Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays !

It comes as no surprise to many of my old friends that I've been working in a different industry for some time  now.  A different time.  A new and exciting challenge.

This blog and a few other websites still remain, as I still remain in touch with many of you (and you never know when I may get the urge to 'break a story' :)

It's been an interesting year in tech and on the web as I continue to follow the trends regularly (and follow many of you on various networks).

This simple post is to wish all of you a Happy Holiday season with health, joy and prosperity as we look forward to 2013.

Fond wishes to all ....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

One Year in Tech - An Eternity

As some of my closer colleagues know, it was a little over a year ago that I decided to drop my SEO, viral advertising and Social Media consulting ... for a 'day job'.

Things are changed exponentially on the tech landscape during that time.  It's truly amazing and continues to be fascinating.

There were many factors that led to my decision but the most prevalent was a series of 'high intensity' clients and just a much needed change of pace ... after three decades spending way too much time in front of a computer.  (My wife's desire for a little sanity around here played as well :).

I e-mailed a few friends in the industry and the response was interesting.  I wasn't the only one.  The invasion of self-proclaimed experts, many of whom knew next to nothing, was driving a lot of top-shelf Internet marketing and PR people crazy.

While the challenge was always a chase and satisfying, the price you pay in stress can be high, whether in-house or independent.  I've done both.

As I have since the early days of the PC, I still spend a couple of HOURS a day staying current with the trends, valuations, changes in search ... and the tech landscape.  The only surprise was that Google had shutdown Google for domains, and the parked domains that I had owned for years stopped creating a secondary income 3 weeks ago.

No biggie. I must have missed the memo :)

The reason for this post is simple.

While I have stayed mildly active on Twitter, Google+ and numerous other places (rarely on Facebook but that's another story), I have received short notes and comments like "Where did Charlie go?".

 Happy to say my family and I are doing fine.  I'm still very much here and doing what I enjoy.

Over the summer, I've decided to reach out to some of my long lost tech and marketing friends for no other reason than to say Hi and see how you're doing.  Many of you can probably guess who you are.

I may even get totally carried away ..... and do a piece right here about today's tech valuations ... and the continuation of the 'tech paper economy'. I don't know about you but Apple's market cap along with Facebook's coming IPO remind me a lot of the AOL acquisition of Time Warner. Hmmm...

To be continued ... Feel free to ping me

All the best

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Google Adds +1 To Blogger Pages and Speech Search!

Earlier today, Google announced the widespread availability of it's '+1' recommendation button for blogs and websites.  In the announcement, the company said it would be available in other Google products such as Blogger.

Despite the fact that I have been off doing other things and haven't haven't the time to write as much as I'd like in recent months, I decided to mess with the +1 documentation and see how easy it would be to try it out right here.

I went to the notes .... and there was nothing about adding it to Blogger.


They already did.

Alongside the Twitter, Facebook and other buttons at the bottom of each post (here), '+1' was added and turned on by default!

Sure, it can't hurt, and you are using Google's software for free (Blogger), but it still seems like a pretty bold move.  Shades of the early Buzz implementation within Gmail?

On another Google note, the company has been testing a search by voice 'microphone' on the main Google page almost all day.  I've been waiting for someone (anyone?) to write about this but apparently it's being overshadowed by the coverage of D9.

Curious? You won't see it in IE Explorer or Firefox.  You will see it at the right of the search bar (at least here in the States) using the Dev-M version of Google's browser Chrome.  I looks like this. 

Click it and it scan your hardware for a mic ... and tests it.

Pretty neat stuff.

Update: June 2 1:30 AM ET - Apparently you will only see the 'mic' currently on the Dev version for Windows according to a brief note I just received.

Update 2: Blogger Buzz has a video about +1 and using it in Blogger.  It appears that since I had the 'other' sharing buttons turned on, +1 now goes along for the ride.

Update 3: Don't rush to install the Dev version of Chrome to see this.  The test is apparently over.  The 'mic' is gone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Google Gaming Debacle - What's Next?

For those of you that haven't already read it, the weekend tech news brings us a piece from the NY Times about a major retailer who apparently simply hired the wrong SEO firm.

Nobody really knows why thousands of links (as evidenced by this article by Vanessa Fox) landed around the web, making for a classic case of what is known in the industry as 'Black Hat SEO'.  It could have been anyone, inside or outside the company, a subcontractor, or even an employee trying to look good to his (or her) boss.

Some of the comments on this morning's take by TechCrunch are (very) disturbing as well.

Anyone that has corresponded with Matt Cutts or Vanessa Fox over the years knows they're simply trying to do the right thing.

