Friday, May 29, 2009

Silverlight 3 keeps the heat on Flash

, Microsoft's competing technology to Adobe's Flash is ratcheting up soon.

In this piece, I mentioned that I had been using the Silverlight 3 Beta client with Windows 7 RC (along side Flash).
At least on this 'test notebook', no issues to report.

Today came word from ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley that Silverlight 3.0 will go final on July 10th.

Rich Media, as it's been called, whether it be Flash or Silverlight, has been an issue for the SEO community although Google has addressed it directly with a partnering of sorts with Adobe.

Most SEO companies are still advising clients to limit the animations, videos etc. in these formats on their primary landing pages so that search engine bots have an easier time picking up the important and relevant content.

On the other hand, the newer website technologies are providing platforms for not only 'fancy presentations' but easier site navigation and just more content in a smaller space.

Still a touchy one for most small webmasters.  On the other hand, take a look at many major retailers (and many others) and you will notice an ongoing evolution embracing rich media for product demos and more.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Bing and Wave! (Update 1)

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to do an extensive blog post today (It never fails?).

On the other hand, at this hour ... hundreds of others already have (see below).

The buzz is hot from both Google and Microsoft and is more than overshadowing news from Hulu and elsewhere.

I'll share some of the key stories and press releases in our shared feed (lower right) shortly.

Bing it is for Microsoft's new search launch (with a whole family of ''Baby Bings' ... including the re-branding of numerous products, and Bing Travel born out of the Farecast acquisition ...) and from Google, it's Google Wave which by all accounts looks like it has the potential to take 'real-time' (ala FriendFeed) and social networking  to a whole new dimension.

This is not just exciting 'geek stuff'.  It is, very possibly, 'the next big thing' as well as another huge web marketing shift.

So much for the so-called echo chamber .... There are plenty of 'takes' at this hour. Pick up a few of your favorite publications (free) at TechMeMe here :)

Update: I thought a few of you might find the below screenshot a little more than interesting.
Yes, Bing is buying PPC (Pay-per-click ads) on Google!

edited 9 PM ET 5/28/2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One of today's Windows 7 Updates was real

Microsoft quietly rolled out an automatic update late Tuesday for Beta testers of Windows 7 RC.

Included were 3 'test updates' and 1 update for the compatibility view in Internet Explorer 8.

In addition, a host of new Windows 7 language packs were released  (as optional) and can be downloaded by visiting Windows Update.

Note: Depending on your settings, you may already have them or need to visit Windows update for the IE8 patch.

More on the Windows 7 RC (which is still available for download) can be found here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 now available

A short time ago, Microsoft released Service Pack 2 for Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Available from the Microsoft Download Center, the new SP2 's are available as stand-alones and/or a burnable ISO for DVD.

"The latest service pack for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, supports new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards, includes all of the updates that have been delivered since SP1, and simplifies deployment, for consumers, developers, and IT professionals".

Sidenote for the Beta crowd: Microsoft has also recently released Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 Beta 1, as well as Silverlight 3.0 Beta for developers.  These betas, at least for me under Windows 7 RC,  have been running without issues so far and are worth checking out on a non-mission critical PC for forward looking developers.

Great week all

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Microsoft Search Engine - Looks like Bing, not Kumo (Update 2)

While Microsoft was planning the announce their new search engine initiative at the upcoming D7 conference, it appears AdAge is breaking the news a little early.

In an article revealed a short time ago on the web (dated tomorrow ??), AdAge discusses an 80 million dollar advertising campaign to be orchestrated by JWT for Microsoft's new search engine ...... Bing.

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, among others, have had Bing on their list of potential names for Microsoft's upcoming new search product.

While screenshots of Kumo did leak in early March, Sullivan commented "I really doubt that will be the final name".  (Numerous screen shots were inadvertently delivered to the web in early March branded Kumo).

Microsoft responded at that time.

In a Search Engine Land post on May 20, assuming this all pans out, Sullivan pretty much nailed it.

Microsoft has been seriously trailing market share leader Google (approx 62%) and Yahoo! (20%) with their MSN and products.  Recently, it was revealed that Digg would be dropping their content network as well.

