Archives for January 2012

#SOPA – Sharing is not Piracy

What is SOPA?

© is the copyright symbol in a copyright notice

Image via Wikipedia

Nobody would deny that the Internet is a wonderful resource, whether it’s for information, entertainment or communication. But in recent years, most specifically, film and music companies as well as the actors/actresses and musicians themselves have been faced with decreasing sales largely down to illegal downloads and piracy.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill (proposed law) that was introduced into America last October. In recent news, a university student from Great Britain is facing possible extradition to the USA on charges of breaching American copyright laws by providing external links to illegal film and television downloads, therefore bringing the term SOPA into light.

The main ‘point’ of this bill is to prevent or, if it comes to it, bring to justice those who have enabled access to and provided pirated and illegal online content that infringes copyright law. SOPA applies to downloads, streaming (a term which refers to the deliverance of live audio/visual playing where no data is downloaded onto the computer in use) and to any copyrighted ‘intellectual property’ (anything designed or created by a person or persons, from music and film to inventions and theories) and ‘counterfeit goods’ (imitation consumer products).

But there are opponents to this bill. Some industry experts believe that censoring all access to all of the above could permanently damage the overall online community. Social media especially (Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc) are all largely based on the sharing of ideas, attitudes and freedom of speech which could potentially breach SOPA legislation.

On a much more fearful level, opponents believe that should SOPA become a law, that it will start an international censorship of the web, such as what we already see in China and other Asian countries where there is highly restricted access to Internet content. Many high profile websites have declared their opposition to SOPA, including Amazon, Yahoo, Paypal and AOL, with some of these and other websites committed to demonstrating against such a law through an ‘online blackout’ on January 18th 2012.

Some say that SOPA is nothing to worry about – I’d say we should be very worried.

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Charities and not for profits – could you be eligible for a Google Grant?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Using their power for good, Google has launched a campaign aimed at raising the awareness of charities. Using their own Google AdWords programme, this grant entitles selected not-for-profit organisations to have free advertising alongside the usual relevant organic search results.

In the past, these ‘pay-per-click’ – or PPC – adverts have been restricted to companies with a larger marketing budget whilst charities lose out on both exposure and potential subsequent donations. But with this Google Grants campaign, charities are entitled up to $10,000 worth of free AdWords advertising per month that can not only enhance awareness, but also encourage potential volunteers to step forward who are just as valuable as monetary donations.

How Google AdWords work is really very simple. A company (or in this case, a charity) selects certain keywords and phrases their potential audience is likely to search for in Google. Then, when a Google user searches, for example, ‘cancer treatment’, an ad for a relevant charity such as Cancer Research will appear in a prominent position next to the organic search results. This means that the charity only reaches targeted and relevant audiences who are likely to be interested in the organisation.

These keywords and phrases can be changed at any time to reflect both on- going and temporary campaigns running via their charity’s website. Words cannot, however, be used if they do not reflect the charity’s primary focus or links that don’t lead to their own website. Other than that, the charity has free reign to choose and change their most important and useful keywords to attract Google users.

As well as other criteria, Google also offer Grantspro which is basically Google Grants for advanced charities that regularly reach their $10,000 monthly cap. If this figure is consistently reached and the charity abides by a couple of other qualifying terms, their AdWords monthly budget can be extended up to $40,000, sky-rocketing the charity’s online presence and potential donations and volunteer pool.

Applications are constantly being accepted by Google, so get in touch today to see how your charity or not-for-profit organisation could benefit from their Google Grants scheme.

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Struggling with Business Blogging in 2012? Fancy a chat with me?

Info from the English WP http://en.wikipedia.o...

Image via Wikipedia

 

I was talking to someone at a networking meeting the other day, and we both agreed that 2012 looks set to be THE year that small businesses really start to understand the value of blogging for business. While many companies ‘dipped their toe in the water’ in 2010 and 2011, the increase in publicity surrounding business blogging is sure to encourage more small businesses to give it a go.

But it can be a bit of a minefield can’t it?

  • How to setup a blog
  • What platform to use
  • What to blog about
  • Is guestblogging worth it?
  • How to encourage interaction
  • Writing blogs that encourage sales, but aren’t too ‘sales-y’

And that’s just things I’ve heard recently!

So I’m offering small businesses a great chance to kickstart their blogging this year, and it starts off FREE!

 

Free?

Yep, free.

I’m offering 5 lucky small businesses the chance to trial my new small business blogging mentoring for ten days for absolutely nothing.

 

What’s in the Small Business Blogging Mentoring Package Nikki?

