Top 10 search engines in the World (A repost) Friday, May 15 2015 

Which are the 10 best and most popular search engines in the World? Besides Google and Bing there are other search engines that many not be so well known but still serve millions of search queries per day.

Alex Smith

Authored by
Alex Smith

It may be a shocking surprise for many people but Google is not the only search engine available today on the Internet! In fact there are a number of search engines that try to remove Google from its throne but none of them is ready (yet) to even pose a threat. Nevertheless, there are search engines that are worth considering and the top 10 are presented below.

  1. Google – No need for further introductions. The search engine giant holds the first place in search with a stunning difference of 45% from second in place Bing. According to the latest comscore report (October 2012) 69.5% of searches were powered by Google and 25% by Bing. Google is also dominating the mobile/tablet search engine market share with 89%!
  2. Bing – Bing is Microsoft’s attempt to challenge Google in the area of search but despite their efforts they still did not manage to convince users that their search engine can produce better results than Google.
  3. Yahoo – Since October 2011 Yahoo search is powered by Bing. Yahoo is still the most popular email provider and according to reports holds the third place in search.
  4. com – Formerly known as Ask Jeeves, Ask.com receives approximately 3% of the search share. ASK is based on a question/answer format where most questions are answered by other users or are in the form of polls. It also has the general search functionality but the results returned lack quality compared to Google or even Bing and Yahoo.
  5. AOL.com – According to netmarketshare the old time famous AOL is still in the top 10 search engines with a market share that is close to 0.6%. The AOL network includes many popular web sites like engadget.com, techchrunch.com and the huffingtonpost.com.
  6. Blekko.com – com was developed by ex-Googlers and they present themselves as the “spam free search engine”.  It is better suited for webmasters and SEO’s who need more data for SEO purposes rather than normal users.
  7. Wolframalpha – wolframalpha is different that all the other search engines. They market it as a Computational Knowledge Engine which can give you facts and data for a number of topics. It can do all sorts of calculations, for example if you enter  “mortgage 2000” as input it will calculate your loan amount, interest paid etc. based on a number of assumptions.  social-media-roi
  8. DuckDuckGo – Has a number of advantages over the other search engines. It has a clean interface, it does not track users, it is not fully loaded with ads and has a number of very nice features (only one page of results, you can search directly other web sites etc). I am sure that some of the features of duckduckgo will be used by other search engines and with some proper funding duckduckgo can get a decent search engine market share.
  9. WayBackMachineorgis the internet archive search engine. You can use it to find out how a web site looked since 1996. It is very useful tool if you want to trace the history of a domain and examine how it has changed over the years.
  10. com – According to alexa chacha.com is the 8th most popular search engine with a ranking position of 297 in the US. It is similar to ask.com where users can ask or answer a particular question. They also have a number of quizzes that can help you decide on a number of topics. It’s not bad at all and the answers are precise and to the point. For example if you search “What is the best search engine?” you will get an answer that Google is the best and most popular search engine and Yahoo is on the second place.

These are the 10 best and most popular search engines on the Internet today. The list is by no means complete and for sure many more will be created in the future but as far as the first places are concerned, Google and Bing will hold the lead positions for years to come.

Alex Smith

Authored by
Alex Smith

Top 10 search engines in the World by Alex Chris

https://www.reliablesoft.net/top-10-search-engines-in-the-world/

5 super easy tips for better online security on Safer Internet Day Wednesday, Apr 29 2015 

Safer Internet Day is Every February 10, the occasion is meant to be a reminder — particularly to young people — of the perils of the Internet.

internet-security

The hope is to encourage more responsibility when we use the Internet and mobile technology. That can mean a lot of things and can be as simple as being more respectful online.

But it’s also a reminder to better protect yourself and your personal information. Google, for example, is using the day to remind people about the importance of online security. Coincidentally, the U.S. government happened to announce a new government agency completely dedicated to combating cyberthreats on Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: 11 free tools to protect your online activity from surveillance

Of course, it’s always a good time to remind people that it’s easier and perhaps more common than ever before to fall victim to online attackers and cybersecurity risks. Every person should be taking measures to stay safer online. Before your eyes glaze, we have some very easy things that anyone can do to protect themselves online.

1. Use two-factor authentication

With two-factor authentication, users have to provide, in addition to a typical password, a one-time code when using a log-in service. In most cases, the code is sent to your phone — in a text message, for example. So after entering your password, you then have to put in what’s basically a one-time second password.

Based on your preferences, two-factor authentication can occur every time you log in to something or only occasionally, like when logging into an account on a new device.

Many major websites offer two-factor confirmations. Google was among the first. But now a bevy of them — including Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook — offer some form of login approval.

It might seem simple, but just a smidgen of time can almost double password security.

2. Update your browser and devices!

Browsers, operating systems and mobile devices often need updates. Sure, this can be a pain, but it’s important. Many times, updates are intended to patch just-now-discovered security problems.

Researchers are constantly finding new security holes that cyberattackers can exploit. So if an update notice comes through, never hesitate. It could be the difference between losing 15 minutes of your time and a hacker gaining control of your computer.

3. Use unique passwords and a password manager
People are really bad at making strong passwords. In 2014, the most common leaked passwords were “123456” and “password.” It’s also typical for people to include their birth year (especially those born between 1989 and 1992) in their passwords.

Hackers are up to your tricks. For each login, each website, each service, you should be using unique passwords that have nothing to do with a dead pet or your birthday. “But how do I remember all these passwords?” you might be asking. Well, you don’t have to.

