mobile compared to desktop.

The study took into account more than 800 million impressions from 215 AdRoll clients running retargeting campaigns on mobile and desktop.

Other key findings:

  • When layering desktop News Feed campaigns onto web campaigns, the advertisers in the study delivered an average of 5.7 percent more impressions, but generated 53 percent more clicks.
  • When the advertisers studied added mobile to an existing web and desktop News Feed ad campaign, clicks rose by 29 percent.
  • As a complementary channel, mobile News Feed ads added an average of 3.8 percent incremental conversions to an existing retargeting mix of web and desktop News Feed.
  • The verticals of apparel, beauty and technology had the quickest adoption of mobile ad sizes, while media and entertainment served the highest-performing mobile ad campaigns in the study.

AdRoll found that layering Facebook on top of general web advertising led to a conversion lift of 73 percent.

Facebook_By-The_Numbers_Graphcs_2014-11AdRoll blogged about the study:

Retargeting on Facebook has been a huge hit, and has become a must-have component of any business’s performance marketing strategy. When Facebook first launched News Feed ads on Facebook Exchange (FBX) last summer, it gave advertisers a new way to execute high-performance retargeting campaigns on a highly visible, social ad unit reaching over a billion users around the world. In December, Facebook doubled down on its offering by releasing a second way to execute retargeting campaigns through Custom Audiences from your Website (WCA), which expands reach to mobile and tablet audiences, and also allows advertisers to overlay website intent data with Facebook data like demographics or pages liked.

To read the full report, click here.

Readers: How often do you incorporate retargeting into your ad campaigns?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.26.40 AMImages courtesy of AdRoll.

Instagram Improves Customer Service With Conversocial

Instagram has teamed up with social customer service software company Conversocial to help brands communicate better and faster with their customers’ comments and questions directly on Instagram.

Customer queries on Instagram often get buried or go unanswered for long periods of time, if at all. Support teams are usually made up of marketers, not customer service representatives.

The partnership underscores Instagram’s wide consumer appeal and the importance of engaging customers via the platform with content and improved customer service.

Sixty-seven percent of companies believe that social customer service is growing in importance and is the most pressing short-term priority for contact centers in the U.S. and U.K., according to Forrester research.

Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube are already using intelligent workflow software. The Conversocial platform allows social customer service agents to prioritize content, identify and respond to comments and assess quality control of brands’ responses. Key customer service metrics such as first response time are handled via a centralized dashboard.

Conversocial recently announced the addition of $5 million to its current round of funding, bringing the total round to $9.4 million.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Ratings Come To Google Product Listing Ads In The US

Spotted in a test back in May, product ratings and reviews are officially rolling out on Google Product Listing Ads as of today — just weeks ahead of the full transition to Shopping Campaigns. Available in the U.S. only for now, consumers will begin to see the 5-star rating system appear on...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Finally! Beats’ Solo 2 headphones have the sound quality to match their hype (review)

Finally! Beats’ Solo 2 headphones have the sound quality to match their hype (review)
Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

For once, Beats has made a pair of headphones that I can actually recommend.

Beats, which Apple recently acquired for $3.2 billion, is known for expensive and stylish headphones that are heavy on the bass but low on accurate musical detail. Still, this hasn’t stopped the company from kicking off a whole new market for high-end headphones.

But with the Solo 2 ($200), its latest flagship headset, Beats is showing that it’s finally addressing criticisms about its past devices.

And that’s a good thing for Beats, as competition in the high-end headphone market heats up. Samsung just announced its own suite of audio products, which, not surprisingly, include some headsets that look suspiciously like Beats’ devices.

Rapper Dr. Dre and music producer/executive/mastermind Jimmy Iovine cofounded Beats with the idea that consumers needed a better way to listen to their music than crummy iPod headphones. And while they succeeded in delivering something superior to Apple’s iconic white earbuds, their headphones introduced entirely new audio quality problems. Of course, that didn’t stop Beats’ devices from becoming the must-have music accessories over the past few years.

So even before we see what Beats will be able to do under Apple, it’s nice to see the company addressing the most common criticism of its products.

But while they sound better than Beats’ previous headphones, the Solo 2’s still fall victim to something that affects most “luxury” products: You can always find something that’s just as good for far less money.

Beats Solo 2 headphones Beats Solo 2 headphones Beats Solo 2 headphones

Good: Significantly better sound quality than the original Beats Solo

First off, the Beats Solo 2 sound great. They still lean a bit on the bass-heavy end, but unlike the company’s past headphones, they also do a decent job of fleshing out the midrange and high-end. That makes them far more suitable for more harmonically diverse music like jazz or classical rather than just compressed and bass-heavy pop tunes.

I threw just about every musical genre I could at the Solo 2, but being a massive movie fan, my ultimate test for headphones typically ends up being film scores. The Solo 2 tackled Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon score, Hans Zimmer’s Inception, and Michael Giacchino’s recent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes without any sign of muddying. Past Beats headsets, on the other hand, always left me feeling like I was missing out on the finer details in film scores.

Design-wise, the Solo 2 still resemble Beats’ other iconic headphones. A few tweaks, including a slightly different headband curve, make for a tighter fit than its predecessor. It’s still built mostly out of plastic, but the metal highlights give it slightly more premium feel as well. The headphones also fold up, making them easier to carry in the included case.

Beats Solo 2 headphones

Bad: Still not a great value, fit may be too tight for some

Even though Beats has made huge improvements in sound quality, the Solo 2 are still positioned as a designer gadget. You’re basically paying a lot more just to have the Beats logo on a pair of headphones. Competing headphones, especially Sony’s iconic MDR-7506 studio cans, are out there for half the price of the Solo 2 online.

If you’re not concerned with being one of the cool kids, your money would be better spent elsewhere. And unlike the quality criticisms, price isn’t something Beats will likely fix any time soon. The company pulled in $1.2 billion in revenue last year, mostly from headphone sales, according to the Carlyle Group, one of Beats’ investors. Clearly, people buying these headphones don’t mind paying a bit more for less. And now that it’s going to be a part of Apple, Beats will likely hold on tight to its designer status for some time.

The Solo 2’s new fit may not be comfortable for everyone. While they feel fine when I first put them on thanks to its plush cushioning, they usually end up feeling tight and restrictive after 30 minutes of use. I’d recommend trying them on first before committing.

Verdict: A solid Beats upgrade, but shop around

The Solo 2 is everything Beats’s hype and marketing has promised. They’re stylish, and they sound great. Wearing these, you’ll wonder why anyone would want to wear those crummy earbuds that come with their phones.

But it will still cost you a lot more than competing headsets. And if you’re someone who cares more about value rather than designer logos, it’s worth looking hard at the competition before joining the Beats set.



Beats Music is a music streaming service spun out of Beats Electronics and into its own company in early 2013. The core experience will be centered around curated playlists created by musicians and music writers. It is currently in pri... read more »

Halfway to Iron Man: Hands On With the Myo Motion Control Armband

Myo-on-arm-wave
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Myo from Thalmic Labs is one of those smart and deceptively simple-looking inventions that has the potential to change the way we work and live

It’s as easy to put on as a traditional armband, but is packed full of technology that lets it track both your hand movements and arm motions, then lets you use those gestures to control virtually anything on your desktop, laptop or smartphone. It's a lot like Iron Man Tony Stark's gesture-controlled holo-computer, but without the super-cool imagery.

Myo sounded exciting and when Thalmic Labs unveiled its first demonstration video last year. It garnered a lot of buzz, especially around the idea that it might give you Jedi-like control over computers. Read more...

More about Hands On, Tech, Dev Design, Gadgets, and Mobile

100 Internet Marketing Experts Speaking at SMX in NYC

More than 100 of the world’s most knowledgeable internet marketers will present at Search Marketing Expo – SMX East, September 30 – October 2 in New York City. They’ll share what makes them successful, what keeps them up at night, and what you’ll need to know to succeed in the next...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

China Raids Microsoft Offices in Anti-Monopoly Investigation


China regulators opened an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp., seizing computers and documents from offices in four cities amid escalating tensions with U.S. technology companies.

The government also is investigating Microsoft executives in China, including a vice president, according to a statement posted Tuesday on the State Administration for Industry & Commerce website. The regulator urged the company to cooperate after almost 100 SAIC staff inspected the offices Monday, copying contracts and financial statements.

China stepped up the pressure on U.S. companies after American prosecutors indicted five Chinese military officers in May for allegedly stealing corporate secrets. Microsoft, Google Inc. and Apple Inc. have since been criticized by state media for allegedly cooperating with a U.S. spying program. Qualcomm Inc. in November disclosed an investigation related to anti-monopoly law.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

9 Awesome Examples of Copywriting Headlines (That You Can Steal!)

They say that writing the headline is the hardest part of publishing. Some people have even devised specific strategies to make it easier – ranging from fill-in-the-blank templates to waiting until the last minute to whip up something good and creative.

Whatever method you choose, these nine examples will make you re-think the way you craft headlines. Why? Because they all have several points in common that are worth analyzing from a copywriting point of view. Let’s take a look:

1. Avocode: Simple, Straightforward and To-the-Point

avocode

Avocode is a beta service that allows developers to gather important details from a PSD file, without the need for Photoshop. The headline works in that it states exactly what you can do with the site, and then welcomes you to request an invite. Nothing loud, pushy or overly complicated. A small “Questions and Answers” link in the upper right helps relieve any lingering doubts the visitor may have.

The sub-headline here gets into the nitty-gritty of the offer, but does it flawlessly in a single sentence. Simple, straightforward and to the point.

2. Bing: Let the Facts do the Talking

bing

I’ve kept this ad from Bing for a while, just because it was so good. A newspaper-style clipping and a pair of sinister eyes completes the picture, and it’s easy to tell exactly at-a-glance what this is about. Google said it wouldn’t do something, and they did it anyway. Of course, Bing is not immune to having its own search records seized, but there’s no mention of that.

Bing doesn’t even go into a full-fledged bullet-point frenzy over what they do better, because as we all know, you could probably count those things on one hand. Instead, it lets the facts speak for it and backs them up with the original sources. Unsurprisingly, this ad was targeted specifically at Google-using Safari browsers for the best possible targeting results.

It’s not known whether or not usage of Bing increased as a result, but it’s a safe bet that many people were concerned about their privacy, and decided to at least try Bing as an alternative.

3. Name Badges: Easy and Fast

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What I love about this example is that it doesn’t mince words. And when it comes to something as mundane as name badges, writing a thought-provoking, interesting and unique headline would make most people leap into oncoming traffic.

The supporting image copy illustrates just how these conference badges are different from the typical “Hello, My Name Is” stickers, and invites the user to easily create their own badge in minutes.   When it comes to designing something, “easy” and “fast” are the buzzwords that get clicked.

4. Pinterest – Create Your Own Outcome

pinterest

Let’s imagine for a moment, that you’re not really sure what Pinterest is. Maybe you’ve heard about it, but you don’t understand why everyone’s pinning and sharing and creating. This headline makes it relevant. “They used Pinterest to plan a dream trip” is just one of many possible outcomes of using the site. You’ll have to sign up to discover yours.

Fortunately, Pinterest adds a little enticement to the headline by letting you know that it only takes around 45 seconds to sign up, and that there are billions of pins to explore – so you can use Pinterest to do whatever inspires and motivates you.

5. Oscar: Make the Impersonal, Personal

oscar

Debuting in New York, Oscar is a health insurance company that, as its introductory paragraph describes, is using technology to simplify insurance by making it friendlier and more accessible. The “Hello, We’re _________” is a type of headline that you’d typically find on freelance creative portfolios, but it’s good to see it expanding. By taking something as boring, frustrating and confusing as health insurance and making it friendly and open, Oscar has the potential to get a lot of positive attention through just the power of words alone.

6. IconJar: Get Comfortable with Action Words

action-words-iconjar

This one isn’t specifically a headline, but rather the sub-section that typically appears below the headline. When you’re crafting headlines for your landing pages, it’s important not to lose steam after the big reveal (your offer). So what IconJar has done here is a trick that you can easily duplicate – use action words:

Boost, organize, drag & drop. It’s easy to say something like “IconJar keeps your icons tidy so you can find them anytime”, but that’s bland and uninspiring. Instead, the copy uses action words and references them to “you”, so that not only do you have these movement-inspired words, but you could actually picture yourself using this app in the process.

And if someone can picture themselves using your product or service before they’ve even hit the buy button – congratulations, you’ve already sold them.

7. Montage: Photo Books, Simplified

photobook

The idea behind Montage is captured brilliantly in this page – which not only has a direct, concrete headline that would appeal to anyone looking to create a photo book (effortless, made with love), it also has a gorgeous hero shot of the product in close, crisp detail.

Under the headline and hero shot are five supporting “feature pillars” that goes into a little more detail on the layout, sizes, materials and other specifics. Clicking each one takes you to a specific section on the same page that provides more information.

The only thing unclear about this page is the “Request an Invite.” Nowhere above the fold does it show that Montage is in beta, nor what requesting an invite actually entitles the user to – do they get to create a photo book or just be invited to use the service once it goes live? Clarifying the call-to-action could go a long way toward increasing sign-ups here.

8. Schnapps – Clear Headline, but Hero Shot Could Be Better

schnapps

Schnapps is an app that is in beta, which lets you create time-lapse videos of your design work. This would be a great addition to a portfolio, in order to illustrate the start-to-finish production work that goes into making a beautiful, elaborate design of any kind. The headline is simple and says in just a few words, exactly what the program does.

The hero shot on this page, however, could be better. It’s not entirely clear exactly what the process is: do I put PSD files into a timeline of sorts? How are they ordered? Can I save or share the finished product? If so, in what format? There are a lot of unanswered questions on this page that a combination of a sub-headline, and perhaps a video in place of the hero shot, would do well to answer.

