Posts tagged Thing

Get Over The ‘Next Big Thing’: An Interview on SEO With Duane Forrester by @wonderwall7

Duane Forrester, a Senior Project Manager at Bing who oversees Webmaster Tools, has allowed us to start syndicating his well-written, thoughtful blog pieces on SEO. Over late night emails, he answered my questions on SEO, our industry, and why we need to stop waiting for the “next big thing”. In your first syndicated post for SEJ, you said, “Mostly what it means is that if a business is singularly focused (we’ll focus mainly on SEO this year, and focus on social later), you could be falling behind and not realize it.” That really stuck out to me. What are three strategies marketers […]

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Right To Be Forgotten “Small Thing” Vs. Copyright Takedowns Says EU Commissioner

European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding was quoted in a BBC interview saying that the Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) will be relatively easy for Google to administer. She asserted that, compared to the millions of copyright removal requests Google deals with, the thousands of RTBF requests…

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Stack Overflow Founder’s Next Big Thing: Reinventing Online Communities

Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) is one of the industry’s quiet legends of coding, most famous for co-founding what became Stack Overflow, the popular developer Q&A site that boasts more than 150 million page views per month.

What I find most interesting about Atwood, however, is his focus on trying to understand human behavior. He uses open source to create places on the Web where people are self-motivated to participate and share high quality information and advice with others for free.

His next endeavor aims to reinvent how we think about online discussion forums, those vital and yet often overlooked communities of like-minded individuals who stir up interesting conversations and help each other out with problems (technical or otherwise). Atwood not only wants to reenvision these fora, he wants to help them scale to manage even greater growth.

I recently caught up with Atwood to talk about his new project, Discourse, a competitor to Jive and Lithium, among others. Discourse is the forum software powering Ubuntu’s online community and the popular news and culture site BoingBoing, which alone attracts four million monthly unique visitors. If you’re in the Bay Area on June 19, you can catch Atwood speaking on a panel at ForumCon (organized by VigLink) in San Francisco about the future of discussion on the Web.

Making Self-Governance Work

ReadWrite: Stack Overflow is the most popular Q&A site in the world for developers. What is the secret sauce and what types of lessons learned are you bringing over from Stack Overflow to forums?

Jeff Atwood: The central theme of Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange) is self-governance. The only kind of moderation that scales with the community is the community. At Discourse, we believe deeply in empowering the people who show up every day and demonstrate that they care about their community, the people in it, and the way that community presents itself to the world. Who takes care of public parks? We all do. And everyone benefits.

This natural trust level progression at Discourse is handled in a much more subtle way than the overt reputation system at Stack Exchange. Discussion platforms are generally about social discussion and sharing opinions, not publicly verifiable data, facts and science. The two most important factors we look at are reading (aka listening) and consistent participation over time.

There’s also a system of community flagging that is factored in, that lets the community collectively edit its own behavior even in the absence of any formal moderators. Through the trust system, Discourse communities develop a natural immune system that repels the trolls, spam, and hate that eventually tear apart communities on other forum software.

RW: How important is open source to what you do? Or does it matter at all?    

JA: At Stack Overflow we released all Q&A under a Creative Commons license so that people could use the content elsewhere if Stack Overflow ever shut down or started charging for subscriptions. This was our guarantee to the community: If you spend time here and contribute your time to assist other developers, we can’t take that away from you, or anyone else. Ever.

Similarly, Discourse is 100% open source, licensed under the GPL. The type of people that can build a community tend to be famous, and already have their own empires. With an open-source license, we can give them a great community platform with no risk, because nobody, including we, can ever take the underlying code away from them.

Change in a community is difficult enough without being locked in to proprietary, expensive platforms.

Most traditional forums ship with a default “we own all your content” license for user submissions, which we think is bad for users and bad for the web. The default Discourse license for user submissions is Creative Commons. People who contribute to a community deserve shared rights to their contributions, along with the greater web. After all, they built it.

Open source also means the project can evolve faster via a worldwide network of community contributions. Discourse is already one of the top 40 most Starred projects on GitHub, and it only launched in 2013. The community has translated Discourse into 17 languages. They’ve also developed a range of plug-ins to extend the features of Discourse.

Scale That Mountain

RW: With Stack Exchange getting 150 million page views each month, you obviously know about scalable systems. Can you give some advice to our readers?

JA: There are two types of scale. I’ve already explained some of the human factors related to scaling a community of people, and that’s a far deeper challenge. We’ve built Discourse with mature, scalable open-source web technologies: Ruby, Javascript, Redis, and PostgreSQL. We’re also using Docker for deployment. As you would expect from the founder of Stack Overflow, we use proven software engineering techniques. Discourse is a project designed to last for a decade and scale to millions of users.

RW: How can people monetize forums?