Glad you asked 😉

I’ll help you with every aspect of blogging, mentoring, giving ideas, helping out with issues, and helping you get valuable promotion and traffic in a number of ways:

  • 1 40 minute phone call a month to talk through ideas, issues, give tips, hints, guidance and more
  • After each call, a follow up email with the points we’ve discussed, and any further thoughts I’ve had
  • A recording of each call so that you can listen back at your leisure
  • Email support until the next call, to help with any queries you have
  • Ad hoc emails from me giving extra advice and ideas as I think about them during the month
In short, a pretty bespoke mentoring service aimed squarely at your business blog.
In February I’ll be launching a member’s only blogging forum, and you’ll get free access to that too.

What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. This is how it works.

  1. You sign up to my small blogging mentoring service at a special price of £60 per month
  2. This is set up so that you don’t pay ANYTHING for 10 days.
  3. Before that 10 days is up, we’ll do your first call; for free
  4. And you’ll get your follow up email and recording: for free
  5. If you’re not happy, or decide it’s not for you, simply cancel your subscription before payment is due.
  6. If you are happy, simply carry on as normal, your paid subscription will start and we’ll book your next call

You’re just doing this in the hope we’ll forget to cancel and have to carry on, aren’t you?

Nope. I’m doing it this way to ensure that the people who sign up for it are serious. If I just offered free calls without the subscription system I’d have to spend half of my time chasing people to sign up afterwards, which in turn means I have to make the service more expensive.

There really is no catch – if you want to cancel after our first call, you can. If (as i hope) you want to carry on, this system makes it seamless for both of us.

 

OK so what do I have to do?

Use the Paypal subscription button below to subscribe (you can cancel at any time, there’s no minimum subscription fee) and you’ll see it will tell you your payment will be taken in 10 days.

I will email you to determine a good time for the call and we’ll go from there – it’s that simple!

Questions? Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com or grab me on Twitter @nikkipilkington

Remember, only 5 places available to start with, so book in soon!

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

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Google – Monopoly or Market Leader?

A guest post by Chris ‘Kip’ Carrier

Nederlands: Anti-Monopoly bordspel

Google, The PowerhouseWith Google dominating the tech news this week, we are going to look at the how, the why and the what will be.

OK, so we all know who or what Google is, they have dominated the search engine market for many years now, a natural monopoly (ie, people flood to them by choice, not by force) that like to help where they can. The city of their head office enjoys completely free wifi, they help charities etc etc. They are the good guys, right?

The Cry Babies – Twitter and Facebook

Twitter are publicly calling out Google, saying they are monopolising with the integration of Google Plus to Google Search, did people really not see this coming? I have been ranting and advising people for 6 months they need to be using G+, as there is a wind of change like no other.

Twitter should be scared of everyone, they have not done anything in the last few years, if I were an investor, I would have sold up a long time ago. A new facelift, new design, nothing else, at least Google evolve, update, improve and in my personal opinion, make the internet better!

Twitter is in panic mode, because Google Plus is the fastest growing Social Network, EVER. Some people pointed and laughed when it came out, not me.

They brought out Panda, this wiped out thousands of black hat SEO people overnight, you could hear the cheer go up from website owners and designers that do things properly, watching the harvesters of copy shrink back to the 3rd and 4th pages of Google searches (seriously, who looks at anything after page 1 or even 2?) and well written, unique websites started climbing up to where they belong!

Facebook, ahh, everybody loves FB, right? Nope, it was all there was, this is why people used it so much. The changes everybody has seen recently were a direct result of Google Plus, the FB boys are now updating it and improving it as fast as they can (unlike the Twitter team), because now they have some serious competition, competition that can affect search results, unlike Facebook!

Google and Google+, The Future

So, on Google plus, people truly interact, I have met more people on there than I have with 2-3 years of hammering Twitter and Facebook, people interact, share posts and opinions, laugh, cry and diversify (poetry!). I love it, I am even using it to interview some major players in British industry this year (such as Will King and a couple of others), thanks to Hangouts!

Anyway, you understand, I like Google+, it is no secret, so what of the future of Google?

Google has changed dramatically in the last 12 months, you may not see it, but they have, the social inclusion has been a tremendous shift in how their algorithms work, they have been busy acquiring technology to improve and modernise the way that you get results. Search will always be the same, you pop in what you want and press enter (or reach for the mouse and click search), but the way in which Google finds what you are looking for and the way it delivers it, major change!

Yesterday, Google dropped Google Plus into the normal search (I told you so, months ago), this is fantastic news, we are witness to the the internet evolving yet again, this is not a monopoly, the fact that Facebook and Twitter banished the Big G, means that they cannot offer their search results, just Google +’s! You can search for personal or standard, or both!

You can exclude certain websites showing up in searches, you can give kudos (+1) to websites in the results, you can search just your social network, friends, family and co-workers!

I think it is a thing of beauty.

What’s Next for Google

Image Reading: We know that there are apps and websites that can read text from images, this is old news, so watch out for this becoming the norm in searches too.

eCommerce stock levels: This one really excites me! Google will be checking your stock levels on products, so if I search for the Kipidget 2000 and you have no stock, you will not appear with the shops that do have it in stock!

