The Online Marketing Company shenanigans.


Google Places Bugs & Glitches | All-Time High

By Alex Cross | Google Algo, Google Places, Local SEO

Several weeks ago I wrote about some of the bugs that have plaguing Google places lately. At the end of that post I optimistically predicted that they would have it all fixed within days- I mean c’mon, it’s GOOGLE, right?!

But today, over a month later, the situation over at Google is worse than ever. Glitches in Google Places are firing off all over the place, and internet marketers are reaching their collective boiling point as Google offers almost ZERO customer service.

As a guy who makes his living offering my customers the latest advancements in SEO, Google places has become an integral part of my business. So as the problem stretches into the “several-months” time frame I can’t help but wonder what Google is thinking with this kind of shoddy service. Don’t they know they are costing businesses (many of them mom and pop stores) a lot of money?

Based on their customer support (which is virtually non-existent) it doesn’t appear like it. Some professionals in the field have even started a blog that discusses the problem, which occasionally attracts the apathetic comment or two from Google’s engineers saying something along the lines of: “We’re looking into it, thanks for your patience.”

So what are the problems, you ask? Well, to begin with, there is a “system error” bug that keeps popping up. This one is the most common, as it has caused a lot of angry comments on the “Google bug blog.” Basically, if your listing is incorrect and you attempt to edit it, when you save your work a system error pops up and you are just left there hanging. Unfortunately this is happening with brand new listings as well.

The second error involves the statistics Google gives users concerning their advertisement’s performance. The stat counter is reading ZERO for many users, apparently having been stuck in neutral since Feb 18th.

The third bug is being called the “pending review” bug, which is just like it sounds. This was a problem back in January that Google quickly fixed, but it’s back now and more stubborn than ever.

Some other problems include Google’s badly broken scraping algorithm which creates duplicate posts, incorrect instructions for how to create a new listing, AND incorrect update messages in the user dashboard.

Needless to say, if there were such thing as an online riot someone would throw a burning trashcan through Google’s front window. Problems are inevitable- but this level of negligence is just plain shocking.

For those of us who make our living online all we can do is keep our fingers crossed; after all, it doesn’t look like Google is going to give us any other option.

Stay tuned for more updates about Google places.

5 Common Blogging Mistakes

By Adam Steele | Marketing, Search Engine Optimization

As internet marketers many of us maintain blogs in order to appeal to our target audience as well as to the search engines. We certainly love what we’re writing about, but we’re also hoping that our hard work will be rewarded with increased sales and a better standing in the search engines. Therefore it’s important to avoid some of the common pitfalls bloggers fall into when managing their website. Here are 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them when managing your blog:

  1. Half hearted writing- This one should be a no-brainer, but sometimes when I come across a potentially entertaining blog it reads like it was written by a 10 year old. When reader’s come across bad spelling, grammar mistakes, and sentences that just don’t flow they are going to look elsewhere for entertainment. If you can’t write well then it may be worth the investment to hire someone who can. Decent writers won’t break the bank, and the small investment will pay off with a loyal readership.

  2. Not interacting correctly with your readers with conversational writing- Your readers want to be spoken to, not spoken at. Rather than given unsolicited advice or rambling off “interesting” facts, try to make your blogs more conversational. Ask questions, state opinions, and present subjects that will entice comments and perhaps even start a heated conversation between users.

  3. Putting your product before your readers- Nothing is worse than a service that gives too much sales pitch. Not unlike like pop-up windows on websites or blogs that are cluttered with ads, your readers will literally resent you if you hit them with too much sales pitch. The key is to give more value than you ask for in return and only pitch your product or service at the bottom of your post. If you respect your users they will respect you back, and be far more inclined to buy your product.

  4. Lack of direction with your posts- Your readers come to your blog to read about your subject, so if your posts don’t stay consistent to a certain theme your readers will no longer see you as an authority in your respective field. They will feel like they don’t know what they’re going to get, and while this may be good for some things, for blog posts you want to stay consistent.