9. Scratch: Making You Think

scratch

Scratch Wireless’ headline makes you think – Wireless should be free. Its sub-headline is where it hits that light bulb moment – look at all the things wireless can do using your existing internet. Why are you paying so much for it, in fact, why are you paying at all? (emphasis mine).

Scratch’s philosophy in its headline seems to be that, just because “we’ve always done it that way” doesn’t have to mean we have to keep doing it. Rather than just talking about “free wireless” which could make a visitor’s B.S. detector shoot straight up, it throws a question right back at the visitor – why?

So What Can You Learn from These Headlines?

Hopefully by now you’ve come away with some great “headline ammunition” that you can use when crafting your landing pages. Just remember these bite-sized points when you write:

  • Keep your headline straight, simple and to-the-point. The best headlines don’t need to be witty, clever or complex. Simple sells.
  • Let the facts speak for you. If your company was featured in the news, you’ve created an amazing case study or otherwise “made headlines”, use that information to make your own headlines!
  • Put the user in control. Just because people use your service one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Put the control in the user’s hands and let them explore everything you have to offer.
  • Make it personal. Whether you’re selling lingerie or lawnmowers, there’s a part of your business that many people might find intimidating, frustrating or confusing. How can you make the process friendlier and more welcoming to them?
  • Don’t forget the supporting cast – Although your headline will do most of the selling for you, don’t forget that great visuals, strong “feature pillars” and a clear, concise sub-headline add so much more.
  • Ask questions that make people think – If you’ve got a feature that others might term brilliant or revolutionary, why not ask the kinds of questions that make people think? Jolt them out of their rut and make them start questioning. They’ll thank you for the insight.

What are some of your favorite headlines? Share your most compelling ones below in the comments! We’d love to hear your feedback!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps businesses improve website design and increase conversions with user-focused design, compelling copywriting and smart analytics. Learn more at iElectrify and get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up. Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!

Check out the preliminary agenda for GamesBeat 2014

Check out the preliminary agenda for GamesBeat 2014

Above: Dan "Shoe" Hsu, editor-in-chief of GamesBeat, and Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat, opened day two of GamesBeat 2013 with a Halloween theme.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

We’re pleased to announce our preliminary agenda for GamesBeat 2014, our game-industry conference that takes place Sept. 15 and Sept. 16 at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in San Francisco.

This preliminary agenda will be subject to change, but it will give you a good idea of how our conference is taking shape. Many of our speakers are directly addressing our theme of Total World Domination, which we’ll explain below.

We have secured a discounted room rate of $219/per night for GamesBeat attendees at the Cartwright Hotel. The cutoff date for making reservations is approaching: August 14thTo make a reservation, please call (415) 421-2865 and reference GamesBeat or VentureBeat. We also have a discounted room rate of $399/per night at the Parc 55. The cutoff date for making reservations at the Parc 55 is August 13th. You can call 888-228-1952 and ask for the GamesBeat 2014 Room Block to make reservations.

We’ll post our speakers for GamesBeat University, our parallel track of talks with practical tips and tricks, later on as we book more of them.


Mike Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association.

Above: Mike Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

We’ll cover the full spectrum of gaming at our sixth annual GamesBeat event. The conference gathers the top executives, investors, analysts, journalists, and entrepreneurs from the industry to explore the latest trends and monetization opportunities.

GamesBeat editor-in-chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu and I will once again serve as masters of ceremonies. Our theme for 2014 is “Total World Domination.” Gaming is competing on the world stage to become the dominant medium for entertainment. Will it succeed? And will blockbusters dominate the game business across all platforms — consoles, PCs, mobile, and online — or will diversity thrive as indies stay strong?

If you purchase one of the first 50 tickets, you can get up to $400 off the event.

Our previously announced speakers include:

  • Bob Meese, global head of games business development for Google Play
  • Jonathan Simpson-Bint, chief revenue officer of Twitch
  • Malathi Nayak, reporter for Reuters.
  • Lucy Bradshaw, senior vice president of the Maxis label at Electronic Arts
  • Rachel Franklin, the general manager of The Sims Studio at EA
  • Rick Thompson, the chairman of Signia Ventures
  • Chris DeWolfe, the chief executive of SGN
  • Phil Sanderson, a game-savvy partner at IDG Ventures
  • Peter Levin, the president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, the film studio that made The Hunger Games and Divergent
  • Mike Gallagher, the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association
  • Jens Begemann, the chief executive of German social mobile game publisher Wooga
  • Mitch Lasky, a general partner at Benchmark and an investor in Riot Games and Natural Motion
  • John Riccitiello, a gaming investor and the former CEO of Electronic Arts
  • Evan Hirsch, the founder of Engine Co. No. 4 (talking about seeing signs of trouble in game studios)
  • Alisa Chumachenko, the CEO of Moscow-based mobile game maker Game Insight
  • Tim Chang, managing director at the Mayfield Fund

Our advisers include:

  • Brock Pierce, the managing director of the Clearstone Global Fund
  • Eric Goldberg, the managing director of Crossover Technologies
  • Michael Chang, the managing director of Mavent Partners
  • Tim Chang, managing director at Mayfield Fund.

We’ll roll out a steady drumbeat of speakers as we get closer to the event. We expect to have about 100 speakers.

Each year, GamesBeat follows a big trend. In 2009, we focused on how “All The World’s a Game” with the explosion of games on the global stage. In 2010, GamesBeat@GDC focused on “Disruption 2.0.” In 2011, our theme was “Mobile Games Level Up,” focusing on the busy intersection of games and mobile technology. In 2012, we explored the Crossover Era, defined by the time when so many big game companies and startups were transforming themselves by expanding from one market to the next. Last year, we talked about the Battle Royale as barriers between the different industry segments came down. Now, in the bid for Total World Domination, the competition to become the biggest global gaming company is wide open.

As game companies adapt to change, we’re witnessing disruption, change, consolidation, innovation, and the arrival of big money. Billions of dollars that are at stake. Last year, more than 550 notables from throughout the game industry — social, mobile, online, PC, and console — attended the event. Please join us.

This year, we’ll see the return of our contest for the best gaming startup. The attention that these startups get for speaking onstage and winning the event is invaluable. An all-star panel of judges will pick the most promising game startup, based on freshness, innovation, and potential for business success. The top nominees will appear onstage, and the judges will pick the winner at the event.

We are still exploring our subthemes for the event and welcome your suggestions. If you’d like to sponsor, please send an email to sales@venturebeat.com.

Here’s what a couple of game-industry leaders said about last year’s event:

“Thanks for the contributions GamesBeat has made for this industry.” –Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

“It’s really refreshing listening to the cutting-edge innovation that is happening in the industry. I’m learning so much by being here.” -- Mike Gallagher, the president of the Entertainment Software Association

Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!


Thanks to the following industry leaders for supporting GamesBeat 2014: NativeX as a Corporate Partner; Tapjoy and SupersonicAds as Gold Partners; TrialPay as a Silver Partner; SponsorPay, LifeStreet Media and Personagraph as Event Partners.

Negative SEO: How to Know if You’ve Been a Victim

 

Negative SEO happens and it’s something that can be used against you anytime, no matter what industry you are in. This post will help you quickly identify if you’ve been a victim of negative SEO and provides tips on how to overcome it.

Good SEO vs. Negative SEO

Negative SEO is volatileThere’s good SEO and then there’s bad SEO. Just as good chemistry can be used for dark purposes (cue Walter White), negative SEO can be used nefariously and refers to the worst kind of SEO possible: The intentional act of over-optimizing or spamming a site in order to lower its rankings in search results. It’s bad stuff, not the kind of thing you or your agency should ever engage in.

Good SEO is considered a highly ethical practice, when it’s employed to help quality sites with great content to establish well-deserved rankings through following developer best practices and Google’s quality guidelines. It’s also ethical when used to help well-intentioned sites overcome technical barriers such as unintentional duplicate content, crawlability, page speed and other issues.

Good vs Bad SEO

How Does Negative SEO Happen?

Negative SEO is done primarily through link building. For example, someone may pay an off-shore firm to build 10,000+ links to your site using a key phrase your site is targeting. Please note: if your current agency is doing this with the belief this is going to improve rankings, cancel immediately or you may experience traffic declines similar to this:

Negative SEO traffic drop

How to Know if You’ve Been Targeted

Spotting negative SEO is fairly straightforward if you’ve never intentionally built links. However, if you’ve built links manually through the years using various target keywords, then it can be more difficult. Regardless of how the links have appeared in your profile, here are a handful of things you can do:

  • Conduct a backlink analysis, focusing on anchor text
  • Look for unnatural or suspicious IPs
  • Identify any out-of-industry, unrelated anchor text (Pills, Payday, etc.)
  • Check Google Webmaster Tools for Manual Penalties

Natural anchor text from Sports AuthorityDo you know what anchor text is being used to link to your site? A thorough backlink analysis should be conducted to help identify which terms link to you the most. There are a number of great tools including Ahrefs, Link Detox, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer to help you do this but pay special attention to keyword-rich anchor text. Any links that aren’t simply linking with your brand or domain name should receive highest priority.

If your site and target markets are located entirely in the U.S. then you shouldn’t have foreign IPs or non-US TLDs pointing to your site. Tools such as Ahrefs are handy in quickly spotting TLD distributions:

Foreign ccTLDs

Do you have any nonsense, unrelated anchor terms? Bad SEOs often take advantage of all the algorithms associated with certain industries such as PayDay Loans. If a site happens to link to yours using anchor text which includes these terms, your rankings will suffer. We recently saw a travel/tourism client with inexplicable payday-related anchor text in their profile: Toxic Anchor Text Example

Do you have any Manual Actions/Penalties in Google Webmaster Tools? Here’s what you’ll see if you do:

Webmaster Tools Manual Penalty

How to Recover

This post doesn’t delve into the complete recovery process but we’ve written a thorough guide on how to recover from Google Penalties and the principles are the same:

  • Do you best to contact webmasters and remove known bad links (yes this makes us upset too - especially if you’re not the one that built bad links – but Google still wants you to do you best to remove them)
  • Use the Disavow Links tool
  • Submit a reconsideration request (for manual penalties only)
  • Contact Google through the Webmaster Tools Troubleshooter (for algorithmic penalties)

To summarize, know what links are pointing to your site and know what anchor text is being used the most. Be suspect of any anchor text that is highly optimized (focuses on your primary keywords) or especially be on the lookout for completely non-related industry terms (such as payday loans, etc.). Attempt to remove all known bad links and add all [bad domains] to your disavow file in Google Webmaster Tools. Be up front about the issue and be respectful in your communication to Google through the reconsideration request form or troubleshooter and don’t give up, even after several contact attempts.

Are We Making Money At Digital Marketing – Or Losing It?

Digital marketing has long been heralded as the promised land for brands everywhere. In fact, Magna Global recently issued a report indicating that digital media spend is expected to increase by $20 billion to $140 billion, or 27 percent of the global market, this year. This isn’t a surprise,...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

What It’s Like To Be A Professional Weed Trimmer

As far as repetitive gigs go, cutting buds from stems is as monotonous as it gets. But giving good trim is a skill, and it certainly pays better than minimum wage.

The First Map Of The Ocean Floor

More than a pretty picture, this hand-drawn map of the ocean floor changed a way of thinking.

Escape From New York

Smaller cities are increasingly attractive for New York chefs, who find savvy audiences willing to support innovative restaurants.

Apple adds Fox Now, CNBC channels to Apple TV

Apple on Tuesday updated its Apple TV set-top box with channels for two new content partners, adding one each for financial news powerhouse CNBC and entertainment network Fox -- though both require a cable subscription to access most content.






This Clever Song Has Some Thoughts About Gender Roles In Country Music

Sometimes you need a fat guy wearing half a pair of overalls to realize the astonishing sexism of an entire genre of music.

These Motion-Sensitive Trash Cans Are Stuck In An Infinite Loop

The most dangerous thing in the world is a dad with too much free time.

India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart just raised $1B to go mobile

India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart just raised $1B to go mobile
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Flipkart’s new $1 billion funding is the largest raise to date by an Internet company in India.

The money will be used to make strategic investments, especially in mobile, the company said in a press release.

Flipkart, online vendor of everything from cookware to flat screen TVs, is quickly moving into mobile, not unlike its U.S. lookalike, Amazon. Like Amazon, Flipkart announced the release of a line of smartphones earlier this month. Now the company is positioning itself to build a mobile commerce empire. Unlike Amazon, its phones will be cheap, running around $45.

The company says India will have more than half a billion mobile users by 2020. In order to capitalize on that growing user base, the company will need to put its energy into mobile platforms for buying and selling.

E-commerce in India is cutthroat. Out of India’s 243 million Internet users, Flipkart has 22 million. The company still has a long way to go if it wants to capture a lion’s share of the market.

Since its founding in 2007, Flipkart has raised roughly $750 million not including this most recent round. The last funding round was for $210 million and closed in May.

Tiger Global Management and Naspers jointly led the round. Other participating investors include Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, Accel Partners, DST Global, ICONIQ Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Sofina.



Flipkart went live in 2007 with the objective of making books easily available to anyone who had internet access. Today, we're present across various categories including movies, music, games, mobiles, cameras, computers, healthcare an... read more »

Get a Room! The Next Big Thing for Mobile is About to ‘Check In’

Get a Room The Next Big Thing for Mobile is About to Check In 300x199 Get a Room! The Next Big Thing for Mobile is About to Check InGet ready for a major upgrade at a future Hilton hotel stay.