The question on everyone's mind is whether or not yet another identity will help Microsoft capture a reasonable share of the lucrative search market and, whether or not Kumo, (I mean Bing ?) .... will be better.

As for me .... I'm likin' Bing a lot more than Kumo :)

A little discussion is evolving on Friendfeed here
Sidenote: The D7 conference will be held May 26 though May 28.  The schedule can be found here.

Edited with additional references May 25 1 AM ET

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The analysts are wrong - Get used it it.

It takes a lot more to get people to your website (and returning) than it did 6 months ago.

I read a lot of stuff, almost daily, from a variety of sources.  Solid online marketing requires a keen knowledge of today's trends and where things seem to be going.

Just as 'hot media' and cable news changed the world as we knew it, the Internet and rapid technology advances are changing at an absolutely unprecedented pace.

Last year, I did a couple of pieces on how Google was 'hyper-indexing' some blogs and websites.  That was, for all intents and purposes, a BIG deal.  Within seconds of a post here (when I was writing daily), it would be indexed by Google (as well as many, many other blogs and websites).

TechMeMe's bot was also indexing within minutes and there were other examples.

The landscape has changed again.

Where is it going?

Global log-ins, hyper-fast import and export from services such as Friendfeed, breaking news from 'citizens journalists' with Twitter and trends now monitored on services such as TwitScoop (lower right) and TweetMeme, plus the ultra-huge and still growing community we know as Facebook opening up for importing and exporting as well .... and in real-time.

Yes, the real-time web is here.  It takes 'hot media' and global communications to a whole new level.

Networks are connecting with each other.  Digg to Facebook.  57 services (You read that right) to Friendfeed. Thousands of apps being written for Twitter and hundreds of millions of users with access from Facebook.  There are MANY more examples including startups that many of us haven't even heard of yet.

Not only does this effect Internet Marketing in a huge way but it is, in fact, part of the 'worldwide economic shift' continuing. Media, whether it be TV, Radio, Newspapers etc. will never be the same.

More than ever, those marketing on the Internet (large and small) need to be tuned to everything that is happening.  They need to be engaged daily, or have advisors that are.

We've reached yet another turning point, and we, as an industry, need to continue not only using the tools, our past knowledge and our relationships .... but we need to be testing different vehicles.

Why the headline?  The Internet Marketing space is now what I'll call 'hyper-dynamic'.  While subscribing and absorbing published information is still healthy and useful, it's a 50 / 50 proposition at this juncture.  In-person networking at the analysts' seminars is probably a lot more important for most.

As I write this piece and keep an eye on the marketing vehicles being used by a variety of Fortune 500 companies, I can say, in my humble opinion, that about 20 per cent of them 'get it'.

As the economies of the world begin to turn around, there's no doubt, that if they stay 'tuned and flexible', they'll win.

Good Weekend my friends, and,
Take a few moments to thank a vet or someone in the military on Monday...

Update:  It appears 'hyper-indexing' by Google is alive and well :)
staff edit 5/23/2009 10 PM ET

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Microsoft refreshes AdCenter for Spring

Late yesterday, Microsoft launched their Spring Upgrade for ad buyers as well as a feature guide for those using the Microsoft / MSN / ad platform (and it's content network).

New additions include more control over ad distribution, time-saving shortcuts, and additional control over targeting and bidding.

The AdCenter post (which includes an extensive PDF with more information) can be found here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Google moving to new Adwords Console

Google Adwords PPC (pay per click) buyers began receiving notices by e-mail that effective in 30 days,  the online Adwords interface will be migrated to the new 'look', which is currently in Beta.

As mentioned here, I have been using the newer console since it's introduction.

On the surface, it appears Google is simplifying many of their online offerings including Adwords, to make it easier for the 'non-tech' audience.

Google might want to be looking for a little feedback on the timing of this transition.

It's likely that many existing users could get caught off guard.  (This happened to tens of thousands of  disgruntled users a few years back, when Yahoo! moved to their Panama platform ..... leaving many wandering to re-group).