  5. Being stuck in the past- Even if you have the best writing in the world your old website will eventually hurt you. It’s important to make sure that your entire presentation matches the quality of your written content. Use RSS feeds, Facebook, and all the sharing tools you can conjure. You should also use software like Livezilla and Google analytics to track which blog posts perform well then attempt to duplicate the results. Technology is there to help you, so use it for all it’s worth.

When you avoid these common pitfalls your readers will really respect you for it. Your blog following will increase and so will your sales.

Common Sticking Points to Success

By Adam Steele | Business

For those of us who have started an online business the dream of making it on our own is at the forefront of our desires. We wake up every morning full of ideas about how we can make our business successful and we spend our days eagerly working towards our goals.
But while on the journey we encounter the inevitable obstacles that come with owning a business. Some come at the whims of bad luck, such as a hard drive crashing, while others are self imposed.

From my own experience as an entrepreneur it seems like I’m my own worst enemy. Whether it is laziness, lack of focus, or the inability to manage my team, there are four common mistakes that I’ve observed not only within myself, but in many other entrepreneurs that are trying to make it online. Here are some common mistakes we all tend to make, as well as some possible methods to move past them:

Fear of failure- This is perhaps the biggest sticking point for people when they set off to create their own business. Failure is an uncomfortable emotion and most people will do just about anything to avoid it. This is the single most common reason why most of us don’t really go after our dreams, and even for those of us who do, fear of failure is usually the reason we subconsciously place obstacles in our own way.

An important lesson to consider here is that failure is actually a part of success. If we can get comfortable with failure, and realize that is part of the journey, we can face it head on and move past it to our goals. Let’s not forget the lesson of colonel Sanders and Thomas Edison. They saw each failure as a stepping stone to success.

The second sticking point is refusal to take responsibility for every aspect of our business. Many of us, including myself, like to point the finger at outside circumstances when things don’t go the way we want them to. If our product fails were more inclined to look for someone to blame than a way to fix it.

Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, all have one quality in common- they all take full responsibility for the success or failure of their business. They get involved in every aspect of their campaigns and never leave anything to chance. They want to know what is happening and where, and they if something isn’t working they will roll up their sleeves and tweak it until it does.

The third factor is lack of motivation. Contrary to what many websites and advertisements tell us, making money online takes a lot of work and dedication. The most successful names in the business didn’t get to where they are with a stroke of luck (well most of them anyway), they got there with good old fashioned hard work.

For those of us who fall on the lazy side of the fence, getting ourselves to sit down in front of our computers each day and put in an honest day’s work is often easier said than done. That’s why it is extremely important to work on something that you are passionate about. When you love your product or service and truly believe in it, it will be that much easier to stay motivated.

The last sticking point is procrastination. Many of our ideas don’t get past the drawing board because we know implementing them could make us fall victim to the three previous sticking points. We fear we’ll fail, we’re afraid to take responsibility, and we lack motivation. All these combine to form procrastination, which is an entrepreneur’s worst enemy.

The only solution for the “Toxic P” is, to quote Nike, “Just Do It! There comes a point where we have to peel ourselves off the couch, sit down in front of our computers, and do SOMETHING. I’ve found that once I start doing anything, anything at all, the motivation will eventually come and I’ll be able to put together a successful day.

One thing to remember is that you are not alone with your struggles. We all battle with these, and we all have to find motivation to continue moving towards our goals. Just be patient with yourself, recognize your weaknesses, and take steps every day to move past them. With a little persistence even the worst of us can make a handsome living online.

Facebook Cracks Down on Underage Users

By Jackey Chan | Social Media

According to a recent study by Pew Internet and American Life Project almost half of all 12 year old children are actively using social networking sites like Facebook despite not meeting the minimum age requirements as outlined in these sites terms of agreement. That number increases as children grow older, with 82% of kids who are 14-17 claiming to jump on these types of sites regularly.

