You Better Not Cry, Cyber Monday Is Coming to Town

Most holiday-crazed shoppers are familiar with the term “Black Friday.” But for those out-of-the-loop consumers, it’s the first Friday after Thanksgiving, and it marks the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Not as many people, however, are familiar with the altogether newer term “Cyber Monday.” While Black Friday demarcates the beginning of shopping in brick and mortar stores, Cyber Monday – the Monday following Black Friday – is an indication of when online shopping picks up for the season.

And whether you’re a shopper or the founder of an online business, here’s what to expect from Cyber Monday:
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Election Day ’08 – Pick Your Post and President

Around the nation, today is a very important day in politics. It’s also a landmark day in the history of our nation, as political, gender and racial barriers will be broken no matter what the outcome. Either the first woman Vice President or the first African-American president will be elected today, re-defining hundreds of years of American politics. It’s an exciting day for our country and a testament to the changes we’re undergoing as a young nation.

This election was very much an interactive, online affair. The amount of information and sheer volume of political commentary has eclipsed any news event in the brief history of the web. More people got their information from online sources than ever before, with MSNBC estimating 44% of us relied on these websites for our news, commentary and stats. This certainly highlights the profound ways the web has shaped many aspects of our culture and will continue to in the years to come.

In the spirit of today, iePlexus is running two different polls, or elections of our own. First, you can select which presidential candidate you voted for by participating in our poll (in the sidebar on the right). Second, we’d like to give our readers the opportunity to suggest future topics for posts. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered in our blog, leave a comment and we’ll take it into consideration.

Good luck to all the candidates today, and don’t forget to vote!

LinkedIn Isn’t Just ‘Pulling Your Chain’

The current job market sucks. Even the most educated and skilled workers are having a tough time finding work. The unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in five years and is expected to get even higher in the coming months.

In September, 6.1% of Americans were without jobs. This month the rate will likely top 7%. The forecast doesn’t get any better in 2009, when economists predict the rate to peak at over 10%.

Those out of work are frantic to find new employment, and those currently employed are preparing themselves for a time when they’re not so fortunate. At a time when many companies are cutting costs and axing jobs, “professional” networking sites, like LinkedIn, are cashing in.

LinkedIn, a social-networking website for the business community, has experienced a 25% increase in signups since the economy crashed late last summer. Since mid-September, the site has seen about 1 million new members every two weeks.
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Are you Afraid of the Digg?

If you thought witches and ghouls were the scariest thing you were going to encounter this Halloween, some established companies might see it a little bit differently. For them, the most terrifying prospect is…a social networking site.

But why would anyone be afraid of a little site like Digg or Facebook? The simple answer is control. Companies fear social networking sites because they can’t pick and choose what is said about the company through these kinds of outlets. But this hesitation to move viral (and relinquish this control) shouldn’t be too shocking. Think of all the time, money, and effort that are put into carefully creating any and all company marketing campaigns. Commercials are screened by test audiences before they ever make it on the air. Heads of the company have careful speech writers and PR pros coordinating all company information before it’s divulged to the public. And with social networking sites, companies move out of this controlled environment into the wild, untamed world of everyday human interaction.
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iePlexus Blog Contributors

We’ve had pretty consistent growth here at iePlexus, and with that growth we’ve been contributing to our blog more often, expanding our coverage and discussing a wider range of topics. Our goal is to create a valuable, objective industry resource with our blog, examining news on blogging, social media, Web 2.0, and everything in between. With so much material, it’s become necessary to bring on additional writers to help ensure we report on the major developments in an ever-changing market. Also, we wanted to get various points of view and opinions, from the tech-savvy to the typical user, so our audience is well represented. We hope our blog is a beneficial addition to your reading list and invite you to subscribe to our RSS feed. Here are our current blog contributors and a little about them…
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The Facebook ‘Relationship Status’ Symbol

It’s not real until it’s on Facebook. At least that’s the case for nearly four million daily users of the popular social networking site. When does dating become a relationship? And, after a breakup, when should you reveal your status as single to let others know you are available?

Facebook and MySpace have become part of our daily lives. If we’re not busy accepting friends requests, we’re making them, and if we’re not doing that we’re uploading new photos and videos to show others. We may check our FB accounts 5-10 times a day, even while we’re at work. Most bosses won’t even notice because they’re busy checking their own.
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Blogging Killed the Newspaper Star

In 1979, the Buggles informed the world that video killed the radio star. Now, the question facing our generation is whether blogging will kill the newspaper star. As the catchy pop song taught us, the golden age of technology past is inevitably swept away for the glitz and glamour of the new.

In terms of print newspapers, this is beginning to ring eerily true. Even some of the most established newspaper conglomerates aren’t immune to the effects of online news sources. The New York Times, for example, has experienced a series of layoffs, increased prices at the newsstand, decreased readership, and stock market woes.
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Blog Marketing for Business

I’ve talked before about the incredible adaption and utilization of blogs in the business world. From Fortune 500 companies and corporations to small businesses just starting out, blogs have made the business world stand up and take notice. In June of this year, I wrote about the BusinessWeek article that followed up on the original groundbreaking story that introduced much of the business world to blogs back in 2005. Business Blogs and Beyond talked about the significant changes in the marketing landscape, and how social media, blogs and other forms of Web 2.0 marketing have opened up the doors to advertising on all fronts, harnessing the ability to connect with customers on levels that were never before possible.

The articles and accolades for marketing with business blogs haven’t stopped. Instead, blogs have become the #1 necessity for business owners looking for affordable, effective marketing that can deliver even in a questionable economy. Recently, Entrepreneur Magazine published an article about getting your business noticed at a minimal cost. Their #1 suggestion was blogs. From the article: “Set up a blog … and begin writing interesting commentary that relates to your business, says Hager. To drive traffic, comment on other topic-related blogs and include links back to your own blog.” Further down the list, they mention “Exploiting the Web” as number 17. This suggestion includes utilizing social media sites like delicious.com and digg.com to advertise and market products or services.
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iePlexus Featured on KillerStartups.com

We’re proud to annouce that recently iePlexus.com was featured on KillerStartups.com, a “user-driven internet startups community.” KillerStartups reviews over 15 internet startups every working day and has featured the likes of Skype, StumbleUpon, and NetVibes, just to name a few. Entrepreneurs, investors, and bloggers are staying informed on up-and-coming internet startups using the KillerStartups blog platform, and their goal is to provide a community where we “will be able to spot the next YouTube, and in order to achieve this goal, are providing what we believe to be the right tools for this kind of discovery.”

Although we’ve been in business since 2005, we’re still a young company and very honored to be a part of a great idea. Please take the time to vote for iePlexus.com on the site!