Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Internet Marketing

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Internet marketing means different things to different people. I like to use my own simple definition: the purpose of Internet marketing is to increase brand exposure and drive traffic to a given web property. Wikipedia takes on a different angle and defines Internet marketing as “the use of the Internet to advertise and sell goods and services”. I’m not sure I agree with this, but there is one thing I think we can all agree on. There isn’t ONE way to market or sell a service online. A comprehensive, well-planned campaign is necessary for success.

Why do I say that?

Well, as an Internet marketing & strategy consultant, I come across clients who want to specifically leverage one type of Internet marketing vehicle to promote their site. Whether it be SEO, pay-per-click, or e-mail marketing, the client is set on one method and their vision is narrow. Surprisingly enough to them, the strategy they are set on using is not always the best choice. Furthermore, a true campaign encompasses different strategies.

At the end of the day, increasing brand exposure and driving qualified traffic are the main goals. It doesn’t matter how this is accomplished. SEO, link building, affiliate marketing, e-mail campaigns, PPC, and advertising are all great, but the goals and milestones of the company must be outlined. From there, an online strategy can be set forth.

Add to that the fact that some techniques, such as link building, have two-fold effects. Not only does link building provide much needed SEO juice, but it also drives direct traffic via the link itself. Killing two birds with one stone is always a plus.

Companies and clients alike need to be open-minded when it comes to marketing on the web. There isn’t a single solution. Innovation, creativity, a well-developed plan, and solid execution are the key points to a successful campaign online.

Web 2.0 Start-Up Roundup

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

I would like to profile a few interesting web 2.0 start-ups I have come across over the past month or so (in no particular order):

ZipLocal (

ZipLocal is a new hyper-local search directory, focused initially on the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal with future plans to expand to 45 metropolitan markets across Canada. The service aims to be a user-powered next-generation local directory that will provide a rich, self-defined experience. Essentially, the site provides directory-based listings, plus rich community-level search. The data itself is being pulled from existing directory databases. Expect new features, such as tagging, to be added in the coming months.

CrispyBlogPosts (

CrispyBlogPosts is essentially a social bookmarking site strictly for blog posts. The site allows you to share, rate and discover the best blog posts on the net. You can also submit a blog post, create a new channel, and view popular content. Kudos for the clean, slick interface.


VBS TV is a new broadband television network (IPTV), creatively directed by Spike Jonze. The site streams free VICE-produced content that is updated daily. The service claims to use an advanced video player technology to optimize the viewing experience. Content covered on the site ranges from heavy domestic and international news, to underground cultural coverage, to music, and more. All content is available on-demand and enabled for sharing and embedding.

AutoRoll (

AutoRoll is a widget that showcases the blogroll of your readers. In essence, it displays links to blogs your readers are visiting the most often. The service traces the number of visits of each unique reader on each blog that has installed AutoRoll. The more often a reader visits a specific blog, the greater his affinity is with this blog. The benefit to the publisher is highly qualified incoming traffic from other blogs, as well as a useful, pertinent blogroll. 

SeekSift (

SeekSift is a simple way to personalize and track syndicated web content. The service only tracks up-to-date information on local events, travel deals, job listings, and your blogs (to name a few). Content can be accessed via an RSS, e-mail, or both. The service is free.

Clipperz (

Clipperz is an easy way to store and manage your passwords and credentials online. But it is more than a password manager. Not only does it simplify the sign-in process across numerous sites by remembering your user names and passwords, but it also protects confidential and private information. The service is free and completely anonymous (no e-mail is required).

Widget Fever

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

WidgetsI love ranting about things that don’t make sense to me. Having said that, I think we (the blogosphere) need to take a serious look at widgets…

It seems that new start-ups are popping up on a day-to-day basis with what they think will be the next ‘killer widget’. Hopes for an outcome like that of MyBlogLog are slim. MyBlogLog had a simple concept, pinpoint execution, rapid adoption, and good timing (sale to Yahoo). This was definitely a special case.

Anyone and their dog can create a widget, but getting people to use it is another story. Furthermore, the value and function of the widget needs to be congruent with the purpose of a widget itself. If the fit is not there, failure is inevitable.

From an alternative point-of-view, the pro’s of a successful widget are immense. Obviously, they are a great way to drive viral adoption among other things. Please read my post entitled Widget Marketing for further in-depth information about the advantages and disadvantages of widgets. In essence though, the widget MUST be useful. It seems rather straightforward, but many are more focused on simply creating a widget rather than making it useful and relevant.