Hours of business: Have you set up your hours of business on your Google map listing, G+ business page? Imagine searching for a Launderette at 7pm, the ones that set their hours to 9-5pm will not show high up either. This is great for people that do not cap their work hours each day! (Me, I am open 24-7!)

Mobile Websites: Oh this is the big one, marketing companies have been pitching separate mobile websites for over a year now, yet this produces duplicate content, something Google frowns upon. With “Responsive” eshops and websites, you now only need one site, that works on all platforms (tablets, phones, desktops and laptops).

In conclusion:

Google is evolving, are you?

Chris “Kip” Carrier is a web & graphic designer, primarily WordPress, with a passion for Social Media Marketing and iMacs. You can find him at Kip FX Design

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The Phases Of Adapting To Social Media Changes

A guest post by Henry Fitzgerald

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Twitter has changed its layout.

If I’ve learned anything at all from social media, it’s this: Every time Facebook changes anything, no matter how minute, people will complain.

While everyone champions the phrase, change is good, the moment it actually comes into contact with our News Feeds, we’re ready to revolt against the highest of all social media executives.

We feel violated, under-appreciated, wronged. For at least two days, the new features are all anyone will talk about. But soon enough, we forget all about it. And it’s like it never happened.

And now, with Twitter jumping on the bandwagon of changes — enough is enough.

It’s time to get over it.

We can’t do anything about the changes, but we can change the way we react. Check out this guideline of social media changes, and how you or your small business can navigate the unpredictable waters of the web without drowning in a Sea of Angry.

Phase 1: Anger and Complaints

This phase usually begins by Facebook adding a 3-centimeter tool bar to the bottom of the page. People will first post a status update asking if anyone else sees the same thing. With their suspicions confirmed, they will then begin complaining about how those 3-centimeters cut into their News Feed. They’ll say they don’t use those tools anyway. They will become angry.

This phase is useless. Your endless anger and complaining is only hurting you and the life of your laptop battery. While it’s difficult to avoid complaining, please realize that it in the end, it’s worth nothing. Scoff gently at those who spend three days griping about the toolbar, and move on.

Phase 2: The Boycott

This phase is also useless. After the toolbar fiasco, people will make claims that they have no intention of acting upon. Claims, for instance, like “I’m not getting back on Facebook until they move that stupid toolbar” or “I hate Facebook anyway. I’m deleting my page!”

The boycott phase is short, usually only a few hours. Don’t waste your time with making these vacuous promises, and proceed to phrase three.

Phase 3: Reluctant Acceptance

Here is a good place to start. When social media changes, just roll with it. Twitter’s changes are going to be huge. For some, the new layout has already been rolled out. Facebook’s new timeline feature is going to be huge too, rolling out at different times for everyone. If small changes set people off, imagining what this huge restructure will cause conjures up visions of riots or a Cyber World War. Some will post links about pressing the right buttons to get your page to revert to the old settings or how posting the comment on 16 friends’ walls and then restarting will bring it back. It’s not coming back. It’s not going to work. Just move forward.

Everyone will get to the acceptance phase sooner or later, so you may as well beat everyone to it. Making the new changes work for your small business will keep you ahead of the curve. While it can be tempting to sit around and wish for things to go back to normal, your time is better spent diving right into the changes.

Phase 4: “What Did It Used To Look Like?”

This phase is where we live in between changes. After griping for a few days, we soon come to realize we have no idea what the old layout used to look like. Do you remember what Facebook looked like last year? Or even last month? It changes so much that we can’t keep up.

Typically, these changes are done to make the experience easier, though it seems uncomfortable at first. Explore the updates and find ways to make it work for you. That is, before it changes again.

Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter: @hfitzy34

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Business Networking in Thanet, Kent? Come to 4N!

KentThanet

Image via Wikipedia

When I moved back to the UK from France, I moved to the Thanet area of Kent, an area I’d never lived in before, and a place full of people I didn’t know.

So my first business decision was to get back on the old networking horse and pop along to some meetings. BNI, 1230 Women, anda couple of other independent ones were all great, but 4N stood out for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s a structured meeting but still fun
  • It’s not restrictive so anyone can join
  • It’s just round the corner from my new house 🙂

A great breakfast, a round of 40 second introductions and 3 great 1-on-1 meetings every 2 weeks – I’ve found it  afantastic way to get to know businesses in Thanet, and start to get my face known offline as well as online.

There are a mix of businesses; the usual printers, web designers and accountants, but also a great handyman, a wedding supplies company, a recruitment coach and more! And of course, me!

So if you’re looking to network in the Thanet Kent area and don’t know where to start, why not pop along to the Smugglers Retreat as my guest – breakfast is only a tenner and it’s a very worthwhile way to spend part of your morning.

Give me a call on 01843 821118 or drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com if you’d like to know more, or book in as a visitor on the 4N website.

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