JA: There’s the obvious method of advertising with VigLink, Google Ads, or similar ad networks. You can also charge community members an optional fee to participate. Forums can also be a great marketplace to buy and sell unique goods, such as vintage clothing, sneakers, or watches. In exchange for easy buying and selling facilities, the forum takes a small percentage.

We hope to create the same thriving business ecosystem around Discourse that currently exists for WordPress. For example:

  • Design. Businesses will want their Discourse communities to have their own branded look and feel. Web designers can use standard CSS/HTML to offer custom Discourse design services.
  • Themes. In the future, we expect there to be a market for standard Discourse themes.
  • Plug-ins. We currently have support for plug-ins and the infrastructure for building (and finding) plugins is something we’re working hard on.
  • Hosting. There are already a number of hosting providers and open source packaging services offering Discourse.
  • Consulting. For experts in Discourse who can assist businesses in rolling out deployments, customizing them, and maintenance.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Why Net Neutrality Became A Thing For The Internet Generation

The Platform is a regular column by mobile editor Dan Rowinski. Ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence and pervasive networks are changing the way humans interact with everything.

FCC commissioner Mike O’Rielly had just finished torrid remarks opposing the notice for proposed rulemaking over the open Internet yesterday when a young woman in the crowd got to her feet and started yelling.

“I speak on behalf of the Internet generation, we vote for a free and open Internet….” She didn’t get much further than that. She tried to say something about Title II and common carriers, but was promptly picked up by security and taken out the door.

Everybody and their mothers (especially FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s mother, apparently) are up in arms about this net neutrality thing. Why now? Net neutrality has been an idea, and occasionally a set of somewhat spotty regulations, kicking around the Internet for years, and the public hasn’t ever much seemed to care.

Even a week ago, if you’d ask people for their thoughts on “common carrier” regulation or “Title II” or “paid prioritization,” you’ll probably get a lot of blank stares. (Now, though, they can study up with ReadWrite explainer on everything you need to know about net neutrality and the FCC.)

But American citizens are sure paying attention now. I mean, who really goes to a FCC open meeting to shout down the commissioners? 

People have come to realize the undeniable and basic fact that the Internet is the platform of the 21st century. This isn’t just about the World Wide Web, smartphones, apps, the Internet of Things or smart cities. This is the whole shebang, the entire substructure that underpins the digital age.

And people have also come to realize that their freedom and privacy on the Internet face some very real threats from some very large corporations and organizations. 

Quick Thoughts: Google Play Accepts PayPal

You might not think it a big deal, but the fact that Google Play now accepts PayPal as a payment method caused a big debate in the ReadWrite newsroom. In my mind, this is just another way for Google to allow people across the world pay for apps and media, just like all the new payment methods it added to Google Play Services at I/O last year. But our Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas believes it signifies much more.

PayPal and Google have battled over the payments space for a long time, though the fight has been pretty one-sided; PayPal has emerged as the dominant company in online transactions. Is the PayPal partnership with Google Play an admission of defeat by Google, one that implies its Wallet product is basically dead and useless? I have covered Google fairly closely for years and Owen has covered PayPal since its Series A funding in the late 1990s. We have diverging opinions.

To me, the partnership looks like business as usual. Google is setting up new developer services ahead of I/O 2014 and PayPal’s goal is to move horizontally through the tech industry and make partnerships with everybody. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

The Internet Generation, per that FCC protestor, has been emboldened. These are people jaded by news of the NSA’s incessant digital spying and their Internet providers’ complicity in it. These are individuals that hold little goodwill for the cable and cellular carriers that keep foisting higher Internet service fees on them while also imposing bandwidth caps and other restrictions. Complaining about your Comcast or Verizon bill has become a national hobby.

There’s plenty of precedent for this activism. Demonstrations against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and CISPA actually derailed changes that many saw as bad for the Internet, fueled by a culture of dissent stemming from the Occupy movement and protests against the tech industry in San Francisco. Many in this generation appear to be wary of wealth, wary of mega-corporations and ready to light up at a moment’s notice to protect what they think is just and right.

An open Internet governed by net neutrality rules seems to strike many of them as just and right.

This generation, after all, has grown up the Internet as a ubiquitous and ever-present utility. It’s a generation that doesn’t think of broadband as an information service—it has no memory of Usenet, or bulletin boards or AOL or Web “portals”—but a utility like water or electricity. This generation wants its broadband access on tap, on demand, for a fair and reasonable price.

The Title II Panacea May Not Be

Net-neutrality supporters are suspicious of an FCC that has twice failed to protect an open Internet—most recently, when it lost a court battle to Verizon over its ability to regulate broadband as an “information service.” That ruling brings us straight to this week, where the FCC is trying, yet again, to create rules for net neutrality that it can actually enforce.