Google's Adwords change is generally positive, not as dramatic as what Yahoo! did, and does make the program easier to manage while offering numerous 'quick' features.

Google has also been selectively previewing a new look at Google Webmaster Tools (formerly Google Webmaster Central).

It appears currently that on or about June 15, the new Adwords online inferface will become the default.

If you haven't received the e-mail or tested the beta, the time to get used to it is NOW.

Update:  A preview of the new adwords console for those that wish to check it out outside of Adwords can be found here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Google News gets a new look

Now confirmed on the Google News Blog, Google News is now sporting a new look and new features.

On the heels of an announcement just a few days ago of a new story landing page, Google news is now integrating YouTube videos, a touch of color around the various topic links, and a variety of new section pages.

The new pages make full use of newer 'wide page' formats by including videos and images for top stories on the right side.

The message, with somewhat subtle announcements from a variety of Google product managers over the past month, seems clear.

Google is working closer with partners. They're working hard to keep their audience at any at all level,s while linking and localizing many offerings not only to improve the user experience, but also with a keen eye on getting as many users as possible to log-in.

'Everyday' Internet users have seen this recently with improvements in products such as iGoogle. The tech community has seen Blogger integrated with Reader (at log-in), and more recently, Adsense publishers being offered Google Analytics. There are a slew of other examples not exclusive of a host of new gadgets for Google's Friend Connect.

The roll-out of the latest version of Google News appears to be completed worldwide and you can check it out here.

staff edit May 15, 2009 12:15 AM ET

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SEO implications of the 'New Google'

You would have to have been living in a tech tunnel today to miss the news from Google. 

Searchology and the new features available in the Google Main Index not only hit thousands of blogs but is already hitting the mainstream media.  (Miss it? ... pick your favorite publication at TechMeMe here).

What was missed in the broader coverage was the all-new keyword implications for SEO and PPC.

Another 'gift' for marketers from Google?

I use A LOT of excellent (well-known and not-so-well-known) tools to determine keywords ... in addition to my own 'user' testing (which in many cases, I've found to be the most effective).

Earlier today, I took a spin at the new Google WonderWheel.



While these related searches have been on Google for some time, a few really stood out for me.  In fact, some should have been outright obvious.

NONE of the tools delivered them (including Google's own keyword tools).

Looking for relevant anchor text or new PPC keywords?  Think you have them all covered?

Take the Google WonderWheel for a little spin ... before your competitors do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twitter: Small Up-Settings Update? (Updated!)

In a blog post a short time ago on the Twitter Blog, Biz Stone noted a new 'Small Settings Update'.

Jesse Stay, who at times, been a critic of the rapidly-rocketing microblogging service, was quick to launch a blog post saying that 'Twitter has essentially killed #followfriday (a popular hashtag used by people to promote friends and other users to their own 'followers').

Others took Twitter's blog post the way I did. It's extremely vague and needs to be clarified.

While I don't agree entirely the post by Louis Gray that Jesse points to, I certainly understand why he feels the way he does. As a principle in SocialToo (which uses the Twitter API), any sudden change could effect the way his product works.

Many others have expressed these concerns from the new world of 'Twitter Consultants' to some in the very large (and growing) community of Twitter API users.

While Twitter should provide a little notice of significant changes, it's important to recognize ....

1) Twitter is privately held and should be able to make any changes they deem important or necessary at any time within their published terms of service. A little notice would be nice but if 'Twitter wants the service to be used in a certain way', that is certainly their call.

Ultimately, it's their decisions that will determine the future of the product.

2) NUMEROUS new products have been introduced into to the marketplace recently to 'game' Twitter. Some automatically post hidden advertising links. Some even create completely unattended Twitter streams for the sole purpose of gathering followers for future use or link profit.

Twitter needs to protect the integrity of what they're trying to do, especially now that it's been embraced by the mainstream media and continues to be. The buzz continues to be HUGE.

For me, the 2000 limit is a much more serious issue. Not personally, but because it prevents legitimate users from getting what they want from the service. Is 2000 enough to follow every Tech or SEO post?

