January 19, 2018

About Contributor Dave Taylor

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The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com
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Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is widely recognized as an expert on both technical and business issues. He has been published over a thousand times, launched four Internet-related startup companies, has written twenty business and technical books and holds both an MBA and MS Ed. Dave maintains three weblogs, The Intuitive Life Business Blog, focused on business and industry analysis, the eponymously named Ask Dave Taylor devoted to tech and business Q&A and The Attachment Parenting Blog, discussing topics of interest to parents. Dave is a top-rated speaker, sought after conference and workshop facilitator and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.

Posts by Dave:

Do we have to join every social network?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 02/27/08

This might be a question just for us social media consultants, but I think it is more generally applicable: do we need to sign up for every new social network that comes along so that we can reserve our names thereon?

This came up because I just signed up and joined friendfeed.com (and yes, the obligatory link: You can find me on friendfeed.com as DaveTaylor) partially because I was curious about it, but also because I received email from a colleague that included the comment sign up now to get good user names.

But do we really need to do this?

What’s your opinion, fellow blog and social media consultant?

Dave’s take on Twitter: who the heck cares?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 03/12/07

Okay, so I’m not a callow college-age kid anymore, I admit it. Heck, I’m not sure I was a callow youth when I was a youth, for that matter, but at this point I know I’m going to miss some of the important trends until they smack me upside the head. Even given that, though, I just don’t see why everyone’s so darn fascinated by the ceaseless stream of mundane ultratrivia produced by the fans of Twitter. A quick glimpse of their home page is all you need to see just how uninteresting the reality of people’s lives are, and yet they they are, sending one-line status updates to the world at large about their having “just cleaned the catbox”, “made a cup of tea”, “met Jax for fish dinner. Yum!” and “going to bed. l8r”.

The more I thin about it, the more I think that Twitter is actually an exhibitionists paradise at some level, but what I don’t get is why anyone would subscribe to the service and watch the information ooze along this primordial river.

Ah, but maybe I just don’t get it. So tell me, do you subscribe to Twitter? Do you post updates? Do you think anyone cares? 🙂

Quick primer on responding to negative feedback

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 02/28/07

Okay, so technically, this isn’t a blogging related article, but since I received the original press release because I’m a blogger, I’ll stretch a point and hope that Rick won’t get too upset with me for posting it here on BBC. 🙂

One of the great challenges I see that bloggers face, particularly business bloggers, is how to respond to negative feedback. Whether it’s private email, a comment left on your blog, or even another blogger publishing a criticism of your posting on their own blog, if you’re going to blog, you need to have a relatively thick skin. More than that, though, you also need to learn how to make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons, how to turn negative feedback into something positive.

A recent example of how to do this showed up in my mailbox when I, along with many other bloggers, received a press release from BlinnPR, agency of record for KeepYouSafe.com, with the ghoulish title


The subtitle explains it a bit better: “Online Safe Deposit Boxes Help Families Avoid Ugly Legal Hassles”. Nonetheless, the entire Anna Nicole Smith story is a sad and depressing tale of greed, the perils of media, and lost souls, certainly not one upon which to hang a PR campaign in my opinion.

Bloggers generally reacted with strongly negative feedback (see Gizmodo, Paul McNamara at NetworkWorld and Ryan Block, for example), but rather than blog about it, I just sent a quick note to Steve Blinn, principal at BlinnPR:

Oh ugh. What a terrible headline and tie-in concept. Sorry, Steven, but this is not good PR in my book.

His response is a superb example of the very best of PR writing, and demonstrates exactly how you can take a negative — a thought leader in your market sending you a blunt criticism — and turn it into an apology and explanation of the benefits of the product and why it’s not as bad as it seems:


Perhaps I did go a bit far in our “Anna Nicole” press release. It was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek and intended to be a take-off on all the tabloid coverage this story has (and continues) to receive.

In many ways, the disarray of Smith and Brown’s estates is indicative of an American culture that avoids contemplating death and its impact on family and friends.

Sadly, many of your readers (even though they’re not celebrities) are similar to Smith and Brown – they haven’t updated their will and they haven’t prepared a burial or interment plan. And, more importantly, whatever documents they do have are not readily accessible upon their death.