Beginning next year, guests can kiss the hotel’s front desk goodbye. The check-in process once a staple of the hotel experience will soon be relegated to the trash bin of history.

Soon, all you will need is your smartphone to access a room at a Hilton property.

The Wall Street Journal reports that all 4,200 Hilton properties worldwide will be ready to offer smartphone-based room access by the end of 2016

The app released by Hilton already allows guests to electronically check-in to hotels. However, guests still have to physically go to the front desk in order to retrieve their room keys. The Hilton group announced that with the smartphone, guests will be sent a key code electronically to use, in order to unlock and get into the rooms.

Hilton, however, is not the first hospitality giant to go mobile. Select properties belonging to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Marriott International Inc., and InterContinental Hotels Group, have already introduced similar mobile features.

“We are giving customers unprecedented choice and control at scale, and in the palm of their hands,” says Hilton’s chief executive Christopher Nassetta.

To learn more about Hilton’s vision for the future of hotel room keys, check out the full WSJ report here.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Get a Room! The Next Big Thing for Mobile is About to Check In Get a Room! The Next Big Thing for Mobile is About to Check In

That Time Richard Nixon Discussed Panda Sex

When it comes to leaked Nixon conversations, this one is pretty tame. However, it is refreshing to know that between his paranoid wiretapping and outright anti-Semitism, he was as into pandas as the rest of us.

The Poor Will Always Be With Us. But Where Will We Let Them Live?

The "poor door" controversy on Manhattan's Upper West Side is only the most outlandish example of New York's uphill battle on affordable housing.

Semen Collecting Is Tricky And Dangerous

Working with penises, semen and testicles is no laughing matter but a sense of humor is essential, says a bull whisperer.

How Do You Build The World’s Tallest Water Slide?

From conceptualization to the first plunge, building the world's tallest water slide takes more trial-and-error than you might believe.

8 Small Tweaks That Can Deliver Big Link Building Results

About this time every year I reflect on my progress thus far and start thinking about what I want to do differently in the second half of the year. Consider taking a good, hard look at your link building campaigns. Even if your strategy isn’t six months old, making changes to your plan...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

AWeber Releases 3,000+ Stock Image Gallery

If a picture is worth a thousand words then AWeber has just given you over three million new things to say! AWeber is excited to announce our new Stock Image Gallery that makes adding visuals to your email newsletters a snap. With more than 3,000 images you have endless combinations right at your fingertips. No need to worry about extra charges for storing too many images, being an AWeber customer gets you unlimited image storage.

Interested in getting started? Find out how to access the new AWeber Stock Image Gallery and the terms in which you can use the images. Not an AWeber customer yet? Sign up for $1!

Need ideas how to use images to spruce up your email newsletters? We have a few AWesome ideas for you!

Five Reasons to Start Adding Images to Your Emails

5 Reasons To Start Adding Images To Your EmailsEveryone likes pretty pictures. According to Web Marketing Group, 40% of us respond better to visual information than we do plain text. And considering that 90% of the stuff that enters the brain is visual, it’s no wonder that graphical content drives engagement.

So what’s a smart marketer to do? For one, start treating images as an integral part of your email campaigns. Still not convinced? Here are five ways that images drive engagement.

Grab Reader Attention

There is no denying that people skim email and social media content looking for a great piece of information that grabs their attention. Using images can slow them down long enough to focus on your message.

Not any old image will do. Images should be relevant to what you are talking about and easy on the eyes. Using blurry photos or pixelated graphics won’t impress anyone and can backfire by making you look unprofessional.

Deliver Shareable Content

Kissmetrics has researched that photos on Facebook get 104% more comments, 84% more click-throughs on links and 53% more Likes than text-based posts. Naturally, photo-driven email has a better chance at being passed along by your subscribers to their friends and colleagues.

For example, let’s say you are a professional organizer and work with clients to declutter their work environment. One of the key benefits of your service is increased productivity and less lost paperwork. You could simply list out the reasons why people should hire you or you could post a visually engaging infographic that highlights the client benefits to your service. Which do you think is more likely to be forwarded to your subscribers, friends and colleagues?

Create a Branding Opportunity

Including images in your emails doesn’t just help create memorable content, it solidifies your brand identity. Consistently adding your company logo, colors, photos and icons to your emails lets your readers know that this email is from you – not some spammer or an unknown source. Images help build a sense of familiarity. Your subscribers will keep opening your emails because they know what to expect – more awesome content from your company!

Showcase Your Products and Services

Ever hear the adage, “show, don’t tell”? Sometimes text on its own isn’t enough to convey your message, but images provide a powerful opportunity to do just that. Do you want your subscribers to buy your latest ebook? Show off the cover in your email! Did your company just unveil a new series of training classes? Show them in action!

You don’t have to be a master wordsmith to create an effective email. When you let your photos do the talking, you can show off your products or services in a way that visually connects with your readers.

PRO TIP: Make sure you include a link with your images so that when readers click on that ebook cover they are taken directly to checkout!

Give Your Emails a Human Touch

As you know, trust is a huge part of deciding whether or not to make a purchase. Images not only give your business a visual identity, they humanize your emails by letting your readers know what kind of experience they can expect when working with you – and that experience isn’t always something you can put into words.

Images give you the opportunity to show your customers that you understand their needs. If you are a real estate company, showing a family happily moving into their new home will strike a chord. If you are an event planner, a photo of a beautiful wedding reception will inspire those in your audience who want the same thing. Always try to use your own images if possible, but if you can’t quite capture the right snapshot, you can browse through AWeber’s Stock Image Gallery for ideas!

Design Information Systems with SharePoint in Mind

Any company that stores information on a computer is storing knowledge. But not all companies have an effective knowledge management system in place to manage that information. That depends on how the system was planned and how it is managed on an ongoing basis.

Whether you have a new system or an existing one that encompasses several different platforms, it’s important to assess whether it is delivering all that it can for your organization. How can you do that? An (enterprise content management) ECM Reference Architecture can help you understand gaps and redundancies from a platform perspective.

Read full story...

Apple gives MacBook Pro with Retina more power, more memory

Apple gives MacBook Pro with Retina more power, more memory

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

If you’ve been itching to buy a MacBook Pro with Retina but have so far resisted the  call, maybe now’s a good time to buy.

Today Apple announced that it’s giving a decent spec bump to all MacBook Pro with Retina models, with the most notable improvement being double the RAM.

According to Apple’s press release:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features dual-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz and 8GB of memory, up from 4GB in the entry-level notebook. The 13-inch model can also be configured with faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz. The top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, 16GB of memory, up from 8GB in the entry-level notebook, and can be configured with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz.

All of the updated models get new Haswell-based Intel chips, and the breakdown on price looks like this:

13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina:
$1,299: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB flash storage
$1,499: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage
$1,799: 2.8 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage

(Configure-to-order options include dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, up to 16GB of memory, and flash storage up to 1TB.)

15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina:
$1,999: 2.2 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage
$2,499: 2.5 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage

(Configure-to-order options include quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz and flash storage up to 1TB.)

So does this update change the landscape at all with regards to how MacBook Pros with Retina compare to their thinner and lighter MacBook Air stable-mates?

Let’s do a quick compare:

At the entry level, $1,299 gets you a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina and the following specs: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB flash storage.

Whereas $999 gets you a 13″ MacBook Air configured with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash storage.

So, for $300, you get the Retina display (almost worth the price of admission on its own in my opinion), double the RAM, and just shy of double the speed.

In typical Apple style, the price difference does seem to be justified by the strength of the upgrades, but it probably won’t sway anyone who values the extra portability of the MacBook Air.

Still no word on when Apple will start using Intel’s next-gen Broadwell chips on the MacBook Pro line, though the rumours suggest this might not happen until 2015.

The new models are available for order right now on Apple’s website or at their retail locations.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.

How To Beat Amazon

It’s been amazing to watch Amazon’s transformation from online bookstore to e-commerce juggernaut. Today, Amazon sells everything under the planet, fulfills e-commerce for thousands of companies, hosts major websites, enables crowdsourcing, and may even offer drone-driven product delivery someday....

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

James Franco Teaches You How to Take the Perfect Selfie

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Actor, prankster, selfie connoisseur — James Franco is a man of many (questionable) talents.

Franco appeared on The Tonight Show on Monday and revealed the secrets of selfie-snapping to Jimmy Fallon. The key is giving the "stone look." (We're not sure if that's the same as the "stoner look," but all signs point to yes.)

Unfortunately, it seems Franco's skills do not include providing five-second plot summaries of films. Guess you can't have it all.

More about Viral Videos, Jimmy Fallon, Tonight Show, Entertainment, and Tv

How To Generate Experience Reviews For SEO – Part II

In part 1, we talked about some practical tips for converting a satisfied customer to a raving fan who is willing to talk about their experience with your service-based company online. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get that fan to talk about your website in a way that benefits your search...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How Brands Can Tap into the Organic Reach of their Fans

Nicholas Thorne is the CEO and a co-founder of basno, the platform for creating and collecting digital badges. He started his career at Goldman Sachs in the technology, media and telecommunications investment banking group after graduating magna cum laude from Yale with a B.A. in History and a concentration in Chinese language.

Problem: You can’t really reach your fans anymore. Not without paying, at least. The changes to Facebook’s algorithm means that brands are effectively being charged to access the very fans that they spent so much energy acquiring. Although this phenomenon has been well-documented, solutions remain less clear. The discussion must turn to defining strategies for success in this new reality, and hopefully beyond.

It’s worth stating upfront that the only immediate answer is to go hat-in-hand to the very Facebook gods that just took away your reach and pay up to get it back, again and again.

Alternatively, you can begin to cultivate new channels for creating engagement and grabbing attention by tapping into the organic reach of your fans and followers. Simply put, if you can help your fans publish fun, interesting and engaging content that’s relevant to your brand, you will replace the success you once had posting directly on your own Facebook page.

Success with this strategy relies on understanding what motivates individuals to publish content and then finding ways to trigger those individuals to do just that. The main difference here is that you are no longer looking for content that will engage the audience you reach (i.e. getting them to Like and comment). Instead, you’re looking for ways to get that group to actively share content with their friends and family. It’s a completely different mindset.

Here are three approaches to consider for tapping into the organic reach of these fans and followers online:

1. Empower employees to create and share great content. Employees are your first line of offense. They know what’s important to your company, so they’re already reading and keeping their eye out for content that is relevant to your brand. If they’re confident in starting or joining these conversations on social media, they will be advancing the brand’s mission overall. Companies like Percolate have actually created tools for this exact purpose, by allowing businesses to push content to their employees on mobile, who can then easily read and share it with their own social networks.

2. Recognize and celebrate people. Use the credibility of your brand to establish a standard and recognize the very people who achieve it. When you do that, you will be helping people stand out in their own networks, compelling them to share the recognition they’ve received with friends and family. It’s a mutually beneficial branding exercise that’s well-suited for a world where people want reasons to talk about themselves online.

This is a big part of what we do at basno; help everyone from businesses to universities create digital badges that they can use to recognize people and their achievements. By issuing badges, brands put people in the position to make a statement on social media. And 80 percent of people who receive a badge share it on social platforms.

3. Publish facts and figures. Numbers and data, even in the form of a “23 reasons you…” listicle, are easily consumable tidbits that people love to share. The trick here is that researching and publishing new facts and figures is something most people rarely do on their own. So, if you can find and publish this type of content for them, they’ll be quick to share it with others, which is exactly what you want: to create opportunities for other people to share rather than just posting self-serving content.

The game has changed. As a brand, your ability to reach people on Facebook and across other social platforms will never be what it was. You can adapt by doing everything in your power to help others organically share the content that you once shared.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Is Mobile Ad Spending About to Overtake Television?

 Is Mobile Ad Spending About to Overtake Television?Mobile advertising is in growth mode. But when will it topple the king of the hill – television?

According to eMarketer, advertisers will this year (for the first time ever) spend more on mobile-device ads than they spend on newspaper or radio.

Market research company eMarketer also expects mobile-ad spending to soar 83 percent in 2014 to nearly $18 billion.

But BlueRun Ventures’ Operating Partner Cheryl Cheng says mobile advertising spend will not surpass television in the near future.

“Mobile advertising is a following indicator of where the market is,” says Cheng. “The medium for mobile advertising still has a lot of catching up to do before it can even reach — or surpass — the levels of TV advertising.”

The reason, she says, comes down to infrastructure and not yet “being able to close the [analytics] loop between an ad unit, and purchasing a product.”

The story first appeared at FoxBusiness online.

But some companies, like Verve Mobile, she says have leveraged the unique functions of a smartphone to provide highly targeted and relevant mobile advertising.

“Those types of advertising units do really well, the ones that leverage that aperture of mobile,” she says. “Outside of that, you are still seeing a lot of infrastructure being built out, so that advertisers can use that to validate their spend.”

In lieu of that, Cheng notes, “it is going to be difficult for them to move from traditional TV.”

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Is Mobile Ad Spending About to Overtake Television? Is Mobile Ad Spending About to Overtake Television?

The making of Sledgehammer Games and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (exclusive)

The making of Sledgehammer Games and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (exclusive)

Above: Sledgehammer Games founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

FOSTER CITY, Calif. — It takes an army to make a Call of Duty game. That’s why, over the past five years, Sledgehammer Games has staffed up to 225 people who have taken over an entire floor of a big office building hidden away south of San Francisco. Now the company can finally come out of the shadows and acknowledge its contribution to the canon and lore of Call of Duty. Its new game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, is set 50 years in the future, and gamers can experience it starting Nov. 4.

The game is the 10th major installment in a modern combat series that generates more than a billion dollars in revenue annually for Activision Blizzard, the publisher. Sledgehammer’s job this year is to deliver a game that keeps that tradition going.