Did Twitter really kill #followfriday? The stream that Jesse Stay on Friendfeed can be found on here. Chime in.

As for me ... I'm waiting for some clarification from Twitter as to what this is ... and why.

Update: May 13, 2009 12:50 ET - Wandering around the blogosphere for a little while, apparently this Twitter change is causing a little outrage.  One example is Leslie Poston's feed here.

Update 2:  I guess it was inevitable.  The backlash can now be followed on Twitter at hashtag #fixreplies .... and it's growing at this hour!

Update 3: 5/13/09 PM  The Twitter blog now reflects a clarification and 'plan', as posted by co-founder Biz Stone here.

Friday, May 8, 2009 goes viral and I'm lovin' it

Those of you that take a moment here or there to read this blog (or subscribe to the new RSS feed address) know that among other endeavors, I've taken a small advisory role with Home Energy Resource LLC (Energy Circle).

It wasn't born out simply of my ongoing friendship with Peter Troast and his wife ... but the people involved in this start-up are smart .... really smart.

They're also imparting some excellent money saving content each day (both in the blogs and videos) that can help ANYONE cut their utility bills pretty dramatically.

A few weeks ago, prior to Earth Day, I was chatting with the co-founder Peter Troast and he was telling me about this idea to 'stream' his home's energy use on the Internet (real-time), annotated on Twitter.

My reaction? "Bad idea .... I really can't see this going anywhere".

I kinda pride myself on what works and what doesn't and have a pretty decent track record.

Little did I know of the rather HUGE 'Green' community on Twitter, many of whom are now following me? Hey I'm a marketing guy. What's goin' on here?

In fact it was a little more than viral. It was more like a Twitter earthquake !

Luckily, Peter didn't listen to me.

I'm the first to admit I'm not always right. Nobody is.

Earth Day came and so did ... ugh ... BoingBoing, RWW, TreeHugger, WCSH TV, Current, Lighter Footstep, CleanTechnica, EcoSalon, GreenandCleanMom, BackPacker Magazine, the New England Cable Network, WMTW-TV, and no less than 10 or 20 more print, radio, TV and lots of Internet articles.

From an SEO standpoint ... 'inbound link heaven' (while being 100% White Hat!)

You can be the greatest SEO / PR / PPC person in the universe but it's important to listen, experiment and take a few chances.

Keep an eye on these guys. You don't have to be a 'green enthusiast' (although you should be).

Why waste money ... and that precious commodity known to us all as energy? It worked for me.

 Just sharing a little 'rush' I got on Earth Day :)

Great Weekend All

The Sun still rises on OpenOffice

Earlier today, the 'Free and Open Productivity Suite', OpenOffice, released the latest version OpenOffice 3.1.

New in this release: Improved screen appearance, improved file locking, overlining, grammar checking (they did this for me? :), better localization as well as numerous additions to the suite's programs including Writer, Calc, Chart, Impress, Base.

The OpenOffice initiative has been funded for the most part by Sun Microsystems and there had been some concern from the community that the company's recent acquisition by Oracle might affect the project funding.

It appears that, at least for now, so far so good.

Note: If you don't have Java running on your system, OpenOffice will install the latest Java machine for your operating system.

The location / language-specific versions of OpenOffice 3.1 that are currently available (Windows, Linux and others) can be found at the project's download page here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Before you kick the tires on Windows 7

Next to the introduction of Internet Explorer (way back when :), Microsoft's latest 'giveaway' of the Beta and now RC versions of Windows 7 can probably be seen as one of the smartest moves by the company in a long time.

I've been using a dedicated laptop to test the beta and updated to the RC release last week.

Some FACTS that you may have missed and/or that should know before taking the plunge:

1) This is pre-release software.  Despite rave reviews for the most part, check your system resources before attempting it.  In fact, it might be a good idea ...ugh ... to read the instructions?!  While relatively current machines with up-to-date bios flashes 'should' handle it with ease, you never know.