Given that issue, the service that KeepYouSafe.com offers, a safe and secure Online Safe Deposit Box, is a possible solution to this issue.

If I erred by writing a provocative headline and lead, I’m guilty as charged. But, the fact remains, many of your readers, just as Brown and Smith, have not updated their wills, have not written down their precise burial and interment wishes, and don’t have those document readily available to their heirs or executors.


My question to you, BBC reader, is how well do you respond effectively, thoughtfully and professionally to criticism when you find it online in any form? I think that Steven’s response is a fine model of the best approach possible and while I still don’t like the headline, he has written a sufficiently smart response that I’m willing to reconsider the possible value of KeepYouSafe.com, to give ’em a second chance as it were.

Note: The email shown here is reproduced with permission. Obviously, I have no other relationship with Steven or KeepYouSafe.com.

Warning: EU making anonymous comments illegal?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 02/12/07

In case we don’t have enough to worry about as bloggers, it appears that the European Union is passing a new directive that makes it illegal for businesses to falsely masquerade as a consumer. Not just with fake blogs (also known as “sock puppet blogs”) but with comments on blogs too, reviews on Amazon.com and other review sites, and more.

It all sounds good in theory, but in reality I fear that this will prove to be a nightmare for bloggers if we are going to be held liable for verifying the identity of everyone who adds comments to our weblogs. I mean, let’s be straight here: identity is impossible to verify anyway, and even if you could, the nuances of identity are such that the system is trivially defeated anyway. For example, if my sister works at a company and I write a blog comment on someone else’s weblog that defends her firm, do I need to disclose that relationship?

It’s a curious law and I surmise that the EU won’t be able to enforce this new directive. But that’s just me. What’s your opinion of the new law that’s just starting to surface in the online world?

Tip: More details on this article can be found on my own blog, in a considerably longer article entitled: EU makes fake blogs and comments illegal: are all bloggers liable?

I just don’t see Wikia’s Wikiasari threatening Google…

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 12/28/06
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If you’ve been following the exciting world of search engines (only said slightly in jest) you know that Google keeps increasing its market share, and that the only way that wanna-be MSN Live is even getting any traction is by forcing everyone to upgrade Internet Explorer to IE7, which conveniently resets everyone’s default search engine to the Microsoft solution. Hmmm… okay.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Wales, the founder and creator of Wikipedia and the commerical Wikia, has come out with news that he’s building a human-powered search engine called Wikiasari (I have no idea what the name means, sorry) with funding from Amazon.com. Amazon, you might recall, have a failed search engine of their own called A9, and even with the offer of special discounts on Amazon.com purchased for A9 users, they still can’t get anyone to use it. No wonder they’re interested.

But should we be interested in Wikiasari?

I don’t think so.

The problem isn’t that the search engine might not be interesting or useful, the problem is that to even compete in the world of search engines you have to fight the incredibly strong powers of momentum, of people just not wanting to bother with something different. Regardless of how wonderful Wikiasari might be (and I’m skeptical it’ll work at all because of spammers and other cons) (recall that they killed DMOZ, for example), the only way people will try it is if Google really starts failing as a search engine.

The weird thing is that the media is writing about it with the sort of hype usually reserved for Google itself, talking about how Wikiasari might be a “Google killer” and a “serious threat to Google’s marketshare”. I just don’t see it.

What’s your take? Would you switch search engines “just because”, or do you find that your favorite search engine is hard-wired into your fingers at this point in the evolution of the Internet?

I have a longer article on this subject available on my Business Blog too: Wikiasari threatens Google? I don’t think so. if you’d like to engage in a discussion on this topic too.

Apparently, WordPress has become the blog police?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 11/11/06

One of the core questions that people ask me when they decide to start using a weblog as the foundation of their business marketing and branding efforts is: where should I host my blog? My usual answer is that it doesn’t really matter and that you can get started a lot faster by using a hosted service like WordPress or Typepad, but I’m going to have to change that now.

Why? Because the team at WordPress.com has come up with new regulations about what is and isn’t acceptable on blog postings, and if you cross the line, they’ll not only shut your site down with less than twelve hours warning, but they’ll also ban you from ever signing up again.