Supporters now believe that if the FCC re-classifies broadband providers as “common carriers” under its authority via Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, then all will be hunky-dory with net neutrality.

Title II is most likely the FCC’s strongest legal choice. Its other option—cobbling together authority under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act—would be a much trickier proposition, and might well get overruled again in court.

Broadband providers already act like common-carrier utilities when it suits their purposes. According to a report from the Public Utility Law Project this week, Verizon has played the Title II card to build its broadband infrastructure in New York and New Jersey when it was convenient to use public infrastructure to do so. Basically, Verizon is using public utilities to help build its broadband system (and often doing a bad job of it). Through its actions, companies like Verizon basically show that they are public utilities and hence should be regulated as such.

Quote Of The Day: “I don’t like the idea that the internet could be divided into haves and have-nots, and I will work to see that that does not happen. In this item we have specifically asked whether and how to prevent the kind of paid prioritization that could result in fast lanes.” ~ FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the commission’s open meeting yesterday.

But here’s the kicker: Title II would give the FCC greater power to regulate broadband providers as common carriers, but that doesn’t mean the FCC will necessarily use it wisely.

The issue that has everybody up in arms is paid prioritization, which could allow for the Internet “fast lanes” (allowing broadband providers to charge companies more for faster Internet service). And paid prioritization is an issue because FCC chairman Tom Wheeler first floated the idea of formalizing the practice in FCC regulation last month.

And the proposed rules the FCC released yesterday still contain significant loopholes that would permit paid prioritization, despite Wheeler’s rhetorical insistence that he will fight fast lanes to the end. 

If the FCC goes down the Title II route—and successfully defends itself against the inevitable lawsuits—it will have the wherewithal to regulate the Internet for good or ill. Public pressure has already forced it to support net neutrality, at least rhetorically. More will be necessary to make sure it follows through, particularly once the spotlight of public attention moves on.

It’s equally possible to imagine a future FCC—say, one dominated by free-market advocates under a Republican administration—smuggling Internet fast lanes back into its regulatory scheme. Giving the FCC power to regulate broadband as a utility might seem like a great idea, but proponents of net neutrality should be careful what they wish for.

More On The FCC, Title II And Net Neutrality

Lead photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Zuckerberg: Facebook Graph Search Is “A Five-Year Thing”

It’s been more than a year since Facebook introduced Graph Search to the world — its first foray into developing a serious search product for Facebook users. If you think development of Graph Search has been moving at a snail’s pace, you’re probably not alone. The rollout to…

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One Thing You Must Do For YouTube SEO – Business 2 Community

One Thing You Must Do For YouTube SEO
Business 2 Community
Making good content is the best thing you can do for YouTube SEO. Right now, YouTube is all about watch-time. The best way to rank high in YouTube searches is to have a high watch-time; watch-time is the actual minutes and seconds someone spends …

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The One Thing HTC Did Right With The HTC One M8

The greatest paradox in the smartphone wars is that of HTC. The smartphone manufacturer had a critical hit on its hands in 2013 with the HTC One, a beautiful and functional Android device that was a top choice for many reviewers last year. But the phone didn’t sell and HTC’s profits and revenue suffered, so the future for the company remains uncertain.

HTC’s survival depends on how its next great flagship smartphone performs, and by the looks of the new HTC One M8 announced today, the company might have another critical success on its hands.

HTC’s biggest flaw last year had little to do with the One’s software, hardware or design. It was that it built up so much hype and then shipped late.

The original HTC One was announced in mid-February with the promise it would be in stores by March. By the end of April, it was still nowhere to be found; the hype cycle passed it by when Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 and shipped it the following period.

HTC lost its window to dominate the news cycle, get its smartphones in consumer hands and build network effects. In the end, the HTC One was a good-looking device that fairly few people actually bought.

This year’s follow-up to the HTC One will be available to 230 carriers across the world in 100 different countries and ship to most of them by the end of April.

HTC has learned from its mistakes. The One M8 is available today to order in the U.S. and will ship to most countries internationally on April 10 or by the end of April. It starts at $650 for 16 GB versions and will be available on contract for $199 through carriers in the U.S. You can walk into a Verizon store in the U.S. right now and buy the new HTC One M8 or order it from any one of the three of the four major American carriers (outside of T-Mobile, which hasn’t announced availability except for sometime in April) and have it arrive this week. 

For HTC, that is nothing short of a miracle. 

Oh, and the phone is pretty snazzy too.

Top Of The Line For The One M8

HTC is one company that judges the wind of mobile very well while adhering to its own game. The new HTC One (despite the really awful M8 moniker) is everything that reviewers liked about the original HTC One, and then some. 