2) The Beta officially expires August 1st, 2009 but expect funny stuff before that (Bi-hourly shutdowns begin July 1st).  So if you're using the Beta ... go grab the RC.  From my experience (also highly recommended by Microsoft), do a clean install.  It just works.  The RC expires June 1, 2010 and shutdowns won't start until March 1, 2010.

3) The RC has numerous changes and improvements since the beta release, including improved boot performance, FAT32 support, and User Account Control (UAC) design changes.  There's a lot more.
(I like the new backgrounds ... resolution and depth are really incredible.  The tech stuff is cool too :)
Here's a few links:
The Windows 7 video
Application quality cookbook
Tips and Tricks

4) The Windows 7 RC was designed to work with the Windows Server 2008 R2 which, if you wish to add it, you can find here.

5) Check Windows Update often.  New pre-release Windows 7 specific drivers are now making their way into the library and will be delivered via Windows Update.

6) Finally, about that XP emulation mode that so many blogs have talked about.  Most importantly, I haven't needed it for ANY of the XP apps that I use so far.  If you do decide to get it (here), you should be aware that your CPU must have virtualization capabilities and your bios must be able to turn them on.  If not, it won't work. I keep it OFF by default.  Virtualization is cool but Win 7 flies here all by itself.

That's the important stuff in case you missed it elsewhere.

Here's a few more links for those pondering the download:
The Team Blog
The Forums
Release Notes
TechNet Windows 7 Roadmap (no membership needed to access)

Have fun and remember ... Don't wade to far out in the surf if you don't know what you're doing.  If you do, by all means, report 'stuff' to the team.  That'll just help everybody.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Google's Knol - SEO link heaven

Like many of us, I've been watching the progress of Google's Knol project for some time.

Knol has evolved and while there are still plenty of  "I'll pass" articles posted, viewers can now vote and also comment, bringing the best pieces to the top.

New features have made it easier to sort out the 'article spammers'.

In a previous post, I promised more free SEO resources right here.

That was made easier earlier this week with a little discovery.

Check out this HUGE list of Free SEO tools and resources in the SEO Knol Group.  Many are outright excellent.

Sidenote:  I was chatting with a so-called (new) 'SEO expert' a few days ago.  He commented that he doesn't use Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo SiteExplorer, or Microsoft's Live Webmaster Center.

Just one question.

Why not?

Caveat emptor my friends ....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Microsoft on Windows 7 - No Rush

Last week the first official downloads of the Windows 7 Release Candidate were made available to Microsoft TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

Despite being limited to those two audiences initially, at times, it was difficult to reach the download websites due to the sheer volume of people looking to take the new Windows 7 RC for a test drive.

Yesterday came more good news for Beta testers from Redmond.

As expected, the public release of the Windows 7 RC will be on May 5 but it is VERY likely there will be 'long lines at the checkout counter' on that day with potential slow downloads for new testers (or upgrading beta testers).

In an e-mail to Beta testers and others over the weekend, Microsoft has confirmed that official copies of the Windows 7 Release Candidate will be available for download to the general public "at least until June 30, 2009".

The now official word on installation:
"IMPORTANT: If you are running Windows 7 Beta you’ll need to back up your data (preferably on an external device) and then do a clean install of the Windows 7 Release Candidate".

Finally, a reader dropped us an e-mail yesterday noting a new Windows 7 URL.  You guessed it. has been purchased by Microsoft and re-directs to the Windows 7 home page.

Great weekend all

Update 5/5/2009 :  Public downloads of Window 7 RC began last night and most are reporting reasonable download speeds at this time (highly dependent on location).  If you are planning an unattended download, be sure and check your power settings in XP, Vista or Windows 7 Beta.  The download will not stop your computer from going into hybernation or shutting down automatically.

Details on changes in the RC can now be found at the Windows website here.

Update 5/6/2009 : Most are reporting no problems with the download servers as of today.  In addition, those that are using it are commenting that for the most part a clean install on a machine that meets the system resources are just requiring 1 or 2 driver downloads.  My own take ... The new themes are AWESOME!
More on the Windows 7 release candidate later in the week.  (I'm still a PC :)