One of the biggest problem to have arisen is a focus away from the site content in favour of the widget. This is not the optimal outcome for most site owners. Moreover, these embeddable devils slow down page loading times. For this very reason, I have removed several widgets from this blog, most notably a chat widget.

Now I’m definitely not condemning widgets as I see their place in the blogosphere and the new web. What I am condemning is the misuse of a widget as a marketing strategy or business model altogether. There must be a stunning value proposition for both the reader/visitor/user, as well as the site author for the widget to be successful. If ambiguity is present and value cannot be presented in a logical manner, it is probably time to adopt a new strategy.

Tracking Your Comments

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Conversation BubbleIf you’re like me, you always seem to have an opinion on everything. For this very reason, I love comments. Every so often I read a blog post that either stimulates my brain in an unexpected fashion or angers me to no end. At this point, I feel a need to express myself to the author and/or other readers. Others experience the same feeling. Hence the need for comments.

But there is a fundamental problem with the system. Comments are extremely hard to track on the net. You can either bookmark the page or try to remember the given post. But how hard is that? Nearly impossible. But yet, you want to know if the author responds to your reply… or better yet, another reader has something to add to the ongoing discussion. Once again, if you’re like me, you’re dropping comments all over the net, like Fat Albert drops bombs at a chili-eating contest. Errr… something like that.

Let’s try another example: if you were to randomly hand out a couple hundred business cards at a conference, then try to remember who you gave them to, I would wager that it would be difficult to say the least. And now for the informercial…

Comments were hard to track UNTIL now!

Ambitious entrepreneurs saw the need for a tool could that could help blog readers keep track of their comments. From this vision, several start-ups were born - the most notable being CoComment, Commentful, and co.mments.

These sites allow a user to sign in and quickly and easily view all current discussions and commenting activity in one place. No need to surf to all the given blog posts anymore. An aggregate area facilitates the process.Very cool, very easy. In most cases, tracking a comment thread requires nothing more than a single click, or perhaps just simply submitting the comment.

The three main services listed above also provide various other features such as tagging, sharing, and exploring the community. But at the end of the day, they all assume the role of a simple, comment-tracking tool.

I personally use CoComment as it came recommended by a colleague, although I’d imagine the other two aforementioned services will get the job done as well.

If you comment a lot, these tools will be your saviour. No more scavenger hunts… 

The Open ID Dilemma

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

OpenID logoVery recently, open IDs seem to be the hot topic. As the new web evolves and the Internet becomes more decentralized and democratized, such a system was inevitable. It has simply taken longer than many experts predicted. In any case, it is starting to make a strong case, as Internet giants AOL and Yahoo are implementing the framework.

Once again, this may be a great time to tap the old user-edited encyclopedia for a definition. Wikipedia defines OpenID as “a decentralized system to verify one’s online identity”. A pretty simple definition for a fairly complicated system and concept.

Popular sites that have integrated the system include LiveJournal, Zooomr, Wikitravel, and Jyte.

All is fine and dandy right? Not quite. With every new successful trend or system, there is a downside. Cyber-criminals and malicious Internet users are just salivating at the future possibilities.

If only one log-in and password is needed for all sites, access is not only easy for the user, but also for the criminal should he/she be able to attain such information. Immediately, the thief would have access to all sites which use the OpenID format. The potential consequences for the user are astronomical. Credit card numbers, personal information, bank records, and other information-sensitive documents could quicky and easily be stolen and leveraged in mischievous ways.

In the current state of the net, users acquire different user names and passwords for each individual social network, photo/video site, e-mail account, etc… Although this is more complicated and time-intensive, it hedges the user’s bets should a criminal acquire the leaked log-in information and credentials.

I don’t believe I need to go into fine or further details about the potential wrong-doings and mishaps that could arise if the informatin reaches the wrong hands. The point is simple though. The easier and more functional across different platforms for the user, the same goes for the criminal. The biggest strength of the system is also its ultimate demise. Protective barriers and safeguards will need to be implemented on some level to prevent an information crisis. How this will be accomplished is beyond me. But I’m no security expert.

The official site can be found at To learn more about the specifics and details of open IDs, read this Wikipedia article.