It starts with banning blog entries that have (sponsored) links from PayPerPost, but that’s a sticky slope and it’s easy to have that move into other prohibited areas, including perhaps exactly what your business blog is about. Then what?

So, come clean, are you hosted on WordPress.com? And if so, what’s your opinion on this clarification of their Terms of Service and its implementation within the community?

Note: this is an excerpt of a longer article I’ve written on this subject: Is WordPress now the Blog Police.

I don’t accept Edelman’s apology for the bogus Wal-Mart Blog…

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 10/16/06

I’m still amazed at this situation. Edelman PR, one of the premier public relations agencies in the world and a company that not only hired sharp blogger Steve Rubel but prides itself on really understanding the new world of Web 2.0 and the blogosphere, screwed up royally, and no-one seems to be particularly upset.

The situation: They created the Walmarting Across America blog which pretended to be a couple of middle aged RV enthusiasts driving from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart and blogging about their experiences, mostly with how wonderful Wal-Mart was. No surprise, the blog effort was a campaign paid for by Wal-Mart!

When it came out that it was a fake blog and that Edelman was being duplicitous and tricking people, it also became obvious that they’d violated the very code of Word of Mouth Marketing ethics they’d helped create.

The response of the blogosphere? Oh, Richard Edelman apologized, and Steve Rubel said he had nothing to do with the account or the campaign. And all is well. Or is it?

If you want to have an example of the class structure within the blogosphere, go and read how top bloggers like Debbie Weil, Neville Hobson and Robert Scoble are not just accepting Edelman’s apology, but being apologists for the company themselves. What the heck?

I don’t agree. I think that there’s a much bigger issue of ethical consistency, of leadership and of hypocrisy, and I write about it at length on my main blog: Edelman screws up with Duplicitous Wal-Mart Blog, but it’s okay?

Google’s lingering problem with editorial versus advertising

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 10/12/06

I was recently searching for “sprint broadband” and “Mac OS X” and noticed a very interesting problem: the matches I got from both Google and Yahoo were incorrect because the matching pages included “Mac OS X” in the editorial and were also matching on “sprint broadband”, but ephemerally: they were advertising or sponsor information and no longer appear on the page.

There are a couple of reasons this happens, notably the inevitable delay between when a page is indexed in a search engine and when that cached or analyzed copy is updated due to changes on the site, but the bigger problem is that neither Google nor Yahoo can differentiate between the editorial on a Web page and the advertising.

In my book, that’s a problem, and a search on the matching phrase “connect at blazing speeds with the sprint mobile broadband card.” you’ll doubtless be surprised just how many matches there are!

At least Microsoft caught the problem (or just lucked out and didn’t see the Sprint advertising on the page): their Live Search did not show the same erroneous results from Infoworld.com as one of the top three matches.

As i say in my main blog post about this subject — Why can’t Google differentiate editorial from advertising? — the problem is just a matter of expectations more than anything. I rely on Google to offer up good matches to searches and this was a failure on their algorithm, one that’s repeated at Yahoo.

What do you think? Is it critical for search engines to differentiate between editorial and advertising when analyzing and scoring the content of a page?

Advice for creating a mastermind group?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 10/10/06

Alright, BBC community, here’s a question for you: How do you create an effective and valuable mastermind group?

Let me explain…

If you’re in business like I am, you spend a lot of time making your own business decisions without much advice from peers or mentors. Sometimes that’s cool, but sometimes you can really make big blunders and move your company or consultancy in just plain the wrong direction. Larger companies have a group of executives who can be counted on to analyze strategic and tactical decisions, and the smartest of them have a Board of Directors, a group of senior people who offer sage advice (except, maybe, for HP, but that’s another story) and help the company grow smart, strong and true.

But I don’t have anything like that. Like many other entrepreneurs, I’m flying solo, so while the idea of a Board sounds good, I don’t really want to put anyone in the fiduciary line of fire for my business (there are legal responsibilities when you’re a board member).

Instead what I want to create is a small group of entrepreneurs and business folk here in Colorado who have the savvy and experience to help me steer my business in the right direction and, hopefully, I’ll be able to help them do the same. It’s basically a board of advisors, but I’m going to refer to it by the more appealing name of a mastermind group.