So here's a story for those doubters out there.

It's one of the primary reasons I left the industry a while back, and yes it is a serious problem for Google that is going to get harder to tackle as the Internet continues to grow and coders (and spammers) get even smarter.

It was about 5 years ago that I dropped in on a 'major' SEO company.  At the time, I was debating going to work for them rather than staying independent.  The company was well known in the industry and the CEO highly respected for a number of ventures he was then successful at.

As I entered the 'SEO area', I was introduced to ONE person who seemed to have a very general knowledge of White Hat SEO.  Then I was introduced to the staff.  There was a row of college students that were, yes, planting links.  They had a program and were hitting all kinds of discussion boards, comment areas, and just about anywhere else they could land a subtle link without bing noticed.

I brought it up with the manager and the response was "Hey ... it works".

It didn't work for me.  I left having found exactly what I expected and that's really sad.

Keep in mind this was about 5 years ago.  Webmaster Central was alive and well and they had to know exactly what they were doing.

Then there are the 'rocket scientists'.  The coders that sell themselves to companies with that 'super script'  that'll make them rank in Google in two weeks under 500 or a thousand search terms.  I watched one of these scenerios years ago. The company DID get caught by Google's spam team and over 45 sites (that I had worked years on) plummeted to position 60 or lower.  Google caught it almost immediately.  The company suffered big time.

We have an industry where there are now thousands (not hundreds as the Times piece says) of well-intentioned SEO companies and individuals working hard to do the right thing.  They work day and night hoping to wake up the next morning and see that their efforts have worked.

In many cases, the fruits are short-lived and replaced by a Black Hat effort.

Should they all start using the reporting tool?  Probably not.

Even this blog which has been mostly dormant the past month gets spammed every day.  Seriously, you may not be seeing comments and that's because Blogger and Disqus are catching them.  99% spam ?!

Everyone loses in the end.  Inevitably, Google finds these 'invasions' and weeds them out but, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to the wrong people prior to the discovery.

The SEO industry doesn't need to be regulated as has been mentioned by some over the years .... but SEO's do need to start self-policing.  If your 'friend' is gaming the system, it's time that you tell him.  If that doesn't work, the reporting tool isn't a bad idea.

Google (and Bing) NEED SEO's to help the algorithm.  Nobody ever writes that but it's a fact.

With a HUGE Internet out there with no end in sight, bringing solid content to the attention of the two major search engines is important.  Very Important.

So all of this is really nothing new.  It's not Google's fault.  It's probably not even the company's fault that got caught.

Social Media won't do it all.  If you haven't notice, it's a bit saturated.

If you hire an SEO firm, put it in the contract.  Tell them you want 'White Hat' techniques within the guidelines of the search engines.

It's a start.

You may be surprised that it may take a tad longer ... but it will work just as well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Where Did SEO and Tech Daily Go?

In response to (more than) a few e-mails, I'm making this brief post to keep you up-to-date on this blog and future plans.

As some of my friends know, I made a rather radical career change last year embracing another one of my passions ... cars.

It's all probably more than you want to know but suffice to say, it's required all my attention and left little time to do any unique or interesting here.

There have been many times I've been tempted to post an opinion, prediction, or my own take on the 'next chapter' and the hyper changes we continue to see not only in tech, but how those changes are changing many other industries on a wholesale basis.

Frankly, it's all mind boggling and I doubt if anyone has the answers 5 or ten years down the road.

Like many of you ... I still visit Techmeme each morning (and sometimes evening) for the breaking 'take' on what's happening and Gabe Rivera's team continues to do an awesome job aggregating the world's tech and Internet news.  The most recent implimentation on Twitter within the Techmeme landscape makes a great deal of sense considering as any tech author knows, that's where most of these stories break to begin with.

So what's next?

While I continue to put most off my efforts in making a comfortable living for my family, I haven't yet decided whether to merge SEO and Tech Daily with my (currently dorment) personal blog, or just take a break.

There are many fine online publications reporting 'the news' and others giving great hints on the latest in SEO and the world of Search Engine Optimization.

The bottom line is I'm still here, reading a lot, working hard, and for some reason more of you are following me every day on Quora than anywhere else.  I LOVE Quora but I've been a 'fly on the wall' if anything.  Just crazy stuff.

So Yes. Happily, I'm still breathing :)  My wife and I are just getting settled in to our new home here in Central PA and all is well .... and I more than appreciate those e-mails!

What's next?  We'll see ... in a few weeks.

Thanks you guys as always.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Newsday (LI) Drops Paywall Temporarily

On occasion, I think we all check on the news in a place we used to live.