This figure is disconcerting, especially considering that Facebook takes great measures to keep underage users off their platforms. According to a separate report by the Daily Telegraph, in an effort to combat the widespread underage use of their site, Facebook is booting roughly 20,000 underage users per day.

At first glance, a number like that may seem impressive, but it’s only a fraction of the estimated 600 million active members who hit their platforms on a daily basis. With social networking sites mainly being a “below 40” phenomenon, one can only assume that Facebook isn’t even putting a dent into the underage use of its website.

So, what’s the big deal anyway? Who cares if a kid wants to chat with his/her friends over the internet; share pictures and comment on each other’s walls? Well, according to Senator Franken, who was partly responsible for tightening the noose on Facebook’s haphazard treatment of user’s private information several years ago, the problem comes in youngsters vulnerability to the outside influence of other Facebook users: “These younger users are the most vulnerable to predators on Facebook and the rest of the Internet and it should be impossible for them to inadvertently share their phone numbers and home addresses with anyone.”

One has to admit, that’s pretty much an air tight argument. And Facebook isn’t testing its luck by trying to stand against it either. But this month, Senator Franken and his colleagues added insult to injury by launching another attack on Facebook; telling them that their efforts to curb under age users aren’t nearly enough: “Facebook’s new privacy policy would endanger the privacy and safety of children as young as 13. Under Facebook’s policy, 13 million users under the age of 18 may be allowed to share their personal information just like adult users,” he argued.

At present, Facebook is reeling from this attack, and trying to figure out a way to deter the hundreds of thousands of children who attempt to join their network on a daily basis. In the months ahead expect Facebook and other similar sites to start tightening their restrictions all across the board. Even those who aren’t underage will be affected, possibly even changing the future of social media marketing as we know it.

What do you think? Do you feel children should be permitted to use social media to connect? Are we protecting them or stunting their growth?

Kinect: Internet Marketing Game Changer

By Adam Steele | Marketing

In November of 2010 Microsoft released a product that could potentially change our lives forever. Ok ok, that may be a little over the top, but really, when Microsoft released “Kinect,” which is their new newest periphery for the Xbox 360, the marketing world noticed.

More than just breaking the Guinness book of world records for the fastest selling consumer electronics product in history (they sold 8 million units in two months), the new hardware for the Xbox 360 marks one of the initial steps towards our fully automated futures of online interaction.

The device uses “Primesense” technology to translate real world actions into on-screen representations. We’ve seen this before in gaming systems like the Wii, but Kinect brings a whole new level of possibilities to the table. In addition to sensing motion, the system recognizes voices, captures facial expressions, and can even tell the difference between two players.

When a person first enters the user interface a simple menu appears that is easily controllable with their hands or voice. They can select options and move through menus with hand movements or voice commands that, unlike other systems that use similar technology, need not be exaggerated or repeated. According to some of the 8 million people who currently own the system, it’s extremely simple to use and it reacts smoothly to a user’s every command.

It’s successes like these that make such technologies as augmented reality and interactive browsing a forgone certainty for the future of internet marketing. Imagine sitting at your desktop and as you read this you simply point your finger is a fast downward motion and the article scrolls straight to the bottom. Imagine saying “last page” to skip this mundane article and go back to whence you came. With the technology displayed in the Kinect system, desktop mouses and keyboards could potentially be a thing of the past.

As internet marketers this is something that is extremely important to consider. Think about your business and how something like this might affect your ability to reach your target audience. Is there a way that you can make your product or service more interactive? Is there a way a person could be out in the city with their i-pad and find your business through the application of augmented reality? These are the questions we must ask ourselves as technology speeds forward almost faster than we can keep up.

To see some of the things we have been doing to bring the future more closely to the now, CLICK HERE, or feel free to contact us anytime to learn more about our forward thinking products and services.