And so my question. Are you in a mastermind group of any sort? If so, please do share logistical details like how often you meet, how long the meetings are, how many members you have, what membership criteria you use, etc etc. If you aren’t, why not consider creating one in your own local community?

I’m not fishing for people to join my mastermind group as I already have a couple of sharp and successful colleagues with whom I’ve been noodling this idea, I’m more just interested in the logistics, in the pragmatic day-to-day implementation of a mastermind group for successful entrepreneurs.

Thanks for any insight you can offer!

Nikon and eBay Get Hip to Social Media

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 10/6/06

Are you wondering how large companies can tap into the popularity of social media, Web 2.0, and other contemporary trends in the online world? Well, they could just pay $50,000 and set up a commercial MySpace account (no kidding, that’s the base fee for a fancy professional profile) or they could actually be inspired and tap into the popularity of YouTube or Flickr and do something really cool…

That’s exactly what auction giant eBay did when it created an admittedly cheesy 75 second introductory movie promoting an upcoming course they’re offering to the eBay seller community. They filmed the movie then simply uploaded it to YouTube and mentioned it on the eBay Chatter weblog to help drive more customers to the training course: check it out. Cool!

Nikon did something even more cool, though: it picked out a group of existing Nikon digital SLR photographers from popular photo sharing site Flickr and sent them brand new Nikon D80 camera setups. Their assignments? Take pictures, send us your best. The result? Stunning Nikon. A very savvy marketing effort!

I applaud both companies for experimenting – and succeeding – with social media and look forward to more companies tapping into the wisdom, enthusiasm and verve of popular social media.

An extended version of this article, with samples from Stunning Nikon and the eBay YouTube video, can be found at eBay and Nikon: Examples of New Media Marketing.

BBC contributor is keynote speaker at the Blog Business Summit

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 09/30/06

Conferences and workshops tend to blur together when you travel and speak as frequently as I do, so I appreciate getting involved in an event that’s focused more on education and discourse than on selling stuff, either from the podium or the exhibit hall. Don’t get me wrong, those sort of conferences can be valuable and I’ve definitely learned quite a bit attending those sort of events, but as a former research scientist, there’s much I prefer about getting together with a few hundred of the best people in the industry and exploring best practices together.

That’s why I am delighted to share with the Business Blog Consulting audience that I am not only going to be enthusiastically attending the upcoming Blog Business Summit in Seattle, but that I’m also going to be speaking a number of times, including a keynote talk on what I call “findability” and why blogs are such an important part of that equation.

The line up of speakers for the Summit reads like a who’s who of thought and influence leaders in the blogging world, including fellow BBC contributor Tris Hussey. It’s the last week of October on the waterfront in Seattle, and if you’re interested in business blogging or blog consulting, you’ll definitely want to learn more about the Blog Business Summit.

(If you’re interested in my comments and thoughts on the speaker lineup, and what I’m planning on talking about when I stand at the podium no less than four different times, please pop over to my thoughts on the Blog Business Summit)

“Blogger and Podcaster” magazine? Huh?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 09/5/06

Okay, so I’m more than a bit puzzled to learn about a new print magazine being launched in January, Blogger and Podcaster. But not because of the fact that it’s a magazine because I get a number of magazines about Internet-related topics, including webmaster publications and, heck, I’m a contributor to the affiliate marketing magazine Revenue.

What baffles me is that it’s an online only magazine, what they’re calling a “digital form only” publication.

Now think about this. The publisher, Larstan Publishing, is focused on blogging, but instead of creating a blog with advertising to address this market, they’re doing a “digital form only” trade magazine that I’m sure will be just a monster PDF emailed to subscribers monthly.

From the world of traditional publishing, this probably makes some modicum of sense. After all, you can hire sales managers from other magazines, people experienced in the world of print. I’ve been involved with print publications for decades now, and have spent many an hour [drinking beer] with ad sales people, so I know this perspective well.

From the perspective of us already mired in the world of blogging, however, a once-monthly PDF email is about the most brain-dead solution a company could use when addressing this market. Successfully tapping into the blogging zeitgeist, if you will, is all about timeliness, fluidity and being assimilated by the blogosphere. Or, heck, putting it all in print and having a print magazine that we can touch, a la WIRED.

