January 2009

The King of Search

It’s hard to even imagine the internet without the aid of search engines. Whether you’re looking for a piece of trivia or you’re looking for a new website, search engines are the main way we navigate the virtual world. And within this world of search, one name stands far and above all the others—Google.

So popular is the Google monolith that it is practically synonymous with search itself. After all, what other search engines have warranted the creation of a verb? After enough time, users became so accustomed to “googling” something that Merriam-Webster responded with the addition of google, a verb meaning the use of the engine to acquire information.

But what exactly made Google such a commanding force in search engines? Official representatives of the company explained that it was Google’s speed that set it apart from its competition. Recognizing that Google itself was merely a middleman used to get people from point A to point B, Google devoted its time and energy into yielding the fastest search results and offering those results in an easy-to-use interface that got people to other sites and on their way.
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“We have stopped all our ad campaigns since signing up with iePlexus.”

iePlexus,

We have noticed considerable more sales and inquiries at our website. We attribute this to the fact that we have iePlexus.com working for us. We have stopped all of our PPC ads and other meager ad campaigns since signing up with iePlexus.

And yet we had many more sales orders this past Christmas season than in previous years. We know “finally” that people are finding our internet web site.

Thank you very very much.

Judee

*NOTE: Please do not contact any clients without prior written authorization from iePlexus. Thank you.

Yahoo Makes Cuts and Company Changes

Yahoo is one of the most established internet presences, and this has been a busy week for the online-centered business. While one move represents a company improvement, another feels like a step backwards.

The first change marks the company’s concerted effort to improve the spam filter on its mail service. Spearheading the campaign is Mark Risher, who has been aptly named the “anti-spam czar.” The new effort teams Yahoo’s research department with several universities in order to more effectively block spam in its mail service. Even with this new effort, Yahoo still urges their mail users to manually mark when spam messages get through to the inbox or legitimate messages get sent to the spam folder with the “spam” or “not spam” buttons.

The second company change actually speaks to the larger economic climate. After recently opening a research and development facility in France, Yahoo has announced that roughly 20% of the French department will receive the dreaded pink slip. These announced layoffs will reduce the French department from 251 employees to 199 employees.

iePlexus Becomes New Developers of the Featured Content Gallery WordPress Plugin

I’m happy to announce that iePlexus is now part of the WordPress development community. As of today, the Featured Content Gallery plugin, a popular WordPress plugin originally developed by Jason Schuller of Revolution Two, has changed hands and will now be hosted, maintained, supported, and developed by iePlexus. Along with this transition comes a significant update to the plugin, a new plugin website and support forum, and a fresh take on where the plugin can be taken in the future. Here at iePlexus we are very proud to be chosen for this responsibility, and we’re excited to positively contribute to the WordPress and Revolution community. We look forward to providing an excellent plugin and support system, as well as a smooth transition between Revolution Two and iePlexus.

About the Featured Content Gallery Plugin:
The Featured Content Gallery is a WordPress plugin that creates a customizable rotating image gallery anywhere within a WordPress site. The plugin has the ability to display either post or pages, and automatically rotates images associated with these in a gallery that includes a thumbnail carousel and text overlay. The gallery is completely customizable, allowing the user to specify the size, color and pages or posts included in the gallery, as well as custom thumbnail images and custom overlay text. Originally transformed into a WordPress plugin by Jason Schuller of Revolution Two, the Featured Content Gallery was developed from SmoothGallery, a javascript gallery created by JonDesign. The plugin is frequently included in some of the best premium WordPress themes available today, namely those found on the Revolution Two site managed by Brian Gardner.
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Worst Blog Offenders

Blogs have finally reached that point where they are practically a staple in our daily internet cruising. With such diversity available, blogs end up serving many different purposes. Whether you’re surfing the extensive repertoire of blogs for fashion, celebrity gossip, sports, or metaphysical enlightenment, the basic goal of any good blog is to inform and entertain.

