Social Media Fails: How Not to Ruin Your Campaign by @Lingo24

It seems like everyone’s into social media marketing these days. Social marketing budgets are set to double over the next five years, although there continues to be a certain amount of confusion about exactly what a campaign can and should be expected to achieve. On the one hand, social media has given businesses a whole new way to engage with their customers. On the other, it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of an individual campaign or ongoing social strategy in terms of a straightforward ROI. A CMO survey found that marketers were increasingly moving away from purely financial metrics […]

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Rank Executives Named Second Best Enterprise SEO Agency by topseos.com … – Marketwired (press release)

Rank Executives Named Second Best Enterprise SEO Agency by topseos.com
Marketwired (press release)
This is accomplished through the use of a set of analysis criteria consisting of five verticals of evaluation used to measure and compare enterprise SEO firms based on the most vital aspects. The five verticals of analysis used during this process
topseoscom Reports Straight North as the Third Top SEO Company for the Consumer Electronics Net
Top Enterprise SEO Services Ratings in Canada Revealed by topseos.com Broadcaster

all 30 news articles »

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Verizon Won’t Stop Tracking Users, But At Least You Can Opt Out Now

The saga of last year’s privacy controversy over Verizon’s user-tracking behavior continues on. The latest chapter involves the wireless carrier magnanimously deciding Friday to let subscribers opt out of the program, the New York Times reported. 

Not that the idea came purely from the goodness of its heart. As the NYT noted, the decision came less than a day after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation wrote to Verizon’s chief executive, Lowell C. McAdam, to question his company’s behavior.

Next thing you know, Verizon agreed to let people jump off the good ship “Privacy Fail.”

Shhhh! We’re Tracking You

The fiasco started last year, when a tweet by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Jacob Hoffman-Andrews pointed out Verizon’s user-tracking tactics—primarily because few, if any, people realized what the wireless operator was doing.

Hoffman-Andrews cited an Ad Age article about Verizon’s advertising business that mentioned the company’s use of PrecisionID, a tool developed by Verizon’s data marketer, Precision Market Insights. Its website describes PrecisionID as “a deterministic identifier matched to devices on Verizon’s wireless network powering data-driven marketing and addressable advertising solutions…”

The system works by tacking on snippets of code—sometimes called “perma-cookies” or “supercookies”—to mobile traffic headers moving through Verizon’s cellular network. This “UIDH” identifier allows the carrier to track its subscribers’ mobile browsing activity for advertising purposes. Ad Age’s Mark Bergen wrote, “Precision packages the request as a hashed, aggregated and anonymous unique identifier, and turns it into a lucrative chunk of data for advertisers.”

See also: Why Verizon Is Tracking All Your Mobile Web Traffic

In a Google AdSense world, user-tracking may not seem that outrageous. The difference: Google makes no secret of its ad-targeting behavior, and people knowingly accept those terms in order to use the search giant’s free services. Verizon Wireless subscribers pay (sometimes hefty) subscription fees, but they apparently didn’t know they were being tracked.

Instead, they became unwitting participants in a program whose security remains in question. As the NYT points out, Verizon must secure those unique identifiers or supercookies, to ensure external attackers can’t get their hands on them.

Verizon “Takes Privacy Seriously” (Kinda) 

Even if people knew about the program, they would have had no way out until now. The company offered no mechanism to decline participation, like it does with other advertising initiatives. It makes sense, in some ways. If no one knows they’re being tracked, where’s the need? Another possibility: Putting something out there might trigger unwanted attention, and Verizon only puts it out there because it’s forced to now.

That is, of course, not the way the carrier positions its decision to let people opt out. According to its latest press statement:

Verizon takes customer privacy seriously and it is a central consideration as we develop new products and services. As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus. 

We listen to our customers and provide them the ability to opt out of our advertising programs. We have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH, and expect that to be available soon. As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs.

The announcement looks like a concession, and a minor one at that. Because if it was serious about privacy, then Verizon would have made user-tracking opt-in, i.e. turned off by default and only activated with consent. Instead, the program is opt-out, indicating it may be turned on by default.

