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!

 

10 Jun

New Facebook Messages

On logging into Facebook in the past few days you may have been confronted by the appearance of the new Facebook Messages functions. But what do these changes mean for you?

Facebook MessagesThe idea is to collect all your messages together in one place, so that chats and texts all appear in the same place.

You can now use an optional Facebook email address (e.g. mine is hugopick@facebook.com) and control who can send you messages through your privacy settings. You can see the full conversation history with each friend as a single conversation in one place, which makes it easier to track what you said and when, and with whom.

You can also priorise messages from your friends, as messages from unknown senders go into a folder called Other. Spam is automatically removed for you as well.

Facebook have been quietly talking about email for some time and this is clearly the first stage in their plans to include email in their long term strategy.

 

26 May

Patricia Gilliam Interiors

Patricia Gilliam Interiors - link to websiteRelaunching her interior design business in a new location in Salcombe on the south coast of Devon, Patricia Gilliam Interiors required a new corporate identity, literature and website. The result is a completely integrated branding approach for on and offline use, with a customised WordPress based website, business cards and brochures produced as a complete package.

This approach is ideal for start-ups where budget is clearly limited, but more importantly, the resources are simply not available to manage the design, production and print, which can be outsourced as a package to someone who understands marketing, design, production and implementation.

Next up is a Facebook page and other social media tools to assist in the wider community engagement.

01 Apr

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 600 million Social Media users then you should attend my two-hour ‘Effective Social Media‘ seminar and learn how to leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter 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. Delegates will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage their 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 20th May. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

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!

18 Feb

Domestic staffing and training service

Staffing and training servicesI am currently working with Jane Urquhart to help her staffing and training business The London Academy at Jane Urquhart Limited online.  Offering a range of solutions to discerning households she provides training and recruitment services to ensure the best staff within hotels, private households, palaces, yachts and offices or establishments where clients expectations of their staff are of the highest and where discretion, a quality personal service and attention to detail is the key. Her new website and online marketing will be fully operational soon.