“With three years and a new engine and a new generation of hardware and a new brand, you’ll see this is not the same old Call of Duty,” said Michael Condrey, the cofounder of Sledgehammer, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat at the company’s headquarters. “We had the people, the resources, and the time. This has the scale and the scope of the equivalent of four Hollywood movies in it. It has hundreds of hours of multiplayer gameplay. It has full cooperative mode. It takes an army of industry vets to create this kind of content.”

For the first two years, Sledgehammer learned how to work on Call of Duty with Modern Warfare 3, a 2011 game they helped Infinity Ward make after that studio’s founders — Jason West and Vince Zampella — had a nasty legal fight with Activision. Half of Infinity Ward’s employees left to work at Respawn Entertainment, the new that Zampella and West created. They built Titanfall, which debuted on the Xbox platforms this year.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare

The change in plans meant that Sledgehammer had to drop its plans for a third-person action-adventure version of Call of Duty and work instead on first-person shooters in the main franchise. When Modern Warfare 3 debuted, it won tons of awards and saw huge sales. As its reward, Sledgehammer earned the opportunity to create a new Call of Duty intellectual property. I recently went to tour Sledgehammer and saw heretofore unseen levels in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It was all in the name of convincing me that this Call of Duty is the best yet.

“We really upgraded the characters with a new facial system. We are lighting the game in a new way. All of it is new,” said Sledgehammer cofounder Glen Schofield in an interview. “It’s next-generation, and it’s 50 years in the future. There is really nothing you can borrow. This game had to be done from scratch. This is really a brand new franchise within Call of Duty. It’s a new intellectual property.”

Life’s curve ball

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Above: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Image Credit: Activision

Making Advanced Warfare wasn’t in the original plan.

“We started as a Call of Duty studio. They wanted us to do Call of Duty meets third person,” said Condrey. “Take the best of the character action-adventure space like Uncharted and the fictional world of Call of Duty. But life threw a different curve ball at us.”

“When things went crazy with Infinity Ward, they needed help with Modern Warfare 3. We brought it up to the team. We thought about it for a week or so. We all made the decision, and unanimously decided to do it,” Schofield added. “We didn’t jump in the middle. We were there day one on Modern Warfare 3. We split the work with Infinity Ward.”

During the two years making Modern Warfare 3, Sledgehammer solidified its company culture. As it took over the whole floor in an office building in Foster City, Calif., the company built open work pods where four people could work in the same area. The founders wanted cross-functional collaboration among artists, programmers, designers, animators, and other staff. They create their own state-of-the-art sound rooms for musicians and sound experts to use on site.

Having three years and making the transition to next-generation consoles has made a big difference in what Sledgehammer could deliver with new twists in story, single-player campaign, cooperative play, and multiplayer.

“We’re really grateful because we had a chance to go after the next-generation experience and really innovate,” Condrey said. “It was time to give you a new experience.”

“We want to make sure that people realize it’s not a turn of the crank,” Schofield added. “The amount of research we put into this game is insane — the books, the articles, the scientists we talk to, the trips we’ve taken, the people we’ve brought in.”

After consulting with Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Activision, Sledgehammer went off on its own to make Advanced Warfare and a world set 50 years into the future. One of the first prototypes the company created was a “boost jump” using an exoskeleton suit. That enabled soldiers to jump to the top of a building or punch someone 20 feet backward in a melee. While it seems like sci-fi, the exoskeletons are in the research stage in the military now. The team consulted with researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and NASA.

A narrative experience

Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Above: Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Image Credit: Activision

A lot of Sledgehammer’s experience with storytelling goes back to Dead Space, a 2008 survival-horror sci-fi game that Condrey and Schofield built at EA’s Visceral Games studio. That game has a slower pace and a single protagonist who wanted to reunite with his girlfriend. And it was a success. Sledgehammer took what it learned to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which has a single character named Jack Mitchell as its main character. He starts out as a new recruit at the beginning, and he’s a veteran by the time it ends.

“We saw an opportunity to deliver a really amazing narrative,” Condrey said. “We were inspired by films like Black Hawk Down and games like what Naughty Dog with The Last of Us.”

Schofield said that gamers have complained in the past about how the Call of Duty stories are difficult to follow, especially since these have switched from one character to another throughout the game.

“The story was something we focused on a lot of time on. It was written by Sledgehammer Games,” Schofield said. “It’s not just a military story. It’s about friendship and working together with the guy in the fox hole. It’s personal stuff. Emotional times. It’s about life, family, pain, and loss. We made sure we didn’t have a nation-state as the enemy. Is it going to be China? Is it going to be North Korea? Who’s going to be fighting us? Ripped from the headlines, we saw the growth of the private military corporations in Iraq and Afghanistan. You play one guy through the game, Private Mitchell. He becomes a hardened veteran. He’s even narrating.”

Then the developers landed actor Kevin Spacey as the voice actor for the lead villain, the head of a private military corporation.

“We saw this rise of great TV, with The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and House of Cards,” Schofield said. “We wrote the story with Kevin Spacey in mind, not knowing we would get him.”

When Spacey showed up at Sledgehammer, the team was shocked. Schofield said that Spacey inspired everyone to be more professional. Other veteran voice actors like Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock: Infinite) and Gideon Emery (How to Train Your Dragon 2) also joined the crew.

Aware that stories in shooter games were often easily skipped or forgotten, Schofield said the team worked hard to build storytelling into each level, such as audio logs that convey some of the backstory, or conversations between soldiers.

As for Mitchell, Schofield said, “This is a guy who’s a patriot, but he’s just joined the military. He’s kind of green. What’s going on here? And he’s thrust into a crazy situation right away. But he’s an everyday guy. How does an everyday guy deal with all this stuff?”

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Activision (Activision Blizzard) is an American video game developer and publisher headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, but now operating worldwide. It was the first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consol... read more »

Social Media Tips for Teams In Higher Education

One of the challenges that Higher Education institutions encounter when it comes to their social media engagement is limited resources.

How do you scale your social media and maintain a robust connection with potential, current and former students without investing more in your resources?

Mike Petroff

Mike Petroff

Learn the answer by watching Hootsuite University’s newest on-demand webinar: Social Media to Scale: Tips for Teams in Higher Education.

In this on-demand webinar, hosted by Harvard University’s Digital Content Strategist Mike Petroff, you’ll learn tactical tips on how to:

  • Apply innovative, creative social media practices employed by renowned Higher Education institutions to your own brand
  • Make the most of editorial calendars and current distribution networks in order to scale your social media
  • Update archived content and adopt a more visual approach to content sharing for improved user engagement

Watch Webinar

Since 2011, over 60,000 success-minded social media professionals have obtained accredited training, education and certification from Hootsuite University, and more than 50 thought leaders have been featured through our ongoing Lecture Series. As an enrolled student, you’ll stay ahead of the social media curve by learning new strategies and tactics, and enhance your social ROI by earning your Hootsuite Certification. Learn more!

The post Social Media Tips for Teams In Higher Education appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

Brands’ Big Challenge: Making the Mind Shift to Mobile


Josh Bernoff, coauthor of the pivotal book on social media, Groundswell, describes himself on Twitter as a "Forrester analyst, idea developer and troublemaker." His latest book on The Mobile Mind Shift certainly lives up to those descriptions.

In it, Bernoff discusses the difficulties companies face as they attempt the transition to a mobile world, a shift that he describes in this video as even more disruptive than the introduction of the Internet for companies. Where the Web was about providing information when consumers went searching, mobile is about anticipating their needs.

In this video, Bernoff gives advice to brands on how they can meet these expectations in a world destined to be ruled by smartphones and tablets. Companies, he says, must seek out the "mobile moments" of consumersmoments when people require a piece of information, service or product that enterprising businesses can satisfy just by supplying what they need before they even ask.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Bridging the Void Between Designers and Developers

Some say that in the world of web content, designers are from Mars, developers are from Venus and never the twain shall meet.

Image credit: Science Photo Library, Flickr

When it comes to content creation, ‘web designers’ are responsible for the visual aspect, which includes the layout, colouring and typography of a web page. Meanwhile, ‘web developers’ take care of the non-design aspects – usually markup and code. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard developers complain that a design has been ‘made for print and not for web’, and designers grumble that a developer has butchered their typography. If your web team is set up with such a clear divide, it is no surprise that such frictions occur.

So, how best to bridge the void? This has been said many times, but communication is key to successful collaboration. As one of the front end developers at Distilled, I’d like to outline how we work with our designers to ensure smooth handovers between design and development.

Starting communication early

Right from the point of ideation, the Distilled designers and developers start a conversation about how the piece could potentially work, what technologies would be involved and what (if any) restraints these would put on the design team.

While putting together the wireframes, the designers often consult the developers on how the piece will act with different screen sizes, browsers and devices. This doesn’t mean that they make an individual design for every possible width and device, but that both teams are aware of how the piece should respond.

Communication should continue throughout the build too. If it is possible to share a link to a work in progress then do so – that way designers can give feedback (once the developer is happy to start this process!).

Setting clear briefs

When the initial design stage is complete, the designer will have a handover briefing with the developer where they talk over the typography, the interactive elements, the responsive elements and any graphics that are featured. Included in this handover process is an Illustrator file and an annotated RealtimeBoard (https://realtimeboard.com/app/) which shows the design at various screen widths.

Annotated RealTimeBoard

An example of a Realtime board with annotations from the designer for the developer

Specific elements that make the front end developer’s job easier at this point include:

  • A list of all the fonts used in the piece and where to download them.

  • A list of the hex codes for all the colours used in the piece with a name for each (eg primary, secondary). These names can be used by the developer in their stylesheets and also when discussing changes with the designer rather than their less memorable hex values!

  • Clear labelling of widths, heights, padding and margins. Measuring these elements not only takes time but is also fairly easy to get wrong; clear annotations will make the build go much more smoothly.

  • Annotations on font sizes for headings and paragraphs (at all screen sizes).

Outlining jobs to be done

Decide on who will be supplying graphics – will the designer provide separate files with images or will the developer pull them from the Illustrator file themselves? If a sprite sheet is necessary, who will be supplying that and in what format? Deciding on naming conventions for files at this point is also helpful as renaming multiple files is an unnecessary irritation.

Sharing knowledge

The more everyone understands the technologies and processes that their colleagues use, the smoother the web development process will run. If your designers understand even just the basics of HTML and CSS then their designs will be structured in a way that makes them simpler to code, and they will organise their Illustrator/Photoshop files to make it easier for the developer to pull out the necessary images. Inversely, if the developers are comfortable with design theory and practice, they will be able to make decisions on the responsive layout of the piece and will be able to create their own assets from the layouts provided by the designers.

One of the things that I love, as a developer, is when our designers find out the newest CSS attributes because they want the text to have a particular look. Their typography expertise keeps me up to date with the newest technologies. Similarly, whenever I find a beautifully implemented bit of web design or UI (user interface), I’ll share it with my designers so they can see what is possible with modern development techniques.

There are lots of exciting new technologies available to designers and developers to make websites look and feel visually stunning.

Some elements to bear in mind are:

Webfonts - The available list of webfonts is growing daily, and developers can even create new web fonts, from fonts that they own. The days of having to use only the limited number of ‘web safe fonts’ are quickly becoming a distant memory, thank goodness!

SCSS/LESS - These CSS preprocessors allow developers to structure their stylesheets in a way that is much more readable to non-developers, and make introducing universal changes to styles much simpler.

CSS shapes - It is now possible to wrap text around complex shapes. Websites can finally move away from boring rectangular layouts and start bringing the slick look and feel of magazine editorials into online articles.

Ligatures, opentype numerals, orphaned and widowed word control - Web support for these is becoming more widespread, meaning that designers can get some really great looking typography. With all new web technologies, remember to check www.caniuse.com for their browser support.

Optimal image formats - Make sure that whichever team is creating the assets for the piece is using the optimal image format for the type of image, and that the file size is optimised for the web.

Use your web browser development tools! - These let you edit and restyle the website inside the browser on the fly. They’re a really helpful tool for both developers and designers. You can change font sizes and styles, colours, add and remove images and copy, move elements about the page, and check out how other developers have put together their code. The developer tools even let you see how long your site takes to load.  I use Chrome DevTools and highly recommend this tutorial for beginners.

It is worth bearing in mind that getting a website to exactly reflect a design is time consuming and nigh on impossible in every browser. So make sure that ‘essential’ and ‘nice to have’ design elements are decided upon in advance. Understanding the limitations of design for the web versus design for print is essential.

Fostering respect and trust

Both designing and developing requires a lot of skill and neither job is more simple or straightforward. Mutual respect between design and development teams will make working together and skill sharing much more pleasant. Knowing that your colleagues can accomplish their work correctly, without your input, is also invaluable. When you trust the people that you work with, you can focus on finishing your own tasks, gaining their trust in return.

No project is without its mishaps, and there will be inevitable breakdowns in your designer-developer relationships. There can be bad feelings, misunderstandings and poor communication, but without each other we wouldn’t be able to create the amazing, inspiring pieces that we do! So before you embark upon your next web project, find your developer/designer and let them know how awesome they are.

And over to you, reader. Got any advice on designer-developer relationships you’d like to share? Or any questions for me? I await your comments in the box below!

Upcoming Kindle Fire HDX to sport the Snapdragon 805

Kindle_Fire_HDX_2014_AnTuTu_Leak_01

I know we are only one month into the summer, but fall is right around the corner, and you know that means we will be seeing new Kindle Fire tablets. So what hardware improvements are in store?