Is there anyone out there who can explain to me the logic behind Larstan’s plan with its “digital form” magazine for the blogosphere and world of podcasters and how it makes any sense at all?

My prediction: this project will die a painful death and “Blogger and Podcaster” will be gone within four issues.

What do you think?

Will bloggers write about stuff you send us?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 09/3/06

As bloggers and blogging has raised its visibility in the media landscape, and as us bloggers have become thought and opinion leaders, to a greater or lesser extent, it should be no surprise that we’re smack-dab in the middle of the radar screen for Public Relations firms and individual companies seeking to gain “buzz” or visibility for their products or services.

What clearly isn’t quite so obvious, however, is how to approach bloggers when you want to send them something to check out. Do you explicitly say “do you want to review this” or, even more blatantly, “will you say nice things about it if we send you one?” or is there a more subtle road you can travel, one that’s more akin to “thought you’d find this cool. Want one?” without any expressed desire to have one of us actually write about it?

I would suggest that it’s an unsolved puzzle and that when I was approached by a company that sells high-tech bean bag chairs to see if I’d like to review one, this all came to the fore because, well, because I’m a business writer, not a furniture reviewer or home decorating maven. (trust me, you don’t want me decorating your home! 🙂 )

The key revolves around disclosure, and instead of actually reviewing the chair, I decided that I’d write somewhat of a meta-review, talking about how the chair ended up in my office and its implications for both bloggers and PR professionals seeking to have us examine their wares.

Oh, and my review? Here’s an excerpt: “As it turns out, I don’t particularly like the chair because while the fabric cover is clearly tough and durable, the rip-proof nylon isn’t very comfortable and I really wish it had a cloth, cotton or even corduroy cover. But I’m in the minority. My wife…”

You can read more about this topic, including the email back and forth with Omni, the bean bag company, on my business blog: How to get bloggers to write about your product.

Why bloggers, even business bloggers, sometimes need to revise history

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 08/29/06
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There’s a school of thought in the blogosphere that suggests once a Weblog article is written and published for the world to see, it’s done, cast in stone, and never to be touched or modified again. You can produce more recent updates or corrections, but there’s a sense that the “historical archive” is more important than being accurate or correct or contemporary.

Sometimes that just doesn’t work, though, and I experienced just this situation with a recent article I wrote on my weblog about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, an article that was reprinted in the local newspaper this morning, just hours before new revelations in the case were unveiled that made the entire article irrelevant and wrong.

What to do? Indeed, what should bloggers do when their material later becomes incorrect? Should they go back to the original, already published article and tweak or update it? Or just ignore the situation?

Please, take a few minutes and go read my longer essay on this topic, the one with all the ugly details: Why bloggers must be historical revisionists

Why AdSense doesn’t suck for Bloggers

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 08/21/06

I’ve been part of the Google AdSense program for years now, and am still amazed by the criticism and hostility that bloggers have towards this method of monetizing your blog traffic. This morning, as part of a bigger discussion behind the scenes here at BBC about monetizing your weblog, we were considering Michael Arrington’s critical comments regarding the Federated Media network, of which his popular TechCrunch blog is a member. More to the point, however, we were also reading the rebuttal on ChasNote, a blog run by one of the Federated Media team.

In that posting, Chas (Charles? Did I mention that I really dislike blogs that don’t indicate their author’s name?) quotes Michael as saying “I consider the 40% I pay FM Publishing, my agent, way too high. But they are still a young service and I’m sticking with them” then responds with: “Outsourcing 80% of your cost structure in exchange for 40% of the revenue may not be such an unfair deal in the end.”

I’m still not sure about those numbers for the blogosphere, but we need to read just a bit further to find the snippet I found most interesting…

Chas cites Mike D., who apparently wrote on TechCrunch that “AdSense tends to make people believe that the entire advertising world is just a question of building up traffic and then letting the ads pour in automatically, but the reality is that a good sell through rate at a good CPM requires a dedicated sales staff, whether it’s internal or external.”

Ah, finally, you have enough background to join the discussion and see why my title refers to AdSense!

Let me start by quoting my own comment on this matter that I left at ChasNote:

“I continue to be fascinated by the gap between what people say about AdSense and my own experience with the program. I certainly don’t find that I need a dedicated ad sales person to figure out how to monetize my blog through the Google AdSense program, and with approx 5% click-thru rate and an effective CPM across the last 30 days of approx. $9.00, it works fine for me and can work well for other bloggers too, better than it’s probably working now.

