Archive for February, 2007

TutorLinker Links Tutors with Students

Friday, February 9th, 2007

With such a wild, outlandish domain, it’s makes you wonder how they came up with the name TutorLinker for a service that links tutors with students.

Californian college student Sol Eun and a friend built the mash-up to help tutors connect with students for free. Revenues are generated via Google AdSense and Paypal donations. Sol says:

“TutorLinker is a tool which helps you find a tutor in your area for your tutoring needs. It uses the Google Maps API to locate tutors in students’ neighborhood in other words, students can find local tutors by simply typing their address.”

Apparently, the site and service is designed as such because the location of tutors is an important factor in the decision-making process.

An added feature in the inclusion of a ’driving range’. No, not like at a golf course. When a user types in an address, the service automatically locates every nearby tutor and provides directions. In addition, driving distance is calculated and appears by simply hovering the mouse over the tutor’s icon.

Be sure to check out the service, if not for its actual use, then for its coolness as a mash-up.

PS. Find out about updates by reading the TutorLinker blog.

Driving Indirect, Unqualified Traffic

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Search engine optimization, natural linking, and trackbacks are good ways to drive free, qualified traffic. Visitors are usually genuinely interested in the content and may decide to add your blog to their RSS reader. This is great. But what if you want to drive even more traffic that may not be AS qualified, but has the potential to be interested in your content?

Huh? What does that mean? I’m talking about quantity rather quality. Obviously the aforementioned traffic streams will provide a consistent influx. But how do you drive extra, residual traffic?

After analyzing my web statistics on a regular basis, I’ve come to realize that MappingTheWeb drives a considerable amount of graphic via image searches. In other words, Google Image searches (most notably) provide visits.

Now although these visitors aren’t exactly qualified traffic, a small percentage will explore your content and find an interest in it. If bandwidth and hosting costs are not an issue, most blog owners would prefer as much traffic as possible - whether they become regular readers or not.

For this reason, I always tag my images very well. Providing a title and description in WordPress is quite easy. I do so for all uploaded images.

In most cases, I am uploading the logos of web 2.0 companies. These drive a fair amount of traffic, namely the YouTube logo. However, other graphics and pics squander some long-tail traffic, which adds up over time.

Therefore, a suggestion for blog owners who publish mostly text would be to add pictures, images, photos, and graphics. Describe them in detail. Check your incoming referrals and SEO stats. You should see some positive results.

The Online Poker Phenomenon

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Poker ChipsThe poker phenomenon has swept the world by storm over the past few years. Not only does it seem to be on TV at all hours of the day, but there are millions playing online around the clock.

Sites like PartyPoker, ParadisePoker, AbsolutePoker, and PokerStars have risen to mammoth proportions. With multi-million dollar revenues and high-volume traffic, it’s no wonder the space has become so competitive, lucrative, and cutthroat. You could say the stakes are high (lame joke).

Marketing has surpassed the point of being annoying and obtrusive. It has attained the status of other such historic mass-marketed SPAM offerings, namely porn, erectile dysfunction, and weight loss. SPAM, SPAM, SPAM… “Come play at our POKER site!”…

Aside from SPAM, these deep-pocketed outfits market their services via more traditional online tactics like SEO and affiliate/referral programs.

Search engine optimization provides the free, qualified leads, but gaining first or second page status on the competitive terms in next to impossible. Long-tail traffic can provide steady users, but not sustain a large company. Secondly, these online poker sites are paying huge referral fees for new sign-ups. Referees and affiliates can make serious cash referring players to the given sites. To top it off, the players also receive a bonus, as they are usually given cash to start or try out the service, i.e. $50 for example.

Another subtle marketing tactic employed is through TV, magazines, and old-world media. These gambling outfits are not allowed to market their ‘pay-sites’. To get around this, they market a free poker service at their .NET address, as opposed to the regular .COM (which is of course the pay service). This allows the sites to gain exposure without breaking the law. Obviously, the sites hope everyone move to the .COM site and begin to pay. People either accidentally type .COM and end up there, or head to .NET and get referred there.

The free sites offer tuorials and, obviously, free poker games. The goal is to get you hooked… then pay, of course.

There are many incentives for poker players though. Money is the obvious first one that comes to mind. But fame, TV exposure, women, fast cars, and endorsements also ensue from success. The poker world is like Las Vegas. Hell, it is Vegas.

It will be interesting to watch the huge legal problems the industry has been facing with national laws and regulations over online gambling. Different countries have different laws. This creates for a huge headache as the Internet is worldwide, and cross-border regulations are ambiguous at best. In the past year the US has cracked down on online gambling, forcing some establishments to set up shop elsewhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend continues in other countries.

Are Wikis Here To Stay?

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

In one word… definitely. In some form or another, wikis will be around for years to come.

I like to use the term ‘dynamic document’, instead of wiki. The latter is too entrenched in the over-hyped world of web 2.0 lingo. It should be retired to the world of beat-boxing, i.e. “Wiki, wiki, wiki…”. The term ‘dynamic document’ not only provides a better description of the concept, but also paints a vaster picture as to what wikis can be used for.

The concept of collaboration and user-contribution is relatively new. But live documents not only save time and effort, but prevent overlaps. Almost any written document or piece of media can be turned into ‘wiki’ form allowing for open user-collaboration.

Obviously, wikis have caught. Wikipedia is the prime example. However, others do exist. Google Docs provides the ability to collaborate and chat in real-time.

I truly believe that more and more companies will adapt this concept as the benefits become more apparent.

Clicky is Free, Real-Time Web Analytics

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Clicky logoI’ve been messing with a lot of web analytic programs recently. I’ve been disappointed with some, but surprised by others. Most notably, I’ve used Google Analytics, 103 bees, Enquisite, MyBlogLog, and my default web hosting stats. Then along came Clicky

I’m definitely not saying that this is the best web analytics tool ever made, but it’s a simple, effective solution to what many believe to be a complicated process. Clicky is essentially a free, real-time web analytics tool. Yes, it’s free and real-time.

Once logged in, there are 6 main pages. The default start page provides an overview of the past couple days or weeks. Subsequent secondary pages include “Visitors”, “Clicks”, “Links”,  “Searches”, and “Pages”. The interface is extremely clean, easy-to-use, and intuitive. Navigation is a breeze. I think this is the reason I like the system so much. Plus, set-up simply involves creating an account and pasting a piece of JavaScript code in yor HTML.

Obviously the system tracks the de facto numbers such as page views, uniques, and visits. But it has a few added features that may be of use:

  • An IP blocker can be used to mask internal site use.
  • Web statistic RSS feeds can be pulled.
  • Numerous sites can be monitored off the same dashboard.
  • The date, time, and target page of every click are displayed.

… just to name a few.

Like I say, try it out and see for yourself. It’s free and easy to implement.

Google Analytics seems to be the stand-out web statistic solution at this point. But Clicky is a small solution that is super easy-to-use and very useful. Enquisite, 103 bees, and MyBlogLog are all useful as well, but in their respective areas of strength.

I’ve also dabbled with AW Stats in the past. However, I have yet to try Mint, so don’t grill me on this just yet.