A great place to find out about upcoming devices is benchmarks. A newer version of the Kindle Fire HDX showed up in AnTuTu’s database with a Snapdragon 805, which is a lot more powerful than the current offering that utilizes a Snapdragon 800. The model that appeared in the benchmark is the 8.9-inch version, and the rest of the specs appear to be the same as the current model….a 2560 x 1600 display, 2 GB of RAM, 8 MP rear camera, and 1 MP front-facing camera. You will also notice Android 4.4.4 in the graphic, but that will of course be forked to a new version of the Fire OS.

source: AnTuTu
via: G4Games


Come comment on this article: Upcoming Kindle Fire HDX to sport the Snapdragon 805

So Many Channels – and Customers Still Like the Phone

Despite the fact that customers have multiple ways to interact with companies, they still prefer the phone. At least that’s the finding of a new study by NICE Systems, which rated contact centers as the most important customer channel.

It’s worth noting that NICE is a provider of contact center solutions. Even so, there does seem to be some validity in the research: It confirms another study by CX Act, a customer experience improvement firm, which showed the most frequently used and most effective customer touch point is personal contact by phone.

Read full story...

Rumor: ‘iWatch’ production hits snags, will not begin until Q4 2014

Executives at longtime Apple supplier TPK -- thought to have been selected by the iPhone maker to manufacture touch modules for the so-called "iWatch" -- are said to have revised earlier forecasts for a profit uptick in the third quarter, pushing the expected surge back by three months in what is seen as an indication that Apple's wearable is suffering from delays.






James Franco’s ‘Tonight Show’ Game Quickly Devolved Into A Frustrating Mess

Let's all give Fallon a lot of props for professionalism. A lesser man would have lost his cool.

Kimmel Wants To Know: Have You Ever Had Sex In Your Comic-Con Costume?

We're all for exploring whatever type of carnal pleasures you're into (with a consenting partner), but it boggles the mind who the target demographic could be for Scarecrow sex.

New York Times’ Ad Revenue Returns to Decline


Second-quarter advertising revenue at The New York Times Co. fell 4.1% from the quarter a year earlier, a decline driven by sagging print-ad sales, the company said Tuesday.

The drop is a return to the long-term pattern for the Times, where an ad-sales increase in the first quarter broke a three-year streak of ad-sales declines. The company said then that it expected to see ad sales go back to declines in the second quarter.

Overall second-quarter revenue was off 0.6% to $388.7 million, compared with $391.0 million in the second quarter of 2013.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Why Conversion Tracking For Facebook Ads Is Important

In our previous posts we spoke about how to optimize your Facebook ads to get more clicks and how to split-test them to determine which ads are working. Optimizing your ads to increase clicks and decrease costs is great but your campaign doesn’t end there.

Clicks and costs are useful metrics but they don’t give you the whole picture, and at times they can be misleading. The problem is, while CTRs tell you what percentage of people clicked on your ad, they don’t tell you what these people did after landing on your site. Did they sign up? Did they buy anything?

Take this example from one of my early ad campaigns on Facebook. This was for a landing page to collect e-mail subscribers.

Facebook Ads without conversion tracking

 

If we took only CTRs into account, the last seems to be the best, going at a whopping 3%. As for CPCs, the first ad looks really expensive at $1 a click. In terms of getting clicks, the last ad is the winner. But it doesn’t tell me anything about what’s happening after the click. Are clickers going on to subscribe?

Yet that’s where the real value of an ad campaign lies, right? You’re not paying money so that people can click to your site. You’re paying so that you’ll get a proportional return via sales or leads. Money in, money out.

Thus, the ultimate goal of your ad campaign should be to optimize your ROI. Are you getting a positive return on your ad expenditure, and how can you increase that return without spending more?

That’s what conversion tracking is all about. By tracking conversions from your Facebook ads, you’ll be able to see how many ad clickers went on to convert. You’ll also see which ads were responsible for these conversions and which were duds, despite what the CTRs and CPCs say.

I didn’t learn this until it was too late. I made decisions based only on CPCs and CTRs and I cut out the wrong ads from my campaign. So if you’re starting a new ad campaign on Facebook, you need to track conversions right from the start and this post will show you what steps you need to take.

Step 1: Define your goals

When you set up conversion tracking on your ads, you can define exactly what you mean by a conversion. Facebook allows you to track pretty much any event on your site by placing a piece of code, or a pixel, on the page that a visitor lands on after completing the event.

With a clear goal in mind you’ll be able to track the right conversions. Do you want people to buy something? Are you looking for leads or subscribers? Or do you just want them to look at a certain page?

Step 2: Create the pixel

To create a conversion pixel you’ll need to go to the conversion tracking section of the ads manager. You can do this either through the regular interface or the power editor. Within this section you’ll find a green ‘Create Pixel’ button.

Then, pick a category specific to your campaign goals. You can track purchases on your online store, track registrations to your webinar or event, tracks newsletter subscriptions and leads, or pretty much anything you want.

Give it a name, so that you can identify it later when adding it to your ads, and then create the pixel. Facebook will then generate the code you’ll need to stick into your website.

Step 3: Give the pixel a value

Facebook allows you to add a monetary value to each conversion. This isn’t immediately obvious to most people, but if you’ve run ads with conversion tracking before, you’ve probably wondered why the conversion value was always 0. That’s because 0 is the default value.

To change the value, you’ll need to hard-code it into the pixel code you generated. Search for the window._fbq.push function and change the parameter value to the dollar amount you think each conversion is worth.

For example, if you’re selling an infoproduct with a one-time payment, simply enter the price of the product as the conversion value. For SaaS products with multiple price tiers, or businesses with multiple products, you can enter an average customer value or a dynamic variable that changes based on what each customer actually bought.

Conversion values are an extremely important feature that most people ignore simply because they don’t know how it works. Adding a value will give you a more accurate analysis of your ROI in terms of actual dollars. Every time a conversion takes place, you’ll be able to see how much money was made off that conversion versus how much was spent to get that conversion.

Step 4: Place the pixel on your page

After modifying the code, you need to paste it between the ‘head’ tags (<head> and </head>) of the page you want to track conversions on. Remember, you need to place this code on the page that the visitor lands on after completing your goal.

For example, if you want to track purchases, you have to place the code on the page the customer sees after making the purchase, not on the product page or the cart page. Similarly, if you’re collecting leads or subscribers, place the code on the ‘Thank You’ page and not on your landing page.

This is a basic mistake that many people make when tracking conversions for the first time. They drop the code into their landing page and then end up with incorrect results.

Once the pixel is in place, you’ll be able to see it in the conversions tracking tab in your ads manager. If it’s set up correctly, it should show a status of verified.

Step 5: Start tracking

With the pixel set up, you can link it to your ads and track conversions. You only need one pixel even if you have a hundred ads in your campaign, as long as your goal is the same for each ad.

To add your pixel, go to your ads and then edit the creative section. In the advanced options you’ll see a dropdown where you can select the appropriate conversion.

If you don’t have ads set up already, you can create a new one by selecting website conversions. You then enter the URL and select the associated conversion pixel. Again, the URL you enter is the one you want visitors to land on after clicking you ad, not the page your pixel is on.

Don’t worry if the pixel is inactive. This just means it hasn’t been triggered yet by anyone visiting the page. Once someone converts, it will change to active.

Once you’re up and running you’ll start seeing the data in your ads report. For each ad, you can see how many people have gone on to convert on your site, how much you paid to get the conversion, and how much you made from each conversion.

Step 6: Optimize for ROI

This is what your entire campaign boils down to. You’re advertising your business to make sales or capture leads, so the metrics that matter are how many conversions you make on your site and whether those conversions are profitable.

Make sure your ad bidding is set to optimize for conversions. Facebook will then show your ad to people who are more likely to click through and convert on your site.

Next, start split-testing your ads using the same conversion pixel. You’ll still be able to see the CTRs and CPCs for each ad, only this time you’ll also see how many conversions each ad drives.

After running the ads for a few days, the differences will become clear. Some ads may be getting clicks but not generating even a single conversion, while other ads may not be getting too many clicks but will be getting you sales or qualified leads.

Keep the ads that are making you more money than you spend, and cut out the ads that are losing money. Rinse and repeat.


facebook ad loyalblocks facebook ad nomorack

Let’s Go Back to My Ad Campaign

Because the ad was for e-mail subscribers, I thought I wouldn’t need to use a conversion pixel. I was giving away something for free, a hook, so I assumed that most people who clicked on the ad would go on to sign up, regardless of what version they saw. I figured I just had to optimize for CTR and the landing page would take care of conversions.

So I created some ads, split-tested them, and ran them for a few days. The image shows the results of my ads at the end of the campaign. I decided to keep running the last ad for the entire campaign, which is why it got over 45,000 impressions.

I slowly started cutting out the remaining ads. The first one seemed especially expensive, with a CPC of $1. Without any insight on the ultimate conversion rate for that ad, it just seemed like a waste of money.

But, with the addition of the conversion pixel, the story changes. It turns out that the people who clicked on the last ad didn’t convert that well on the landing page. Only 6% of clickers went on to convert. On the other hand, those who clicked on the first ad converted very well at a rate of over 30%!

Basically I was paying more per conversion for the last ad than I was for the first one. In terms of ROI, the first ad was the best performer, but I didn’t know this until it was too late. By the time I used the conversion pixel, I’d already blown through most of my budget. If I had started earlier, I’d have way more subscribers.

Why did this happen? Why were the landing page conversions different based on the ads? For these two ads, I was split testing audience. The first ad had a very well-defined and targeted audience, while the last one had a loosely defined audience.

I suspect that the people who saw the first ad only clicked on it if they felt like my hook was valuable to them. They were basically picky about what they wanted, which explains why the CTR was low. When they landed on my site they had already decided they wanted what I was offering, so they signed up.

The last ad got a very high CTR because people were curious. They got a glimpse of my hook and they wanted to learn more about what it was. Unlike the first group, these people didn’t click with the intention of subscribing. So when they got to my page, most of them realized they weren’t interested (a direct result of the loose targeting) and they didn’t sign up.

Conversion tracking makes a massive difference to your ad campaign. It gives you deeper insights into what’s really happening behind all your ads. At the end of the day, you want to make profits, and conversion tracking shows you exactly which ads are doing that for you.

If you aren’t tracking conversions with your ads and optimizing for ROI, you might be throwing money away. Start now and get your campaign under control.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sid.

The post Why Conversion Tracking For Facebook Ads Is Important appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Cybersecurity firm ThetaRay raises $10M to develop a U.S. presence

Cybersecurity firm ThetaRay raises $10M to develop a U.S. presence
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-110051312/stock-photo-electric-power-plant.html

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Ever wonder who prevents power plants from getting hacked? Probably not, but there are whole companies devoted to keeping hackers from shutting down the power grid.

ThetaRay is one of them and they just snagged a cool $10 million from investors, including industrial giant General Electric, to grow their U.S. presence.

Israel based ThetaRay handles cyber security for power plants, airlines, and banks. Their technology was born out of research from professor Amir Averbuch at Tel-Aviv University and Ronald Coifman at Yale. It draws information from several sources and uses mathematical equations to identify different types of threats including unknown/unknown — meaning you don’t know what the threat is or how its getting into your system.

The software can run on-site or in the cloud and is able to tell when something is amiss in the system (like when a stream of financial transactions are taking place and there’s no one in the physical bank).

There are already companies that have similar technologies. Security intelligence firm Splunk is one of ThetaRay’s main competitors. Both companies automate a certain amount of threat detection, but ThetaRay says their technology isn’t as reliant on cybersecurity analysts to sift through data.

“Some people might say its a scary world and we believe there is a need for machines to identify threats. Human beings are not enough to look at all this data and we’re lucky to have tens of years of academic research to analyze all those beta-bytes of transactions,” says CEO Mark Gazit.

What that  means in practice is that ThetaRay detects the intrusion, analyzes it, and then allows security personnel to take action against the threat.

ThetaRay already provides cybersecurity to some of GE’s facilities. This round of funding will allow the company to set-up business head quarters in the U.S., so they can be more available to existing U.S. clients and further develop their client base.

The company was founded in 2012. Investors include General Electric (GE), Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Poalim Capital Markets.



1876 was also the year that Thomas Alva Edison opened a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he could explore the possibilities of the dynamo and other electrical devices that he had seen in the Exposition. Out of that laborator... read more »

What Happens When Lightning Hits The Sea?

If you are in the sea and a thunderstorm looks likely in the area, there are two ways to cut the risk of getting hit — get out and find some shelter, or swim deeper.

The Overblown Stigma Of Genital Herpes

For many people living with this common disease, the most debilitating symptoms are shame and isolation.

Comcast Confessions

More than 100 Comcast employees spoke to The Verge about life inside the nation’s largest cable and broadband company.

Chinese Hackers Steal Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Data

The hacks occurred between 10 October 2011 and 13 August 2012, according to security firm Cyber Engineering Services. Among the documents stolen from IAI were detailed schematics and specifications for the U.S.-designed Arrow 3 missile.

Twitter Looks to Break Out of Its Earnings Slump

Twtr
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A busy second quarter of 2014 will be overshadowed if Twitter is unable to convince investors that its user growth is back on the upswing when the company reports earnings on Tuesday afternoon.

The social media company is set to release its report after the close of market trading at 4 p.m. ET, with analysts expecting the company to post a narrow net loss of $0.01 per share on revenue of $283.07 million

There had been no shortage of news out of Twitter in the second quarter with a raft of acquisitions, product tweaks, executive exits and, of course, the World Cup Read more...