Earlier in January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation began a petition against Verizon and Turn, a partner that makes digital marketing software. The digital rights group seeks demanding punitive federal action for the lack of consumer disclosures over their tracking activity. The petition received more than 2,000 signatures as of Friday. 

Lead photo by Kangrex

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SEO: Google Improves Crawling for Geotargeted Sites – Practical Ecommerce

SEO: Google Improves Crawling for Geotargeted Sites
Practical Ecommerce
Ecommerce sites that use geotargeting to serve different content to customers in different countries have faced challenges with organic search. On Wednesday, Google announced its efforts to overcome these challenges, enabling more multinational sites

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February 5 Webcast- Mobile Search & Click-to-Call

Leveraging visitor phone calls begins with understanding call analytics. Getting visibility into the keyword that led to a call and being able to do something with that information is what differentiates successful mobile advertisers in 2015. In this Digital Marketing Depot webcast, Michael Boland…



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SEO Is Changing: What To Do To Keep Up – Business 2 Community


Chicago Tribune
SEO Is Changing: What To Do To Keep Up
Business 2 Community
SEO five years ago, or even one year ago, is quite different from the SEO of today. Google has implemented several changes to its algorithms that affect how searchers get results, and how marketers get your website found. People today are also spending
How to make high-quality SEO work for youChicago Tribune
Is There Such a Thing as 'Too Local' in SEO?Street Fight
5 Ways To Combine Your PPC & SEO StrategiesSearch Engine People (blog)
Press Release Rocket -PR Newswire India (press release)
all 28 news articles »

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Google Improves Crawling and Indexing of Location-Adaptive Pages by @mattsouthern

Pages can be designed to adapt to a user’s specific location, showing different content to users in different parts of the world. While these types of pages are great for searchers in different countries, they presente crawling changes for Google. Since Googlebot uses US IP addresses, it may not be indexing all content on location-adaptive pages. To combat this challenge Google has introduced improvements to Googlebot that will give it the ability to detect when its crawling location-adaptive pages. These improvements include geo-distributed crawling, and language-dependent crawling. With geo-distributed crawling, Googlebot would start crawling a page using IP addresses that […]

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Google Now Cards Integrated With Third-Party Developer Apps

Third-party developers can now integrated their apps into Google Now Cards.

The post Google Now Cards Integrated With Third-Party Developer Apps appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Make Content SEO-Friendly: What’s Old is New Again – Business 2 Community


Business 2 Community
How to Make Content SEO-Friendly: What's Old is New Again
Business 2 Community
Consider search engine optimization (SEO). When it first came into play, many people were resistant to the idea of “writing for robots” in order to make web pages rank higher on search results. Cramming a well-turned phrase with keywords seemed like an …

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How To Safely Share Passwords With Others Who Need Them

It’s easy to poke fun at companies that treat sensitive information recklessly, sending or receiving plaintext passwords via unencrypted email or chat, or storing customer information in ways that are far from secure. But it can be a logistical nightmare to let multiple remote employees log into a shared account in a secure fashion.

Luckily, there are a few options to make this a little easier. Here’s a quick run-through of some of the best options.

LastPass

Like most password managers, LastPass lets users to log in with just one master password; the tool stores all of their other passwords. Among other things, this makes it easy to create long and complex passwords and to use different passwords for each login account.

In addition, LastPass’ enterprise accounts will let you share login data between individuals and across teams, with customizable permissions. That means that you can choose who has access to which folders, and make changes that are synced automatically. Enterprise accounts cost anywhere from $18 to $24 a year per user, depending on the number of users.

It’s also possible for a Premium account holder to share password information in a single file with up to five other LastPass users, which could be useful for tiny startups, partnerships, or people needing to share passwords with friends or family members. Premium accounts cost $12 a year, and only the main account holder needs to have one.

Because LastPass is cloud-based, it makes things easier for people logging into multiple computers, but has some drawbacks as well. For instance, you’ll be uploading your passwords—though not your master password—to the cloud, though in encrypted form.

In addition, “[a] third party service [like LastPass] will be able to see which sites you have an account on … not the password itself, but when you’re accessing each password,” says privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik, technical advisor for Freedom of the Press Foundation.

