Swine Flu Research Indicative of New Information Trends

swine-fluAlthough some of the initial swine flu hysteria has seemed to subside, search trends indicate that it’s still very much in the public consciousness. After hearing multiple stories and stats from both the local and national news, people fired up their computers and turned to the search engines.

People, of course, turned to their most trusted search engine—Google. Within that engine, queries such as “swine flu symptoms” and “swine flu” rose as quickly as the hysteria itself. The following is a list of the top ten visited websites based on these search terms.

1. CDC.gov
2. Wikipedia.com
3. News.Google.com
4. News. Yahoo.com
5. MySpace.com
6. CNN.com
7. Yahoo.com
8. PandemicFlu.gov
9. Facebook.com
10. WHO.int
(more…)

Wikipedia NOT the Most Accurate Encyclopedia?!

wikipediaIt took the loss of a musical icon, but a 22-year-old Dublin student finally proved what just about everyone suspected. Wikipedia may not be the most accurate source of information available on the internet.

When famed composer Maurice Jarre died on March 29, 2009, the world was saddened by the loss of a talented and prolific composer and conductor. Born in Lyon, France in 1924, Jarre was responsible for scoring much-loved films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India. For his work on these three films, Jarre was awarded three separate Oscars.

But as much as the musical community was reeling from the loss, they were at least left with some comforting words. “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.”
(more…)

Study Indicates a Rash of Twitter Quitters

twitter-retention-rateWhile a staggering amount of people seem to talk about Twitter, the latest polls and research indicate that talk is about all that Twitter can muster nowadays. According to these latest numbers, the hype surrounding the microblogging site is far exceeding the practical rate of usage.

To that end, a study by Nielsen Online determined that over 60 percent of new Twitter users quit using the site after only one month. Put another way, the retention rate for the site hovers around 40 percent. To put that dismal number in perspective, other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace boast a retention rate around 70 percent.

All the dedicated Twitter users, however, look for hope in the facts. After all, no one can deny the impressive rush of people who signed up for the service. But even these numbers can be viewed as troubling statistics for Twitter. After all, other social networking powerhouses also experienced explosive initial numbers. But unlike Twitter, they were able to hold onto their users.
(more…)

U.S. Armed Forces Uses Facebook and Twitter for Recruitment

thepentagonThe various branches of the armed forces have refined their recruitment tactics over the years, seeking out high school and college students at malls, career fairs, and now through the internet.  Lt. General Benjamin Freakley, the head of the Army command that oversees recruitment, believes that social networking websites offer a unique opportunity to reach the soldiers of tomorrow.  Freakley thinks Facebook could be an effective tool in communicating with 18-24 year-olds, the age range that the Army targets for potential recruits.  “You could friend your recruiter, and then he could talk to your friends,” Freakley states.  Utilizing Facebook, the Army could reach out to high school and college students on a much broader scale. 

In addition to a Facebook page, the Army also maintains a Twitter feed and blog which adds a new dimension to recruitment.  Instead of listening to recruiters drone on about the benefits of the Army, recruiters, soldiers, and civilians are welcome to contribute in an open forum.  Because of this open forum, people interested in a career in the Army can see comments from both sides of the fence, and determine whether Army culture is right for their lifestyle.  Online social media has revolutionized the manner in which armed forces recruitment takes place, and the Army isn’t the only branch of the military reaping the benefits. 
(more…)

Internet Giants Undergo Tumultuous Staff Changes

google-layoffsThere’s little debate that two of the most well known names in internet business are Google and Yahoo. These internet titans proved recently, however, that even they aren’t immune to layoffs, cutbacks, and employee shakeups.

For Google, this means they will be saying goodbye to David Rosenblatt. The former CEO of DoubleClick, Rosenblatt had been at Google less than a year before calling it quits. Rosenblatt hasn’t announced his next destination yet, but the fact that Google appears to be having trouble holding onto key creative players should cause people to pause and ask if things at Google are as rock solid as they appear from the outside.

And Yahoo isn’t faring much better. They have instigated some sizable cuts to their staff, giving the dreaded pink slip to about 600 employees. Although Yahoo projected 680 cuts in its first quarter reports, there’s still little doubt that following through with layoffs is far worse than simply projecting layoffs.

Morale, therefore, at both companies is sure to be at an all-time low, which puts them squarely in line with just about every other layoff-ridden, profit-decreased company out there right now.