More about Twitter, Social Media, Earnings, and Business

Bing Site Safety Page: Explains Why Sites Are Flagged In Bing’s Search Results

On the Bing Webmaster Blog they announced a new feature named the Bing Site Safety Page. The Bing Site Safety Page will show up in the search results when Bing has flagged a specific site as having a safety issue. Bing will then show the searcher what the issue is with the site, hoping the...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Apple expanding AppleCare+ warranties internationally, now available in Mexico & Sweden

AppleCare+ warranty coverage for iPhone, iPad and iPod is now available to customers in both Mexico and Sweden, expanding international availability of the optional two-year program.






Announcing PPC University: Learn PPC Marketing for Free

If you want to maximize your online advertising budget and get the most bang for your buck, you need a solid understanding of how paid search works and how to best manage your AdWords account. But where do you even start?

Paid search marketing can be incredibly intimidating for beginners – there's a lot to learn and the industry is changing all the time. Google AdWords is the most popular PPC platform, but can also be the most complicated for marketers to manage. In 2013 alone, Google made over a thousand changes to AdWords. It's almost impossible to keep up.

That’s why we created WordStream PPC University: an organized educational resource enabling marketers of all skill and experience levels to take their AdWords strategy to the next level – for free!

learn ppc marketing

Millions of visitors have already used WordStream's educational resources, including this blog, our white papers, and webinars, to build their paid search skill set, improve their AdWords strategy and get a better return on their PPC spend. Now you can, too! We are pleased to offer you no-charge access to our new, guided PPC University framework for learning to set up, manage and optimize paid search campaigns, regardless of your previous experience or level of comfort with AdWords.

We created this awesome resource to provide marketers a top quality, totally accessible PPC education. Organized into three separate courses, PPC University allows you to work at your own pace. Our online and PDF formats also remove the barrier of constant Internet access – you can simply download the course and take it with you, wherever you go.

Here's a small sampling of what you'll learn in each course:

PPC 101

  • The basics of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and important terms you need to know.
  • How the Google AdWords auction works, including how Google decides what you'll pay for each click and where your ads will appear.
  • What Google's Quality Score means for your AdWords campaigns (it's big!) and how it's calculated.
  • How to find the keywords that will drive the most relevant, motivated traffic to your site.
  • Text ad copy optimization tips for powerful, relevant messaging that converts.
  • Compelling copy, keyword grouping and landing page design optimizations that result in massive performance improvements.

NOTE: All the material in PPC 101 is also available to download in a (free) PDF e-book.

PPC 102

  • The latest AdWords tactics top marketers are using to reach the most targeted audience and convert like crazy.
  • Best practices for campaign management and optimization.
  • How ad extensions, negative keywords and other free tools and features can help you optimize your campaigns and get better results.
  • Super-smart and creative ways to manage and maximize your PPC budget, whether you're a small business advertiser of spending tens of thousands per month.
  • How to do A/B testing and conversion tracking like a pro.

Advanced PPC

  • More advanced strategies to save you time and automate processes without sacrificing campaign quality.
  • How to use remarketing to make the most of every site visitor interaction and boost conversions.
  • Cutting-edge measurement tactics including call tracking, allowing you to connect the dots between your online campaigns and offline activity for proper attribution.
  • PPC tips and tactics for achieving specific goals, like lead generation.
  • How using options like dayparting and geotargeting the way they're meant to be used can cut serious wasted spend out of your account.
  • Mobile PPC basics and best practices, allowing you to tap into your target market's on-the-go mentality.

There's a lot to learn, so we're making it as simple as possible for you. Each course is broken down into straightforward, logical sections, allowing you to take it all in at your own pace and lessons at your convenience.

And did we mention it's completely free?

What are you waiting for? WordStream's PPC University is your ticket to smarter PPC strategy and more effective AdWords campaigns. Check it out!

This post originated on the WordStream Blog. WordStream provides keyword tools for pay-per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) aiding in everything from keyword discovery to keyword grouping and organization.

SAP Ramps Up Canadian Cloud Investment

It's one of 16 new data centers the software company will open this year to meet a 39% increase in demand for cloud services.

Unilever Begins Global Digital Agency Review to Revamp Roster


Unilever has begun a formal global digital agency review, according to industry executives.

The London-based packaged-goods giant has enlisted MediaLink to aid in the search, which appears to be an effort to revamp its global digital roster across brands and digital practices, including creative, web development, online marketing, mobile, social media and data and analytics, people familiar with the brief said.

The agencies invited to participate include incumbents and non-incumbents across various agency holding companies. They will present capabilities in mid-August, beginning a long process that's not expected to wrap up until the end of the year.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Bing Maps API Improves Mapping Imagery

Bing announced on the Bing Maps Developer blog that they have rolled out better rendering and styling improvements to their map imagery. They added a new gradient coloring for land areas that adjusts the brightness to your zoom level. The new gradient helps improve the contrast, making streets and...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Hootsuite Shows Off HQ2 in Anticipation of the Latest #HootHire

Last Tuesday, we invited members of the local media to check out our newest Vancouver space at Main and 5th Avenue. Lead by Owly, as well as members of our Communications Team, journalists explored the second Headquarters office (or HQ2, as it’s better known to us Owls), which sits in the heart of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood just three blocks away from the first Headquarters.

Some highlights for the visitors included the famous outhouse-style meeting room, walls clad in reclaimed barn wood, and the fireside beanbag chairs in the Sunken Lounge.

HQ2’s ski cabin theme really resonated with the writers, many of whom call British Columbia home. “The design of [Hootsuite’s] new space encompasses so much of what there is to love about British Columbia,” writes Bob Kronbauer of Vancouver Is Awesome. “The plaid couch cushions and antique skis, snowshoes, fishing gear, and oil lamps spread around the office are as evocative of rural Quebec or Ontario as rural British Columbia,” CTV Vancouver’s Ian Holliday added in his description of the office tour.

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But little did the writers know it all started out as a former CSIS building, complete with bulletproof glass and heightened security. After frenzied 4 months of renovation, it turned into the beautiful West Coast space the press got to see last week.

Hootsuite HQ2 office Hoothire Hootsuite HQ2 Office Hoothire

While we’re always delighted about welcoming people to visit the offices, we don’t do it to show off (okay, we do want to show that we’re not fibbing about the place—“No, seriously, we really do get fresh juice to energize our Monday mornings!”). We make the Headquarters awesome so we can attract awesome people who are happy to come to work every day—no “case of the Mondays” or TGIFs in these West Coast-style offices.

We are looking to over 100 new Owls to the nest in the next 3 months. Despite the fact that our HR department receives over 500 (!) resumes each week, we love meeting candidates face-to-face.

Think you can contribute your talents to Hootsuite’s reputation as “Vancouver’s flagship tech company” and “the rapidly expanding social media stalwart”? If the answer is ‘yes’, don’t wait until your resume gets noticed—come to our next #HootHire event in Vancouver, which will be held on Wednesday, August 27th, from 5 to 7pm. You can visit our new HQ2 office at 111 East 5th Avenue, or check out the nap room in HQ1 at 5 East 8th Avenue. Bring your resume and fresh ideas about revolutionizing communication.

Check out more pictures of the new Headquarters:

The post Hootsuite Shows Off HQ2 in Anticipation of the Latest #HootHire appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

6 Tips to Creating an Ideal Landing Page

Having a well-designed landing page will go a long way when it comes to bringing in conversions. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t communicate that effectively, you could be missing out on new business. Follow these tips and best practices the create the ideal landing page for your business.

When creating a landing page, one of the first things you need to take into account is your purpose. According to Wordstream, some of the questions you should ask yourself include, “What is my end goal? Who is my audience? Where are they coming from?” How you set up or structure your landing page will be largely directed by what you want it to accomplish, such as new subscribers, to sales, and everything in between. With your purpose in mind, let’s dive in:

1) Keep it Short and Concise

Regardless of what your end goal is, you’ll want to keep your landing pages brief and concise. In today’s Internet age, you have a very limited amount of time to keep users engaged. By eliminating clutter and keeping things brief, you have less of a chance for users to be turned off or distracted and there’s a higher chance of having them complete the action that you want. Make users focus on what you want them to focus on by using design principles to guide them through the process you want them to take.

2) Stay Relevant

Maintaining relevancy and message consistency throughout your ads, landing page, and/or website is important. A visitor wants to see messaging that’s relevant to what they were looking for. If a visitor comes to your page and sees something they’re not expecting, they’ll quickly move off your landing page, may possibly  search your site to find what they were looking for, but are much more likely to just leave your site all together. You’ll want to create a positive experience for anyone who comes and visits your site or landingpage.

3) Catch Attention with Your Headlines

You want your landing page to have a powerful headline or statement that gets a visitor’s attention. Generally, this is the first thing they see, and it should be used to draw them in. By stating your unique selling proposition, visitors should get a sense of what they can get out of your product or service. Additionally, you want to follow up that proposition with additional benefits as to why they should choose your product or service. If you choose to focus on features, describe the benefits versus just what your product does. 

4) Make it Easy to Convert

You’ve gotten a visitor to your landing page, they’ve read your unique selling proposition and like what you have to offer. Now you need to lead them down a path with your purpose in mind. This starts with a clear call-to-action. By making the call-to-action prominent, perhaps by using a button or certain colors, visitors will know exactly what you want them to do. Eliminate distractions by limiting the number of options or decisions a visitor has to take. For example, if you want a visitor to sign up for a free trial, have a clear and prominent call-to-action such as “Sign up for a Free Trial Now.” In addition, it may be a good idea to offer some kind of promotion to further entice them to take the action you want. Keep all your important information and calls-to-action above the fold.

5) Be Mobile-Friendly

Make your landing pages mobile-friendly. Everyone searches and browses the internet from their smart phones and tablets, so it’s essential to create a positive experience regardless of the device. Whether you choose to create two separate landing pages for both mobile and desktop, or one landing page that works well on both is up to you.

6) Test!

After all is said and done and you’ve created your landing page, it’s time to test. No tips or advice should be followed blindly, as what works for one business doesn’t always work for others. You know your customers best, and therefore, landing page creation should always be followed up with continual testing. Whether you only test specific parts of your landing page, like the call-to-action, or you test two very different messages, your landing page will be better for it. By testing, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of your landing page and will hopefully bring in more conversions.

Use tools like Optimizely to run a true A/B split test, or use a heat map product like Crazy Egg to get an idea as to what visitors are really focusing on.

Extras:

Trust – It’s important to build trust with your visitors. If you have positive testimonials or awards, it’s good to include them on your landing page so visitors can see that you have a reliable product or service.

Videos – Also a nice thing to have to showcase your products or services, but be careful not to distract users from the end goal. Also, if your video isn’t getting much interaction, change it with something more valuable.

Fast Load-Time - Make sure your landing page doesn’t take a long time to load. As mentioned, you have a limited time to get your visitor’s attention and if he/she has wait for your page to load, they may just leave.

These are 6 tips and best practices to consider when building your landing page. If you’re looking for some great examples of landing pages, check out KissMetrics‘ “Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page” as well as this Unbounce list.

Have any other tips to add to our list? Share them with our readers in the comments. 

 

Craving more marketing tips and advice? Get the VR Buzz delivered daily to your inbox. 

© 2014, VR Marketing Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 6 Tips to Creating an Ideal Landing Page appeared first on VR Marketing Blog.

NYC Television Week 2014: Registration Now Open

NYC Television Week 2014 Registration Now Open 300x300 NYC Television Week 2014: Registration Now OpenNYC Television Week, presented by Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, and Next TV, has announced that registration for the 2014 event is now open.

The event is slated for November 12-13 at the Affinia Manhattan. Interested industry professionals can learn more and also register by clicking here.

The second annual event, NYC Television Week 2014 will present a multitude of programs on today’s dynamic TV industry. The gathering features conferences, award presentations, networking events, and seminars “that engage the diversity of talent and roles that make today’s TV business one of the world’s most exciting industries.”

According to a release posted at Market Wired, the 2014 event features four conferences — three of them key conferences from Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News’ Leadership Series — and one brand new addition that covers today’s most prevalent issues.

More information on program particulars, registration, speaker opportunities, and more is available online.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa NYC Television Week 2014: Registration Now Open NYC Television Week 2014: Registration Now Open

7 Ways to Simplify Complex Content While Maintaining Sophistication and Nuance

Aerospace scientists with equipment

So, you’re full of information and have a dramatic story for your audience?

Good.

But here’s the harsh truth: every bit of knowledge in the whole world is completely meaningless if you don’t do this one thing.

Before I spill the secret, let me tell you what it’s not …

It’s not about having the right intentions. Your intentions don’t even matter.

Your burning desire to enlighten those around you thirsting for knowledge is useless unless you can clearly explain the information you’d like to share.

The problem is not your amount of knowledge; it’s how you distribute it.

Engage your internal translator

Consider world hunger for a moment.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world. At the same
time, 40 million tons of food are wasted in the U.S. alone.

Although that wasted food could theoretically feed the hungry, the biggest problem is distribution — getting that food to people who need it.

Knowledge faces the same distribution obstacle.

Street smarts, book smarts, theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge — all of it becomes somewhat meaningless if people keep it to themselves, or if they try to explain it to others in a way that is difficult to understand.

Business coach Charlie Gilkey posed a question to me several years ago that has always stuck in my memory. He asked:

What’s the point of being smart if nobody understands what you have to say?

It’s far smarter to simplify your message and explain it in a way that’s accessible, while still maintaining nuance and accuracy, than to hoard information and grumble about how others just don’t understand — or worse, explain it in a convoluted way.

It’s likely you feel confident about explaining what you do. You answer readers’ common questions, use case studies, and tell engaging stories. But how do you convey information you’ve received from someone else — perhaps an industry leader, researcher, or person who works in a highly specialized field?

Enter the translator. Your internal translator, that is. In order to do your readers justice, you’ll need to explain elaborate information to them in a succinct way.