Any discussion of HTC phones starts with design. The HTC One M8 is a little bigger than its predecessor with a 5-inch screen with a 440 pixel-per-inch display. The body is bigger and has the same “Boom” speakers, though they have been redesigned to be louder and clearer. HTC is employing the brand new Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor that Qualcomm announced earlier this year, which means the HTC One M8 will release with top-of-the-line internal specs to go along with its sleek industrial design.

The metal unibody from the original HTC One is back in the M8 model, with 90% metal (as opposed to 70% in the last version) and a polished mirror finish and hairline texture. HTC will release the M8 in a variety of metallic colors, including gold, gray and silver.

The battery on the HTC One M8 is 2,600 mAh and HTC has promised both power-saving and “ultra power-saving” modes. In ultra power-saving mode, the battery can last up to two weeks on standby, basically only receiving and sending texts and phone calls. Power-saving modes are commonplace on devices running Android these days.

The Camera Is Seeing Double

HTC likes to get tricky with the cameras on its phones. The One M8 has two back cameras, including one with a 28 mm lens that uses HTC’s so-called “Ultra Pixel” technology, which purportedly captures more light than a regular megapixel camera. The second camera on the HTC One M8, positioned above the main camera, captures detailed depth information about a scene through hardware. It knows which objects are closer to the camera which are further away and can use its hardware—as opposed to software—to tell the difference. It’s really not all that different from what other smartphone cameras do, but basically, the second camera on the HTC One M8 is a hardware depth sensor that acts like HDR software. The idea of the camera is impressive, but an initial review from The Verge says the quality is only mediocre.

The front camera on the HTC One M8 is a 5-megapixel, wide-angle camera that, from a specs perspective, is one the best to be featured on the front of a smartphone.

HTC is opening the camera hardware up to developers through an API to build upon its new features.

The Sixth Sense

HTC has done a couple of good things to the launcher it traditionally lays on top of its products, called HTC Sense. Now in its sixth iteration (HTC playfully calls “Sense 6″ as the “Sixth Sense”), HTC shows it has learned some lessons about software deployment.

HTC has completely redesigned Sense, pixel by pixel. It has also opened it up. BlinkFeed, the newsfeed-like homescreen introduced in the first HTC One, is now open to developers so they can provide contextual information for users. FitBit and Foursquare are the first partners in the new BlinkFeed, showing both location-relevant information and exercise statistics to users of those services. 

Importantly, HTC Sense updates will soon be available through Google Play. Instead of waiting for a full firmware update that needs to be run through the carriers, HTC can just update Sense as if it were an app in Google Play.

HTC said it will also release Google Play and Developer editions of the HTC One M8, which will not feature the full Sense 6 launcher. 

HTC has also changed the homescreen on the One M8 to receive gesture controls for simple actions like telling the time or seeing one’s notifications without needing to press the power button. In this way, HTC has basically created its own type of capabilities for the One M8 similar to Motorola and its Moto X smartphone, thanks to the X8 computing system. The HTC One M8 can sense proximity, speed and motion through sensors that always stay on but remain at low power, so as not to drain the phone’s battery.

The bottom line? It looks like HTC has a winner on its hands with the HTC One M8. It will be critically reviewed by all smartphone illuminati and many users will probably like it if they buy one. Whether people actually do buy this new phone will go a long way in answering the paradox that is HTC’s market position and future viability.


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SEO Myths Revisited: A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing – Dental Economics

Business 2 Community
SEO Myths Revisited: A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing
Dental Economics
We have said it before, and we are about to say it again. Even though SEO is one of the most important elements of Internet marketing, it's also one of the most misunderstood. Last month, we tried to help clear some of the fog surrounding the subject
3 Ways SEMrush Can Make SEO More EffectiveSearch Engine Watch
BLOG: SEO and tire dealers: Time to learn the basicsTire Business (blog)
4 Common SEO Limitations With Free or Low-Cost Website BuildersBusiness 2 Community (blog) -Free Press Release Center (press release) -Search Engine Journal
all 16 news articles »

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The Number One Thing PPC Consultants Should Be Doing To Retain Clients by @AndrewLolk

As the head of a 78-member strong paid search agency, I tend to think a lot about how to retain clients. In fact, every single consultant must and should be thinking about the magical number that is your churn rate. It is much cheaper to keep your existing clients than to chase new clients. Keeping […]

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Andrew Lolk

Co-Founder at White Shark Media at White Shark Media

Andrew Lolk is the author of the 189-page free AdWords ebook The Proven AdWords Strategy. He’s worked in AdWords since 2009 and have co-founded White Shark Media; A Paid Search agency specialized in delivering results for small to mid-sized businesses in the US.

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Will Link Building Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?

The other day while working on a client proposal, I came to the section about link building and had to pause. While everything we include in a proposal is relevant, strategic, and in my opinion, a good tactic, I wasn’t sure I wanted to position it as link building. As someone who has been…

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