For many years, Long Island's Newsday was, in large part, the primary newspaper for those who lived in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

I grew up reading it .... as did my parents and grandparents.

Newsday has changed hands a few times over the years and some time ago became one of the first major newspapers in the nation to put up a paywall. (IE: If you wanted to read it online, you had to subscribe).

Those of you that have read my stuff know how I feel about monetization via paywalls (except in certain circumstances).  Newsday (and their advertisers) lost this guy's business when the paywall went up a while back ... and it wasn't too difficult to find alternate sources.  In fact, a few entrepreneurs found opportunity and started brand new websites.

This evening, I was curious about how Long Island was doing with the first major snowstorm in a while.  I was also curious if Newsday would drop the paywall during an emergency (for visitors and others?!).

I wandered over to to find the site wide open.

The photos were good.  The copy was (very) current.   Overall the paper looked great ... online.

The official explanation had nothing to do with a pending emergency:

"Enjoy open access to the new until January 7, 2011, courtesy of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular".

Cablevision's News 12 (which still has it's paywall in place) can also be viewed live (and open) via a link at the bottom of the Newsday main page.

I'm writing this piece not only for those that might be interested in the weather (and airport) coverage .... but also because if enough people point to this (Tweet it?), maybe, just maybe, the Cablevision / Newsday Interactive oligopoly might just realize how many pageviews the site is capable of ... without the paywall.

I'm not hopeful considering the past, but for now, if you're stuck on Long Island (all the major New York area airports are closed at this hour) or you're just curious, Newsday and the live feed from News 12 Long Island can be found here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas (and Changing Times)

I just took a look at the site analytics for this blog, that I started back when 'early adopter' was a relatively new phrase.

Given the fact that I haven't had time to update it as often as I used to, I was surprised to find that over 90 per cent of you (recently) have been new visitors.  (So much for 'sticky' ? :)

That's a long road from when it was the complete opposite and SEO and Tech Daily had a 'regular following'.

First .... welcome!  I hope you'll find something here occasionally that you find interesting (or just makes you smile :)

2010 was a year of hyper change on the Internet and all industries effected directly or indirectly by the web.  Governments, Social structures and Businesses everything literally ran to adapt and ...

..... There are more websites and blogs (and others) trying to get your pageviews than ever before.

That has never been a real mission here.

Originally the blog was started to re-brand my own name after having spent over 5 years very quietly doing in-house SEO.

Then came Friendfeed (now owned by Facebook) and a community that I truly believe has yet to be rivaled in it's intimate networking by like minding people.  Friendfeed has changed since it's acquisition but suffice to say I met more of you (electronically or in person) there than on any other Web 2.0 start-up, rivaling only going personally to a conference or meeting.

Two years ago, I made a career switch (Think that's easy at 54 ?? :), but I continued to self-educate myself on the rapid changes on the Internet and tech in general ... something I've done my whole life.

If I write something here now, it's either some sort of experiment, or because the fact is, that I simply enjoy doing it, and, over the years, so many of you have dropped e-mails that just make me feel good.

I continue to prognosticate occasionally, or report unreported news.  I also still maintain a few legacy accounts ... people or companies that I just LOVE helping out.

So there's a very brief update.  No Year in Review (yet?!) ... No Negative or title-blazing stuff.

Just Thanks ...

.. to the many of you ... way to many to count ... that have been part of my tech life one way or another or contributed to this blog in some way since it's launch.

From my family to yours ..

Happy Holidays .... and many years of health and happiness!

Your friend,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paid (Promoted) Tweets Move to More Clients

Twitter's first attempt at monetization is called 'promoted Tweets'.

Paid trends that usually appear in the top ten with a defining label.

It started with the Twitter home page (both new and old versions) and the popular Twitter client Hootsuite.

It appears the Adobe Air version of Tweetdeck has joined the fray this morning, automatically turning on Worldwide Trends for some users including promoted Tweets.

A screenshot from earlier this morning appears below.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Google Sends Mass Thank You E-Mail and 20 Million for Charity

Checking my Gmail tonight, I came across this:

Well, you're welcome Google, and even though my wife is going through the same thing that Kristine Gray is going through, we're very happy to be part of your success ... and certainly grateful that you were able to give $20 million to various charities in 2010.

It's an exciting (and challenging) time for the web.  It's been a fun ride, and I, for one, can't wait for the next chapter.  I don't ever remember technology and communications changing at this pace, and the success and failure stories that have come along with that change.

I should point out that the link in the e-mail goes here.

Enjoy .....

.... and the Happiest of Holidays to readers of this blog and the occasional others I contribute to ....

Together, we ALL can make a difference.