Here are seven steps I take that promote comprehension of complex subjects.

Step #1: Ask dumb questions

I spoke with two people for this post: a perfusionist named Travis Siffring, and a graduate student in aerospace engineering named Ilhan Garou, who designed a fault-tolerant controller for a multicopter to be sent to Mars.

When I spoke with Siffring, I began our conversation with a basic question: “What do you do?”

He told me that he runs the heart-lung bypass machine during heart surgery.

I followed up with a dumb question: “What’s a heart-lung bypass machine?”

Next, I asked the machine’s location in relation to a patient’s body, how long it can be used, and so forth.

You need to ask obvious questions (including ones that make you feel stupid) because it will provoke simple answers. If you act like you have a thorough understanding of a topic — when you don’t — the person you’re interviewing will use more complicated language.

To serve your ultimate goal of explaining new information to your audience, interview with a novice mindset.

Step #2: Create straightforward analogies

Ask additional questions to make sure you understand the answers to the questions you ask.

Compare and contrast an intricate subject to something well-known. How is it similar or different?

For example, when I spoke with Garou about octocopters, I asked if they were like drones. Then, when we talked about the octocopter’s controller, I asked if it was like a joystick for a remote-controlled car.

Verify that your analogies are accurate, and if so, they’re a great way to explain the concept to your readers.

Step #3: Get specific

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, it’s time to learn details.

During this step, I asked Garou, “Why do people use adaptive controllers?”

The answer?

Although hundreds of years of research have proven that non-adaptive controllers are extremely safe, you also have to be more conservative when you use them. Adaptive controllers allow for riskier maneuvers, like tight or fast turns.

Adaptive controllers are also easier to operate and useful if you want to experiment, save money, or both.

Step #4: Investigate

This is a fun step: look for interesting stories that complement confusing job descriptions.

Although Siffring couldn’t share specific information because of medical privacy laws, he was able to speak in generalities.

He described a typical emergency room scenario:

A patient comes in and they’re having CPR done to them — everybody’s sort of running around: the nurses are trying to set up and get ready, we’re trying to get our machine ready, the surgeons are cutting the patient’s chest open so they can access the heart, and the anesthesiologist is doing his thing … it looks like total chaos, but with everybody doing something specific. Then you put the patient on the heart-lung machine, stabilize them, do the surgery, pretty soon you take him off, and three to four days later, you see him walking out of the hospital.

Ask experts what they wish someone would ask them or common misperceptions about their industry to get vivid answers.

Step #5: Eliminate jargon

Have someone else review your writing to make sure it’s accessible. One thing he or she can look for is whether or not the words you use are unnecessarily complicated.

One of my favorite editors, Joe Lazauskas, recently changed a complicated description I had written (“audience acquisition and retention”) to one that said the same thing in a simpler way (“building and sustaining a loyal audience”).

During our discussion, Garou pointed out that he changed the terminology he typically uses. He refers to hexacopters or octocopters as “systems” or “plants,” but those words wouldn’t make sense to someone outside his industry.

Cutting unnecessary jargon and complicated language helps people understand your writing better — clearly define a term or eliminate it.

Step #6: Fact-check

After you’ve removed vague language and revised your text, ask the expert you spoke with to review your content or have someone else in that field check to make sure your writing conveys the proper message.

This step minimizes factually inaccurate information.

Step #7: Present your material

Here’s an example of how I would describe perfusionist Travis Siffring:

Travis Siffring is a perfusionist — he operates a heart-lung bypass machine during heart surgery. A heart-lung bypass machine performs the function of the heart and lungs for a patient. It pumps blood, oxygenates blood, and removes carbon dioxide.

Operating a heart-lung bypass machine is different than CPR. CPR circulates blood by compressing the chest, making heart surgery impossible. There are some similarities, though. For example, both CPR and the heart-lung bypass machine help keep a person’s blood flowing in order to prevent brain damage.

During heart surgery, the surgeon hooks a big straw into the heart to drain blood away from the heart. The blood goes through the pump and the oxygenator, which is the artificial lung, and the pump then puts the blood back into the body. It circulates the blood even though the heart is stopped.

Perfusionists help cardiac surgeons operate on a still heart that is not beating.

Bonus step: Pay attention to feedback

You may think your description was extremely easy to understand, but others may still have difficulty with it.

Conversely, your description may be overly simplistic, and experts may think you missed important aspects.

Listen to feedback to help guide your future work.

Now go forth and liberate information

How will you use these strategies the next time you need to break down a subject matter that is difficult to explain?

What techniques do you use?

Let’s go over to Google+ and discuss how we serve our audiences with simple versions of complex content!

Editor’s note: If you found this article useful, we suggest you read 5 Tips for Turning Drab Information Into a Tantalizing Tutorial by Henneke Duistermaat.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via SDASM Archives.

About the Author: Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in making complex topics accessible. Find her at YaelWrites.com. Get more from Yael on Google-Plus.

The post 7 Ways to Simplify Complex Content While Maintaining Sophistication and Nuance appeared first on Copyblogger.

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BMW Runs the First Ads on Medium, Twitter Founders’ Blogging Platform


When blogging platform Medium begins publishing Re:form on Tuesday, its latest "collection," readers may notice something entirely new to the site: advertising.

BMW is sponsoring Re:form, a collection of posts about design edited by Sarah Rich, a former senior editor at Dwell magazine. It's the first time a collection, Medium's term for a digital publication, will have a sponsor. It's also the first attempt by Medium, created in 2012 by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, to generate revenue.

"We're in exploratory moment," said Evan Hansen, a senior editor at Medium. "It's not about the money, it's about the experiment."

Continue reading at AdAge.com

46% Of UK YouTubers are on Twitter [STUDY]

For marketers, driving fans from their most popular social network to engage with another is a tried-and-tested technique that can often pay dividends, especially when building your brand audience on a new platform.

Typically, however, brands push Facebook fans to Twitter, Twitter fans to Facebook and both to Instagram, but if you have an especially strong presence on YouTube you might want to reconsider your strategy.

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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

BlueConic Reemerges

Some spinoffs come off as a desperate ploy to hold onto audiences. Did we really need The Golden Palace after The Golden Girls finished?

Others hold their own next to the original. The Mary Tyler Moore Show came from Lou Grant. The Daily Show begat both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

BlueConic falls into the latter category. Four years ago, web CMS provider GX Software introduced it as a complimentary web engagement solution. In the years that followed, BlueConic broke off as an independent entity, received $3 million in Series A funding from Boston-based Sigma Prime Ventures, moved its headquarters and two of its chief executives to Boston.

So why don’t we hear more about it?

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Such a SAP! New Cloud-Based Mobile App Management Solution Introduced

On Such a SAP New Cloud Based Mobile App Management Solution Introduced 300x169 Such a SAP! New Cloud Based Mobile App Management Solution IntroducedMonday, MMW was briefed by the team at SAP regarding the expansion of the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio.

The latest addition is that of a mobile application management component, which the company calls “a white-label, localizable and secure enterprise app store that makes it easy for companies to simply and proactively push their mobile apps into the hands of employees, business partners and consumers.”

For managed users, the company says of its newest solution, it identifies when their device is out of compliance and directs them to download the appropriate mobile device management (MDM) solution, regardless of the MDM vendor, before they are able to install any apps.

“Mobile for the enterprise has to be both intuitive and secure,” said Maria Yauger, director of Messaging, Meeting Technology and Web Infrastructure for Phillips 66. “Being able to manage our environment so that these two important facets of mobile come together is critical for the success of our mobility strategy.”

Interested companies are now encourages to sign up for a free 30-day trial of SAP Mobile Secure.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Such a SAP! New Cloud Based Mobile App Management Solution Introduced Such a SAP! New Cloud Based Mobile App Management Solution Introduced

Pros & Cons of Running Social Media Geared Towards China In-House

One of the toughest problems any company will face when going social is to decide between running social media geared toward China in-house or through an agency. There are both benefits and drawbacks from both strategies. Here are the pros and cons of running your Chinese social media in-house. Cons 1. Language The first problem and … Continue Reading

Pros & Cons of Running Social Media Geared Towards China In-House by Miguel Roberg -Maximize Social Business

  

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CEO vs. Worker Bee: The Two Modes of Productivity

Figuring out what you should be spending your time on is a lot of work. Then there is the whole “doing the work” part.

The distinction between these two modes, dubbed CEO and Worker Bee by our very own Chase Reeves, is an important mental barrier to create, especially for a solo bootstrapping founder.

In this video Chase details the difference between the two modes and how to integrate them into your day-to-day work schedule.

(If you don’t see the video above, you can view it on YouTube.)


Note from Caleb: We’ll be doing more video posts here at Fizzle. They’ll be short clips on things we use as a team or mention a bunch on the podcast, insights we hear from our longer Founder Stories inside Fizzle, and whatever else we find that will help support you by doing meaningful independent work.


A tension will be there between the two modes, but you need to turn pro in each of them. Spend the next year noticing the friction between the two modes.

Once you recognize these two modes you can know thyself.

  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • When is your brain really flowing?
  • When are you ready to tackle big ambitious issues?
  • When would you rather just have a list of things to do and screw caps on bottles?

Homework: Open up your calendar, look at your day tomorrow, and plan it according to these two modes: Planning Mode & Doing Mode.


Online entrepreneurs have two modes: CEO and Worker Bee. Both are essential to bring an idea to execution.
  or copy + Facebook

Learn enough about productivity to do your best work

__FZC&C-CourseProductivity

One of the most common questions we hear from entrepreneurs: how do I get more stuff done? Why do I keep procrastinating!?

Productivity is about more than just how you organize your sticky notes (though, let’s be honest, that is pretty important) and in this Fizzle course Chase shares the essentials of productivity specifically for online business builders.

It will reinvigorate and supercharge your workflow.

Start this two-hour course for just $1.

What do you do during your day or week to separate your time spent planning and time spent cranking widgets?

Let us know in the comments below this post.

At Least 22 Civilians Were Killed in Ukraine Today

Donetsk-ukraine
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At least 22 civilians were killed on Tuesday as violence between government forces and pro-Russian separatists engulfs eastern Ukraine

The use of unguided rockets has dramatically escalated the violence in the area in the weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Though eastern Ukraine has been entrenched in bloodshed over the past few months, it's different this time around. The fighting is no longer confined to the rural outskirts; it's now spilling over into the cities and residential areas. As a result, civilian casualties are mounting

In Donetsk, the main rebel city in the east, three shells hit an apartment building in the center of the city on Tuesday, killing at least one as 50 others hid in an underground parking area. Although the city is the separatist stronghold, government forces have refrained from attacking the most populated areas. The rebels accused the Ukrainian government of of using heavy artillery in the area, but Ukraine says it has banned usage of such weapons in residential areas, adding that separatists target civilians to discredit the army. Read more...

More about Russia, Us World, Us, World, and Ukraine

20 Private Thoughts From the Backseat of an Uber Car

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At the end of an exhausting day, it's comforting to know that with just a few taps on your smartphone, a car will be on its way to pick you up and deliver you to your front door.

Some of the best thinking gets done while seated in the back of an Uber car. Groundbreaking thoughts like: Do I have enough Uber credits to cover this ride? Will my driver judge me if I play Kim Kardashian: Hollywood at full volume all the way home? Will he stop to let me pick up pizza?

Confession-sharing app Secret shared some of your best backseat Uber thoughts

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about List, Lists, Ugc, Secret, and Uber

Amazon to Enter Mobile Payments Arena?

Amazon to Enter Mobile Payments Arena 300x197 Amazon to Enter Mobile Payments Arena?Online retail behemoth Amazon is purportedly set to enter the mobile payments fray.

According to sources close to Amazon, the ecommerce heavyweight is planning to release a mobile credit card reader that could empower merchants to accept payments from consumers on the go.

As of this writing, it isn’t known if the card reader will be exclusively compatible with Amazon tablets and smartphones or if mainstream iOS and Android products can be used as well.

“Internal Staples documents” obtained by 9to5Mac suggest that “Staples stores will prepare next month to stock a new product called the ‘Amazon Card Reader’” which would put Amazon on pace to challenge industry leading mobile payment providers like Square, PayAnywhere, and others.

“An exact launch date for the product is unconfirmed, but Staples has asked its stores to wait until Tuesday, August 12th to put up new signage related to the Amazon Card Reader,” the report concludes.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Amazon to Enter Mobile Payments Arena? Amazon to Enter Mobile Payments Arena?

The Tattered, Haunting Remains Of Abandoned Airports

You've seen where airplanes go to die, but what happens to the airports we abandon? They slowly fall to pieces, like the ones in this gallery, looking like sad monuments to a future that never happened.

Why ‘The Bachelor’ Is The Smartest Show On TV

Perhaps "The Bachelor" has more to do with the Stanford Prison Experiment than we thought.

What Happened To The Painted Portrait?

Did the invention of photography kill the painted portrait? Of course not.

Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel Convert Facebook Class-B Shares to Class-A

Facebook Directors Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel converted class-B shares in Facebook to class-A and detailed other transactions in Form 4 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, while Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships David Fischer and Chief Accounting Officer Jas Athwal amended their earlier Form 4 filings with Form 4/A filings.

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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

5 Things Businesses Need To Know About Facebook’s New Save Feature

Facebook recently introduced a new bookmarking feature, allowing users to save items for reading later. Facebook has been testing this feature for two years, since the company acqhired read-it-later startup Spool. Instead of hacks for saving content, such as taking screenshots on your iPhone or other mobile device, sharing content on your own wall to “me only,” or sharing content to a secret group with you as its only member, now users have a much more effective way of saving content for reading later.