But with blogs being free and easy to set up, there are sure to be many that fail to meet this simple goal. Today we salute some of the most atrociously awful blogs. In fact, these blogs don’t just fail—they represent the absolute dregs of the blogosphere.

Worst Marketing Blog

Jack in the Box has always had slightly different advertising tactics (why exactly is their mascot a half man/half antenna ball, and why isn’t that feat of genetic science being studied?) But their blog takes the talking car accessory a bit too seriously. In fact, this forum is supposed to be the official MySpace page of one “Jack Box.” Displaying fabricated interests, place of birth, and children (you guessed it, Jack Jr.), I can’t help but feeling bad for the intern who had to spend an afternoon coming up with these inane pieces of fake trivia.
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I Love You Less Than Beef

It is becoming an increasing trend for established businesses to utilize social networking sites in order to promote themselves, but Burger King has taken that trend and put a slightly different spin on it. Rather than promoting positive discussion on forums like MySpace or Facebook, Burger King has officially launched the “Whopper Sacrifice.”

This new campaign has Whopper-crazed Facebookers install the Whopper Sacrifice application to their Facebook profiles. Then all you have to do is de-friend 10 people, enter your email address, and a coupon for a free Whopper will be sent your way. The campaign was initially launched in order to promote BK’s latest beef concoction, the “Angry Whopper.”
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Social Media Charm School

There’s no reason to talk to anyone anymore. Seriously, why would anyone want to risk calling someone and having an awkward conversation, or (gasp), talking to them face-to-face? I know I don’t. It started with texting a few years ago and then led to social networking sites and Apple’s iChat app. The advent of all these services has made it possible for me to quit talking (with my voice) to most people, except of course my coworkers (who I have to look at and talk to at the same time!) and my family.

In any event, I talk much less than I used to but communicate with many more people than I thought possible. If I am not messaging them on iChat or commenting on something they posted on Facebook, then I am reminded frequently of their status updates or blog posts. But this doesn’t mean I am a social butterfly. I am a reserved type of personality, and social networking has allowed me to become more so. I just maintain a lot of vague conversations while staying within my comfort zone.
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Digg Users Don’t Dig Digg

Sure. Digg’s heart might be in the right place, but in practice, does the system fall short? That’s the argument made by many Digg users who are having more than a little trouble getting their news stories seen or heard on the user-generated news site.

Digg was originally established in response to the mainstream media, which many felt did not portray or distribute news according to what would actually benefit or educate users. They also had complaints about the powerful systems of people (and companies) that control these news outlets.

But it seems that Digg has just become a smaller approximation of that very system. Because users’ stories gain popularity based on user reviews, the “powerdiggers” (those who have accrued a powerful network of fellow diggers) are much more likely for their stories to be seen, read, and shared.
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Know When To Say When To Social Media

It’s Time To Clean Up Your Social Media Clutter
Out with the old and in with the new. Why wait around until spring time to start organizing your life, your home and, more importantly, your social media portfolio? With 2009 sprawling ahead of you it’s time sort the social clutter that’s been piling up around on your computer desk and in your inbox.

One way to start this process is to take inventory of the social networking and bookmarking sites you subscribe to, and decide which services you like best in each category. After all, everyone wants to save time and spending hours a day on multiple services isn’t nearly as efficient as getting extra quality time on the best services.
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Psychology Your Way Into Sales

It’s no surprise that humans react in odd and irrational ways, particularly when it comes to spending money. To that end, Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions, offers many insightful lessons into the quirky (and largely predictable) human psyche. And in turn, these lessons may help web businesses shape their image and behaviors in order to garner as many sales as possible and become a successful online destination. Here are some important aspects of online sales tactics to consider when running an e-commerce or service-oriented business:

Relativity
It turns out Einstein knew what he was talking about—relativity does matter. Although this kind of relativity isn’t exactly what the theoretical physicist had in mind, there is something to be said for comparing your products to others. When products are offered in a standard and deluxe version, the standard version suddenly looks like a bargain and tends to sell. Create instant price comparisons on your site, and people are less likely to leave the site to shop around.
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