10 Sep

The Great Net Neutrality Debate

Net Neutrality is one of those ‘on-topic’ subjects that has swung into focus recently and has caught people’s imaginations. It’s not surprising really as it’s something that threatens to change the way in which we are all able to access content on the Internet, so you could say it’s important!

Having watched the oddly compelling video ‘The Internet Must Go’, which is a clever mockumentary on how the big ISPs in America are trying to shape everyone’s consumption of Internet content, I have some observations on how this will pan out. First, if you haven’t done so already, take a look at The Internet Must Go:

Assuming that your ISP didn’t block the video you now understand the problem as perceived by many. There are polar views on the subject although everyone apart from some of the big ISPs agrees that creating a tiered payment system for content is clearly against the principles of the Internet.  It changes everything and is effectively like allowing those with deep pockets to jump the queue for a theme park ride (oh no, they do that already). Alright it’s like only letting rich teams win at F1 (hmmm, I think that’s been happening for years).

Judgment Day

Net Neutrality counters the potential for dominance by one or more ‘super providers’

Seriously, this affects us all; even a telecoms provider should be concerned about the potential for being squeezed out if ‘traffic shaping’ threatens their business. In this blog post, Trefor Davies and Pete Farmer discuss the ideals of an open Internet relating to VOIP provision.

Personally I still believe that this will start the ball rolling towards my preferred and predicted model of Internet Providers rather than Internet Service Providers. That’s not just a simple change of name but a fundamental shift from paying a third party to connect you to all content as you do now, to paying only for the very services you want. Effectively premium services would be available as part of a range of packages, so for instance buying a Google Business package would give you access to those premium services you want in your business, as well as the content you need, and the same would be true at home. It’s the payment for those services that subsidises the connection via the Internet and into your home or business. Some people may be worried about the ‘SkyNet’ dominance that would afford those companies able to offer these services, but I for one would rather be held to ransom by a company like Google than BT!

The good bit is that it is still unlikely that one company or even a few will own and operate all the infrastructure in this model, so there is still plenty of scope for earning rental for transit of services, and thereby for new infrastructure projects to thrive.

26 Apr

When Will Google Fiber Take Over The World?

Okay so this is a bit of fun, but the key message that rolling out fibre broadband connections could take a long time isn’t lost on the majority of people, least of all Cotswolds Broadband, where capital costs are to be kept as low as possible, but it is still a highly capital intensive proposition for a relatively small area of West Oxfordshire in the UK Cotswolds.

The end result is worth it only when you consider broadband usage tomorrow, not today. Soon we will all be clamouring for gigabit services, so copper solutions just won’t suffice.

When will Google Fiber take over the world? – An infographic by the team at Broadband Genie

Creative Commons Licence
When will Google Fiber take over the world? by Broadband Genie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

04 Jan

Latest Effective Social Media seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 27th January 2012. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

08 Nov

Google+ brand pages launched

Well, they’ve been a while coming, but brand pages are finally here on Google+, offering another means by which brands can engage with communities of customers and friends. I was surprised that Google waited so long but actually it’s a good thing, since it has given a few people (well, 40 million if you believe the hype) a while to get to grips with the new service prior to bringing brands onto the platform – that’s a smarter move than just making everything available at once, in my book.

Having created a couple of brand pages already I can see that Google+ has a little way to go, but the opportunity for greater exposure and reach is clearly there, since searches within Google+ are starting to reveal some interesting content, brands included!

03 Nov

The demise of Google Sidewiki

Google SidewikiHaving used Google Sidewiki in the past I received an email from Google announcing that the service will close on 5th December.  That’s a bit of a shame in my book as I found the service gave users the oportunity to contribute helpful information alongside any page that they found useful and thereby make the page more relevant to both them and others.

I shan’t exactly mourn its loss, but clearly there just weren’t enough users on Sidewiki to justify its existence.  Elsewhere other Google products have suffered a similar fate, such as Google Code Search, Google Labs and Google Buzz, among others. Clearly Google is trimming down its non-core and failing experiments.

04 Oct

‘Effective Social Media’ Seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 4th November 2011. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

23 Sep

Should you try the new Facebook Timeline?

How Facebook Timeline will look when it goes live

How Facebook Timeline will look when it goes live

You may have heard in the press and elsewhere about all the latest features that Facebook is rolling out. Some were intended to compete head to head with Google+, which went public earlier this week, and some are still to arrive. If you want to see the latest feature called Facebook Timeline, you will have to wait until September 29th, unless you want to jump to the head of the queue and try it now!