Clearly, there is much excitement about this long-awaited feature. I posted about the new Save feature on my Facebook Page shortly after Facebook made its official announcement and my post has a reach of over 96,000 – my second highest reach in the past 12 months! (See post embedded below).

I talk about my most popular post over the past 12 months with a reach of over 129,000 here: How Facebook Calculates What Appears In Your News Feed

For most users, they will see a drop-down arrow at top right of posts on desktop or mobile.

However, according to Facebook’s Help Section on the new Save feature, users access the Save feature via an actual ‘Save’ button on the lower right of posts. My guess is this is how the Save feature will ultimately look once the kinks have been ironed out. Which, of course, is awesome! It puts the option to Save right in front of users, instead of obscuring behind the teeny gray drop-down arrow.

facebook save button

I’m optimistic that the new Save feature will really catch on among users en masse. However, it’s also possible that users may find the feature a bit “hidden” to really optimize (similar to how Interest Lists don’t seem to be as wildly popular as they could be).

And, as a Facebook business user, there are a few important things you should know. Here are five of them:

1. Only links can be saved

Users can save link posts with the link preview intact. Not status updates with a link where the preview has been removed so the post reads like a status update. This was a “Ninja trick” many of us Page owners had been using to attempt to get better organic reach. However, Facebook announced a change to the news feed algorithms in January 2014 that gave more love to link posts with the preview.

The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share, so it looks like the one below. We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds. Facebook Newsroom

What can be saved:

  • Link posts
  • Pages
  • Places
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Music
  • Books
  • Events

What can’t be saved:

  • Status updates
  • Photo posts
  • Video posts (but you can save links to YouTube or Vimeo videos)

TIP: You may wish to slightly adjust your fan page posting strategy and start sharing more links with the preview. You’ll want to monitor the reach and engagement over time and see if you can do as well as photo posts and status updates. Still, it’s important to keep mixing up the post type.

In this blog post, I recommend a ratio of 50% photo posts, 25% link posts, and 25% status updates. Since I wrote that post just ten days ago, Facebook introduced the Save feature and I now believe this will definitely impact Link visibility in the news feed (see also #2 below).

So, you might switch up the ratio now to something like 50% links, 25% photos/videos and 25% status updates. Keep in mind, each page varies and you do need to experiment.

I’m definitely posting more links on my fan page. Plus, I’m including a tip for my fans to save the post. You might want to do the same. See embedded post in #2 below.

2. Some saved links go back into the news feed

This is great news for page owners that post links! Facebook stated:

We’ll sometimes show you reminders of your saved items in News Feed. For example, we might show you links to articles you saved. Facebook Newsroom

This may impact news feed ranking algorithm for your link posts. I hope so!

As mentioned above, you may want to start posting more links on your fan page. And, you might include a CTA (call to action) from time to time inviting your fans to save your post. See the example in my recent Facebook Page post below, which was well received:

3. Pages can be saved

Users can save their favorite Pages from the news feed (again, desktop or mobile), OR directly on a Page. This includes Place pages. Awesome! This is very good news. Of course, you first need to persuade your fans to save your Page. And then, remember to go back and view their saved Pages. Hm. It might be more effective to persuade your fans to sign up for Notifications (which they do by hovering over the “Liked” button).

To save a Page in the desktop news feed, hover over the Page name, then click the Save button:

save facebook page desktop news feedTo save a Page in mobile news feed, you need to tap the Page name, then tap the Save button:

save facebook page on mobile

To save a Page ON the Page (on desktop), just click the three little dots, then click Save.

save a facebook page

TIP: Local business owners: be sure to encourage your customer to check in on Facebook. See the example in the screenshot below of a post by renowned tech thought leader, Robert Scoble. He posted a video interview of clothing pioneer Scott Jordan seeing Whirlpool’s new Swash. Because Robert included a place check-in, that’s the only link that can be saved. (Thing is, in this example, the place is just a generic community page).

robert scoble facebook post swash

4. Links can’t be saved by Pages

If you use Facebook logged in as your Page, you won’t be able to access the Save feature. Currently, Save is only available when logged is as your personal profile.

Perhaps this feature will be available for Pages to save links some time in the future, with enough demand.

In fact, if Facebook’s new Save feature really catches on, perhaps the company will introduce yet another independent mobile app?! :) I hope so, as five isn’t enough. (Facebook app, Pages Manager, Mentions, Paper, Messenger). Ha!

5. Stats on saved links are not available

Facebook Page admins and website owners will not be able to see how many times their links or Pages have been saved. Hopefully, this is a feature that Facebook would add in the future. Currently, Page owners can clearly see the level of interest and engagement in their content via a range of stats: reach (organic and paid), likes, comments, shares, clicks, and negative feedback.

I’ve asked Facebook whether websites and Page admins will get analytics on how often they’re Saved, which could help refine their content and promotion strategies, and better understand what to share on Facebook. It tells me “Not at this time.” There are currently no plans for an API or external Save button that developers could use to let people add to their Saved list from outside of Facebook. You also can’t natively export from Save to other read-it-later apps, which would be nice. Josh Constine, TechCrunch.com

Saved items are PRIVATE

It’s important to note that, as a user, all items you save are only visible to you. Even when you see reminders of your saved items in your news feed – these are still only visible to you.

You have the option to go back to your Saved items and share individual links in the usual manner (on your timeline to friends or public, on a friend’s timeline, on a page or group you manage, via private message).

Is Facebook’s Save a threat to Pocket?

In a word, No! Unlike Pocket, Facebook Save doesn’t cache the saved items (caching lets you view a stripped-down version of the article). Rather, Facebook Save is simply a bookmarking tool that creates a list of links you can later refer to to read more in-depth and/or share on Facebook with your friends.

Also, unlike Pocket, Facebook Save only lets you save links from inside Facebook (via the mobile or desktop news feed and also directly on Pages). Whereas, Pocket already integrates with so many apps, my favorite being Feedly and the Chrome extension.

The new feature, like almost all components of the social network is to keep you inside Facebook. Instead of saving items to Pinterest, Instapaper, Pocket, or other read-it-later services, you can use Facebook as a bookmarking service. It’s also a good way to keep track of restaurants and stores you may want to visit. TheNextWeb.com

So, there you have it, folks!

Will you change up your Facebook Page posting strategy… just a wee bit, to include more link posts? Do let me know in the comments below.

Related  resources:

Facebook 101: Back to Basics with Mari SmithNEW online training course! Facebook 101: Back to Basics.

Due to popular demand, I’m launching a super-basic online training course on how to make the most of your every day Facebook activity. Find out more and get on the early-bird notification list here!

Apple’s legacy MacBook Pro with CD/DVD SuperDrive lives on with $100 price cut

Though it lacks a Retina display and features a thicker, heavier design, spinning hard drive, and a CD/DVD SuperDrive, Apple's legacy MacBook Pro survived the company's latest round of updates on Tuesday, and was even given a $100 price cut to $1,099.






Social Media Newsfeed: Facebook Messenger | Twitter Earnings

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Facebook Pushing Messenger, Removing Messages from iOS, Android Apps (AllFacebook)
Facebook users who want to send and receive messages via their iOS and Android devices will soon only be able to do so via the social network’s Messenger applications, as messaging will be removed from its flagship applications for both operating systems, Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch. News of this potential move was first reported in April by TechCrunch and The Verge, and the social network started the process in Europe, telling TechCrunch it elected to proceed after seeing “positive results” in terms of engagement, adding that Messenger users reply about 20 percent quicker, and both its flagship and Messenger apps will benefit from not having to support different chat formats. TechCrunch Mobile web, iPad, feature phone, Windows Phone, Paper and desktop users can still message in their main Facebook apps or sites like before, and will be spared from this forced migration for now. Previously, people could chat from a Messages tab in Facebook’s smartphone apps. They also had the option to download Messenger, which would turn the Messages tab into a notifications hub and shortcut that would fast-switch users into Messenger when tapped. The Next Web Unlike Foursquare’s questionable decision to split its features into two apps, having a stand-alone messaging app makes sense. If you just need to shoot out a quick reply, you shouldn’t have to load your entire News Feed. Engadget Of course, not everyone is going to be happy about downloading a second app to do what one was already capable of — just ask Foursquare users about Swarm. Facebook says the change will let it focus its development efforts better on the two apps separately and “avoid confusion” by users, who send about 12 billion messages a day on the platform. Apple Insider Most recently, Facebook took its Messenger app universal with a new version optimized for the iPad. For those looking to download Messenger before the new policy goes into effect, the app is available as a free 39MB download from the App Store.

Twitter Won’t Unveil New Growth Metrics for Q2 Earnings (Re/code)
Twitter reports its Q2 earnings this afternoon, which means investors will be judging whether Dick Costolo has fixed his growth problem. One thing they won’t see or hear about, though, will be a new set of metrics from Twitter describing the company’s reach scale.

Instagram: A New Marketplace for Professional Photographers? (SocialTimes)
There may be a large value to Instagram, given that over 20 billion photos have been uploaded to the service — stock photographs. Instagram sees a huge volume of pictures, and even if almost 50 percent of them are selfies, that still leaves many pictures that might be perfect for stock photo distributors.

3 Killed in a Facebook Blasphemy Rampage in Pakistan (The New York Times)
A woman and two of her young granddaughters were burned to death Sunday night in the eastern city of Gujranwala after a member of their Ahmadi minority sect was accused of posting a blasphemous picture to Facebook, the police said. The mob of roughly 1,000 people began rampaging through an Ahmadi neighborhood after being alerted to the photograph, setting houses on fire and injuring at least eight other people, according to the police.

Marketers: Email Still More Effective Than Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing (AllTwitter)
In their Q2 2014 digital tactics report, Gigaom found that 86% of U.S. digital marketers used email marketing regularly, and more than half (56 percent) of respondents said that email was their most effective digital strategy for customer retention. This compared to 37 percent who cited social media, 32 percent who rated content marketing and just 13 percent for search engine optimization (SEO).

The Existing Bolt Asks Instagram to Reconsider Naming its New App ‘Bolt’ (VentureBeat)
If … just if … Facebook/Instagram are actually planning to release a disappearing photo sharing app called Bolt, the co-founder and CEO of the already-existing Bolt has issues. That’s the CEO of the other Bolt, a free calling phone app that can replace the Android default app for that purpose.

#PalinTVShows Trending After Launch of ‘The Sarah Palin Channel’ (LostRemote)
She took the political world by storm during the election of 2008, and Sarah Palin is now looking to dominate the digital media landscape. The former VP candidate announced the “The Sarah Palin Channel” on Facebook.

LinkedIn Revamps its Mobile App with a New Profile Look (CNET)
LinkedIn has a new look for its mobile devices, displaying what it hopes is more relevant information on user’s profiles. The social network for professionals said it rebuilt the way profiles look on its service in an effort to help users learn about one another quickly.

Two-Thirds of Americans Take Their Smartphones to the Bathroom [Infographic] (SocialTimes)
Users with smartphones are never very far away from them — even when they’re in the bathroom. According to an infographic from The Reader’s Edge, consumers admitted to frequently using their phones in the bathroom for reading and a host of other reasons.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

The Forgetful Person’s Guide to Staying Organized at Work

Forgetful-marketerAt some point in our lives, we have to just accept who we are. For me, I've had to come to terms that I actually love binge-watching terrible reality TV, I will always want applesauce on my mac n' cheese (trust me, it's delicious), and most importantly, I'm forgetful. 

I forget names pretty much immediately after I READ MORE »

New Android ‘Fake ID’ flaw empowers stealthy new class of super-malware

A new Android design error discovered by Bluebox Security allows malicious apps to grab extensive control over a user's device without asking for any special permissions at installation. The problem affects virtually all Android phones sold since 2010.

Fly Or Die: Tinder Moments

Last month, Tinder launched Moments. It’s a new feature that lets users send photo blasts to all of their matches. The photos don’t last forever, but they’re a much better ice breaker than “hey.” That said, we took a close look at the feature for Fly or Die. Read More

Feeling Successful Doesn’t Require a Huge Salary, Study Finds

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How much money do you need in order to feel successful? Most people say it doesn't require an overflowing bank account, according to new research.

Even though nearly two-thirds of workers aren't yet satisfied with their earnings, most think they can feel successful without earning large paychecks, finds a new study from CareerBuilder.

Specifically, more than half of those surveyed said they feel successful when making less than $70,000, while 23% said making between $70,000 and $100,000 is enough for them to feel successful.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said that, in many cases, success is relative to the type of work individuals do, or their current career stage. Read more...

More about Promotion, Success, Salary, Business, and Us

Optimize Keywords and Make Monthly Projections In Your Entire MCC With These New AdWords Scripts!

AdWords scripts are increasingly more popular for automating time-consuming tasks allowing you to spend more time optimizing, and gaining insights to help keep your campaigns from going off the rails.…

Read more at PPCHero.com

10 Heroic Women of World War I

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Strong, inspiring women can be found everywhere — including the front lines.

It's been 100 years since the First World War, one of history's most fatal conflicts. In commemoration of the Great War's centenary, MyHeritage.com is highlighting the important women who risked everything to fight and save lives throughout the many years of war.

These little-known nurses, writers and soldiers deserve a salute after showing the world just how brave women can be on the battlefield. Read more...

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Video Re-Mix Startup Coub Raises $2.5 Million From VC Fund Headed Up By VK.com Founders

Coub 1 There’s money in them loops — apparently. Coub, the Russian startup that lets you create and embed looped, 10-second video clips, has raised a new round of funding. Now seeing 50 million unique viewers per month (up from 8 million a year ago), the company has added $2.5 million to its coffers, courtesy of Vaizra Investments, the fund headed up Lev Leviev and Vyacheslav… Read More

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