“The key to any advertising is to recognize whether you have a unique proposition, however. TechCrunch is so darn popular because Mike and his team do have a unique angle on things so it’s always engaging and interesting reading. That’s something that can be leveraged by ad sales and monetized differently to, say, a “lots of links to gizmodo and boing boing” Blogger.com blog that someone does hoping to see a trickle of traffic and some ads.

“As long as Federated Media focuses on these blogs with unique profiles, it will indeed continue to raise the value of the real estate it’s representing on each site, and if you don’t think that 60% of something big is worth more than 100% of something small, Mike, you needed to have the experiences I’ve had in the startup world, where we learned pretty quickly that 100% of wishing definitely does not outperform even 10% of something big.

“Further, my understanding is that blogs that are part of the Federated Media network retain the right to sell their own ads, use AdSense, Omakase, Overture, whatever, in addition to the FM blocks being sold by their sales team, so if the % is a problem, why not just have less FM ads and delve into selling your own advertising blocks anyway?”

More about AdSense

The more I’ve thought about this discussion, though, the more I want to share some basic truths about the Google AdSense program that are directly related to whether you, fellow blogger, are seeing enough revenue each month to buy a can of Coke or pay your mortgage:

1. Hiding your ad blocks will never be an effective strategy for earning money.
2. Failing to give Google enough breadcrumbs to ascertain your page topic defeats the targeting part of the AdSense ad targeting tool.

I constantly talk with bloggers who are astonished by how much I earn through Google AdSense, and even the folks at some very large media networks can’t believe anyone sees CPM’s of greater than $1 for AdSense.

Why? Because just about every blogger I’ve seen who uses AdSense seems to have a love/hate relationship with advertising. They don’t really want to have advertising and so they set themselves up for failure from the get-go by having the ad block in the right navigational column four pages from the “top of the fold”, by using a color scheme that makes it glaringly obvious that the block is advertising and thereby teaching visitors to ignore it, by joining dozens of graphical ad networks and serving up visual overload instead of targeted advertising, or similar.

Worse, I have found that contextual targeting requires at least 200-250 words on a given topic to work. The more the ads are related to the blog entry topic, the more likely they are to be clicked and earn you a few pennies a click, right? As a result, I hope you can immediately see how the all-too-common “resource locator” postings like “Cool article in the NYT. Check it out: [link]” are anathema! That doesn’t make them bad blog postings, of course, but does mean that they’ll adversely impact your ability to monetize your traffic.

I was watching the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup again last night and was really struck by how the major advertisers had ads that were either about or related to soccer: they knew that context matching increases ad effectiveness. Google knows it and has built its empire on the ability to match ads to content too. Trust me, if you aren’t getting relevant ads on your pages after they’ve been around for a few hours, it’s Google’s way of saying your postings are too darn short.

So here’s the gauntlet I’ll throw down: let’s pick a blog or two that are part of the AdSense program and publicly redesign it to be more AdSense friendly. I will bet a copy of my book Growing Your Business with Google to each of the blog owners that we can measureably and significantly incresae their ad revenue by simply following the basic ideas presented here.

Really, AdSense doesn’t suck for bloggers. Bloggers who want to enjoy the benefits of a successful AdSense presence just need to rethink their design and blogging efforts, just a bit.

By the way, if you haven’t yet gotten started with AdSense, why not learn more here: Getting Started with Google AdSense?

MySpace Blogger In Trouble with Boulder City Council

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 08/10/06

I’m always on the lookout for stories about bloggers who get into trouble with official government agencies, because I think that the freewheeling and fairly tolerant blogging community is one that’s hard to understand when you’re a government official. When we add MySpace to the mix, you know the result is going to be even more volatile because people who haven’t been exposed to MySpace and its social networking ilk imagine a sort of prim and proper social chat community rather than the chaos, immaturity and just plain weirdness that is pervasive.

So when is a slightly sexually suggestive comment on MySpace grounds for an investigation from the City Council? When you’re a volunteer committee member? Read on:

Boulder City Official in Hot Water over MySpace Blog

Survey: Benefit of adding a blog to an ecommerce site?