Facebook Timeline will give you the ability to see all of your activity in a continuous

If you just can’t wait, follow this link http://ickl.co/rd3ogS and after a few tortuous steps within the bowels of Facebook’s Developer underworld, you will emerge triumphant into the light to see your shiny new Facebook Timeline interface.

Is it worth the hype? Well, you do get to see your activity in a timeline down the page, you can customise the header image with one of your existing or a new picture, you see all the latest posts down the right side of the page as they happen – you do get to see everything in one place, which may or may not be a benefit to some. Personally I see this as Facebook desperately trying to hold its head high as Google+ tries to steal a march.  Maybe it’s time for change? Only time will tell.

21 Sep

Will you dance with Google+ ?

Google Plus

Now anyone can join in Google+

As has been reported widely today, The Google+ Project as it has been known up until now, is open for all to join, following a period of more than two months of ‘closed’ testing by up to 25 million users. When you go to your Google homepage you will see the blue arrow and link to +You, where you need to go and set up a Google Profile (if you don’t already have one) so that you can get access to Google+

But why should you?

There are a number of compelling features that make Google+ a prime contender for the crown of King of the Social Networks. This has rightfully belonged to Facebook since its widespread adoption in 2005 – after all there are now more than 750 million Facebook accounts in circulation (not all are active of course). However Google+ goes for a slightly different approach by offering functionality such as ‘Hangouts’ for multi-way video chat and ‘Circles’ of friends. They aren’t ground-breaking in themselves, but when you consider this in conjunction with Google’s reach through its search product, Google+ will be visible to almost everyone on the web from today, and that provides potential traction, even for existing Facebook users who may wish to see what it has to offer once their friends are also doing so and adding them.

You may want to stick around on Facebook too for the moment though – today Facebook has rolled out even more updates, with some directly responding to Google+ Circles and others intended to let you show only the information you want to see.

How do you get started?

Go to http://plus.google.com and sign into your Google Account – this doesn’t need to be a GMail account – you can have a Google profile associated with just about any email address. Once you’re in, you will want to start following people and adding friends to your ‘circles’. It’s all pretty intuitive, but one trick you will want to try is getting your Facebook contacts across to Google – well help is at hand:

  1. Sign Up for Google+ and click on ‘View all’ at the top right
  2. Click ‘Find People’ which will show the options to add friends from your Yahoo! contacts and from your Windows Live Hotmail contacts
  3. Open your Yahoo! e-mail or Windows Live Hotmail and you can import your Facebook contacts
  4. Go to ‘Contacts’, ‘Manage’, and click on the ‘Export’ option
  5. Go back to your Google+ profile ‘Find Friends’ tab and click on either the Yahoo! or Windows Live Hotmail icon
  6. Sign in to your Yahoo! or Windows Live account and permit Google+ to connect the account with your Google+ profile.
  7. Once authorised, all of your Facebook friends will be added to your Google+ account so that you can add them to your Circles
Sweet!

 

 

18 Jul

Search Engine Submission Scam

It appears another variation on the domain registration scam and the Domain Registry of America scam, that I have previously discussed in this blog, is appearing via email to domain owners. In this version, an official-looking email informs the domain registrant that they need to register in order to be found in search engines. Of course this is a complete fallacy; there is no obligation on a domain owner to register with a third party for search engine inclusion. The originating company doesn’t even identify itself in the email, merely providing a generic Yahoo email address, and contact details.  Hardly a bona fide company to do business with!

The email text varies, but is generally in this form:

Attn: [DOMAIN OWNER] As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration.  This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration and save.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering.  Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission.  You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
This Notice for: [DOMAIN NAME] will expire on [Date] Act today!

Hidden in the text after the alarmist notice are the words ‘you are under no obligation to pay’ – those of course are the most important words in the email – do not be fooled by the rest of the mumbo-jumbo!

 

06 Mar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Local olive oil distributor Elanthy Extra Virgin Olive Oil is looking to raise their game and increase their online sales through Search Engine Optimisation of their website, Search Engine Marketing using Google AdWords more effectively, and Social Media so that they can engage with customers more easily. I now act as online marketing consultant for Elanthy.

Elanthy extra virgin olive oilElanthy has a simple online ordering service which will be upgraded in time. They offer a range of other olive oil related products for sale. Elanthy use Oreniki olives native to the Kalamata region of mainland Greece, which is where their olive oil mill is based. Their UK base is in the Cotswolds, distributing by courier to restaurants and households in the UK and abroad.

Buy your olive oil online and get free next day delivery and a free gift!