KeePass and KeePassX

“Keepass and Keepass X may not be as pretty as all the other tools, but it is open source, it is free, and it works,” Sandvik says. This password manager is one you have on your computer, so no third party knows when you access different sites. However, you do need to make sure you’re backing up the database frequently. (Let’s just say that losing your database of passwords would be … bad.)

To share passwords with others, you need to create a database, enter the password, send the database to another person, and somehow securely send them the password to open the database. We’ll discuss that a little later.

OneLogin

OneLogin is another cloud-based option. OneLogin allows users to log into multiple cloud services using a single sign-on account. It can integrate with a company’s “active directory” of user accounts and permissions.

Another benefit is that OneLogin can integrate with a large variety of enterprise applications. Plans range from $2 to $8 a month; there’s a free version as well.

1Password 

1Password is a personal privacy manager tool that allows users to create several password vaults, and share a single password vault with a group of people who also have 1Password installed. However, you do need to use Dropbox to synchronize the data.

“That is a sharing solution is suitable for a family and a small team, but it’s not an enterprise solution or one for a big company,” says security adviser Per Thorseim, founder of the Passwords hacker conference. Licenses cost $49+.

SplashID Safe for Teams

SplashID is an enterprise product that allows large teams or companies to share passwords and other information with larger groups of people, such as entire departments or large companies. The IT team can create users and groups and permissions, so only people who need access to passwords can see them, or to review logs of records and usage.

Dashlane

Dashlane for Teams is yet another privacy tool that works on the company level. It syncs passwords within a team, which is helpful any time someone needs to change a password, as the change will get pushed out to all team members and their devices.

Dashlane also sends security alerts to users’ devices when an account may have been compromised. A security dashboard provides tips for making an account even more secure. 

Licenses cost $39.99 a year for each user. There’s also a freemium version with very limited features.

Strip

Strip is another enterprise solution that has team password sharing. It allows synchronization over Dropbox, Google Drive, and local Wi-Fi, and creates local backups of data.

Don’t Forget Two-Factor Authentication

LastPass, 1Password, and Onelogin support two-factor authentication, which adds an extra step to checking a user’s identity when they log into a website. For instance, logging into the service require not just a password, but an authorization code that’s texted to a user’s phone.

Two-factor authentication is challenging to use with tools like Twitter if you have a distributed team, since a single phone number must be used, but there are often other options. Google, for example, allows users to generate backup codes, which can be shared with remote users who don’t have access to the mobile device to which the SMS code.

How To Safely Share Just One Password

Suppose you need to send someone just one password, and would rather not deal with the hassle of setting up shared-passworld tools. Or, similarly, say you sent someone a KeePass database, but then also need to send them a password so they can open it. 

“The challenge is that even if you were to store a shared password, you’d still need a password to get into the database in the first place,” Sandvik explains. So what’s the easiest way to safely share that single password?

Options might include sending encrypted emails, which require a bit of technical know-how, or using encrypted phone or messaging apps. Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone (Android) and Signal (iOS) apps are particularly user-friendly.

SnapPass is open-source software used at Pinterest that allows people to send a URL to someone that links to a password. It may require a bit of tinkering to set it up; it stores passwords in a Redis database on the user’s own computer system. 

 “The URL leads to the password,” says web operations consultant Dave Dash, a former internal tools engineer at Pinterest who built SnapPass. He continued:

You can only click on it once and it expires after a few days. If I need to set up an account on any system for someone, I could send them the URL, and then they’d have the password and could then change it for added security.

Dash recommends that anyone setting this up make sure that the application and database aren’t publicly accessible. It’s also wise to limit the number of people who have access to the running application and its associated database.

Of course, there are non-technical solutions as well. You could, for instance, send a password through a different channel than the one used for login information—you could send one through email and another via chat, for instance.

This is the same concept that banks use when they send a debit card in one envelope and a temporary code in a separate one, and mail them out on different days, although of course it’s not foolproof. “That’s an option, but it assumes that NSA isn’t the entity you’re worried about,” Sandvik points out.

 If nothing else, just promise us you won’t store all of your passwords in plaintext in a directory called “passwords.” 

Photo by Tit Bonač

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