Offline Marketing for an Online Business

marketingAs more and more businesses search for ways to cut down on costs, the business model of owning a brick and mortar store with a leased space and employees is beginning to dwindle. Rather, people are turning their efforts and concentration to the online market. But even with a strictly online business, it doesn’t mean that marketing has to be confined to the online arena. Instead, companies should combine online and offline marketing tactics to drive business to their online store.

Utilizing these two channels simply makes good sense. After all, interest in your site is always a positive no matter how that traffic was generated. So whether you’re getting an influx of visitors because of a print ad or because of a viral video, increased traffic means the increased likelihood of sales. So why not double the potential traffic by releasing a viral video and a print ad?

For your offline efforts, consider some of the following tactics and techniques.
(more…)

iePlexus Makes All the Difference for Online Barware Business

exclusive-barwarePeople entering into an online business are often wary of selling a product that is offered by many other sites, but Judee and Terry Koubas are proof that a sound business plan, dedication, and smart marketing can yield sales even in a high competition market.

“After we did some initial research, we found there were lots of sites that offered barware,” said Terry. “But there were still unique opportunities in this field. We decided to offer a good range of barware in order to help our customers find what they need.”

“Plus, this isn’t stuff you can find in just any store,” continued Judee. “We offer really unique items.”

That collection of unique items includes a comprehensive selection of barware products. In addition to standard glass stemware and cocktail glasses, the site is also outfitted with accessories such as coasters, decanters, wine racks, and more. Coupled with these traditional barware items, the site also deals in less conventional products such as sake sets and absinthe fountains.
(more…)

Facebook Fails to Capitalize

03facebookxlarge2With users now in the range of 200 million, Facebook has become the stethoscope which monitors the pulse of the modern world.  But despite a near unlimited amount of potential, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his board of directors refuse to tap into the potential revenues from their presiding ownership over a global online community.  Shiv Singh, VP of Razorfish, believes that Facebook is sitting on a gold mine of untapped potential. Singh’s advertising agency pays brand monitoring firms between $5,000 to $40,000 a year for insight into what online consumers are saying about their clients.  Singh also says he would pay Facebook twice as much for a similar service. 

Facebook has a free service called Lexicon which compiles and analyzes millions of Facebook Wall posts and provides a database of searchable trends.  However, people like Shiv Singh are looking for a Lexicon that does much more than just that.  Singh outlines a Lexicon that includes these features:
(more…)

Candidate “Tweets” Run for California Governorship

gavin-newsom-twitterIf you follow hot button political topics such as the legalization of gay marriage, it’s very likely that you know the name Gavin Newsom. Serving as the mayor of San Francisco, Newsom gained notoriety in 2004 when he directed the city-county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The move was a controversial political statement, which, despite being repealed by the Supreme Court of California, helped place Newsom on the larger political radar.

Newsom’s time in office was also marked by a turbulent personal life. He not only admitted abuses of alcohol, but he also admitted an affair with the wife of his campaign manager (and personal friend).

Despite these personal difficulties, Newsom announced on April 21, 2009 that he was throwing his hat into the ring for the California governorship. And while no one was particularly surprised by the move—there were few to no attempts to hide his ambitions towards higher offices—people are abuzz about the method by which he announced this candidacy.
(more…)

Craigslist Killer’s Spree Possibly Over

craigslist-killerWhile Craigslist is an invaluable resource in a lot of ways, there has been a rash of violent crimes recently surrounding the free site. On April 1, 2009, 20-year-old Michael John Anderson was given life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering 24-year-old Katherine Ann Olson. He placed a fraudulent ad on Craigslist seeking a babysitter only to shoot the woman once she arrived at the home. Reportedly, he simply wanted to know what it felt like to kill.

In related news, the Boston area has experienced two killings within one week. The killings are now believed to have been perpetrated by the same man, dubbed the Craigslist Killer or the .com Killer. Both victims were solicited from Craigslist and subsequently shot. On April 16, the Craigslist Killer was also suspected of tying a woman up and robbing her at gunpoint, but fleeing before she was seriously injured.

As of April 21, however, this particular spree of Craigslist related violence might have been quelled. Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old medical student, was arrested on suspicion of murder and held without the possibility of bail. Investigators traced the IP address of his computer to emails sent to the slain victim Julissa Brisman.
(more…)