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 07/14/06

I talk with lots of different potential clients about adding weblogs to their online mix and am happy to roll out the usual list of benefits, including establishing a dialog with customers, offering up a 24×7 focus group, garnering feedback on potential product plans, and even featuring specific products or services to a dedicated subset of your community.

This time, however, I’ve received an email from a large ecommerce retailer with a slick Web presence but no “face” to the firm and sporadic problems with customer service and quality control. They ask:

“what you would do with a blog or two and what the benefits would be for us?”

Before I start free-associating my answer, I thought perhaps you, dear reader, might have some interesting or innovative ideas about how to leverage a blog to make an ecommerce company better in the online world?

Dr. Jakob Nielson nags yet again about Web usability

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 06/13/06
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Maybe I’m tilting at windmills with this particular discussion, but when usability guru Jakob Nielsen comes out with his list of Eight Problems That Remain, an excerpt of his newly published book Prioritizing Web Usability I can’t help but yawn and marvel at how he’s so out of touch with the reality of the modern Web and blogosphere.

For example, he believes that sites that don’t have visited links a different color to unvisited links are committing a critical, three skull-and-crossbone error, yet I can’t think of a site I visit with any frequency that doesn’t violate this “guideline”.

I admit that some of what he highlights remains a genuine problem with Web usability and in particular with blog usability, but so much of his criticism seems to be basically irrelevant and I have to wonder what sites he visits on a daily basis. They’re undoubtedly different to my own bookmark list…

I dig into his eight problems in considerable detail on my own blog, actually, so please check out my much longer commentary: Jakob Nielsen on Web Usability

Boing Boing Attacks Law Firm over Copyright Protection Efforts

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 06/5/06
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Maybe it’s just that I’m a huge fan of the World Cup and have been known in the past to shut down my business during the last few games of what is easily the most popular sporting event in the world, but I am appalled by the sophomoric response of the Boing Boing team to a letter from law firm representing the online rights to the games.

Here, read my thoughts on this, and, hopefully, add your own two cents about this situation:

Boing Boing attacks FIFA World Cup copyright protection efforts

Honestly, in many ways I see this as yet another blogger assault on business itself and another reason why companies continue to ignore or fear the blogosphere as a communications channel.

But, please, go read what I’ve written and decide for yourself.

Innovative marketing: MSN Toolbar & The Kitty Caper

Posted by: of The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com on on 05/10/06
Comments Off on Innovative marketing: MSN Toolbar & The Kitty CaperLinking Blogs : Add to del.icio.us :

Alright, this is a pretty interesting idea, even if it’s not (on the surface, at least) about blogging: Microsoft is endeavoring to increase the installed base of its MSN Search Toolbar by sponsoring a detective game called “The Kitty Caper”.

I was invited to participate from someone I don’t know (oddly enough, and they sent me the email from a Google Gmail address, of all places) but here’s how the invitation to join the case begins:

“Do you have the detective skills of a bloodhound and the cunning of a fox?

“Your friend, Brandon, thinks you’ll love solving the mystery of ‘The Kitty Caper’.

“Solve ‘The Kitty Caper’!

“Below is your first clue: a memo from the Police Commissioner in charge of the case. If you’re stuck, why not ask a friend for help?

“Unpuzzle the puzzle with the new MSN Search Toolbar

“You’ll need the new MSN Search Toolbar to play the game. So, if you haven’t done so already, make sure you download it now. A nifty detective tool, the MSN Search Toolbar lets you search not just the web but emails and documents, in fact all your PC files – all from the one place. You’ll be clueless without it! So to crack the case, download it now.”

Then you visit the site and learn that…

“On a stormy night in the town of Bottomley, a sinister plot to separate a forgetful dowager from her furry companion unfolds… Using your wit, intellect and trusty MSN Search Toolbar, explore the various environments in the game, pick up clues, challenge alibis and discover who stole my lady’s moggy? Was it the long-suffering Butler whodunit? Perhaps it was the avaricious son? Is the daughter everything she’s cracked up to be? And, just what has a very large carrot got to do with it all?”

Very cool idea. Anyone actually pursuing the “case”?

You can learn more about it at The Kitty Caper Game.


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