There are a number of good password management services, such as LastPass or 1Password, that can generate and store login information in a virtual vault. Some even offer security-checking features that will let you know if you have duplicate or weak passwords.

4. Get a Google security checkup
Google is offering Drive users an extra 2GB of storage space if they take part in its Security Checkup program by Feb. 17. It takes a few minutes to run some quick tests on your Google accounts. To get started, click here.

The feature offers an overview of your recent sign-in activity (to see if any unusual devices are logging into your accounts). With the checkup, users can also grant and revoke account permissions on their devices, as well as add recovery information — such as a phone number — to help Google get in touch if something is up with your accounts.

5. Use HTTPS whenever you can
HTTPS is the secure version of hypertext transfer protocol — the letters that come before the “www.” in a web address. That last “S” can provide a big difference, however. HTTPS works to bidirectionally encrypt information sent between you and a website’s servers.

It isn’t perfect. HTTPS will not protect you from, say, government surveillance, but it can be surprisingly sophisticated in its protections. BMW, for example, failed to use HTTPS when transmitting data via its ConnectedDrive car system. That made the car vulnerable to remote hackers, who could have exploited that oversight to open car doors.

Most major websites are compatible with HTTPS, but it is best to be cognizant of the web addresses you’re using. There are tools, too, such as HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, that works to automatically switch any HTTP address over to HTTPS.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL Thursday, Jan 29 2015 

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: WHAT THE VANISHING MANUAL SAYS ABOUT US

0-how-to-camera

Instructional diagrams, like this one from the Voigtlander Vito II camera, have been going the way of the dinosaurs.

In the late 17th century, the printer Joseph Moxon published Mechanick Exercises, the first guide to printing in any language. It had been nearly 240 years since the debut of Gutenberg’s press, and books had proliferated. There were Bibles, of course, along with lots of schlocky literature, some porn, and guides to everyday topics—how to polish jewels, how to cast a spell against your enemy. But Moxon’s manual was subtly different. It rang with a decidedly DIY tone and suggested that readers could learn a new trade, at home, in their spare time.

To someone in 17th-century Europe, this was a deeply subversive notion. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance, age-old social hierarchies held firm. You were born into a station, whether peasantry or trade work or aristocracy, and you and your family remained there for generations. But then came science and technology, and with them new trades and opportunities. With no established guild system in place for many of these new professions (printer, navigator, and so on), readers could, with the help of a manual, circumvent years of apprenticeship and change the course of their lives, at least in theory.

These books, filled with ingenious methods, offered something new and relatively democratic: agency, skill, and command for anyone who could read.

Mechanick Exercises was not the first manual. Vitruvius’s Ten Books on Architecture is one of the only true manuals to survive from antiquity. It offers clear and concise instructions for how and where to construct a house (not in a dell, for instance), where to orient your summer and winter rooms, and many other useful matters. Scribes in the Middle Ages produced their shared guides too. One of the most consistently produced titles in the entire history of writing, the 15th-century Aristotle’s Masterpiece, is a sex manual. But where those early books served as compendia of sorts—the compiled wisdom on any given subject—Moxon’s manual and others like it promised something more: systematic treatments for solving complex problems, such as how to lift a horse with your little pinkie (and a pulley system), how to survey land and on building a fortification. These were books filled with ingenious methods, and they offered something new and relatively democratic: agency, skill, and command for anyone who could read.

Feats of Science

Anderson Newton Design

Moxon’s manual explained how to lift a horse with your pinkie (and a pulley system).

And so it went. As manuals explained more complex systems, they grew in size, developing into the heavy, barely penetrable and largely unread books that most people think of today. But then in the 1980s, the manual began to change. Instead of growing, it began to shrink and even disappear. Instead of mastery, it promised competence. My new iPhone, for instance, came with a “manual” that was about as brief as a Christmas card (and I did not read it). A recent rental car did not come with a manual at all, making its nonreading a snap (but finding out how to pop the trunk rather difficult).

The manuals of old, it turns out, have shape-shifted inward, into the devices themselves. That, or their information has been off-loaded to help-desk support or a parallel, Internet FAQ universe: a searchable realm often filled with answers to almost every question but the one you are asking. Change is the way of the universe, but what does it say that most of us now live our lives using tools that are, practically speaking, beyond our understanding or ability to fix? Have we traded away something important, perhaps even defining, about ourselves—a sense of our own autonomy and control over our tools—for the dubious benefit of convenience?

The Man Who Killed The Manual

If the era of minimalist manual design in which we live could be traced back to one person, it would be John Carroll. In 1976, Carroll, a linguistic psychologist, was finishing his Ph.D. at Columbia University and took a job at IBM’s Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. His job was to help make computer programmers more efficient, but that quickly changed to a new focus—making computers more usable for average people. That was a big shift in thinking. “You have to remember,” Carroll says, “IBM was probably the richest computer research facility in the world, but at the time, the idea of focusing on the average everyday user was sort of off the radar.”

Carroll was doing, in essence, dissident research. He set up a lab, gave secretaries computers and manuals, and then studied them as they tried to accomplish regular office tasks. He tracked “frustration episodes,” observing as subjects became progressively more flummoxed by their manuals. “People would look at me, shaking, and they’d say, ‘I can’t do this.’ And then they’d get up and put their coat on. One person literally had to flee the building,” he says.

Though Carroll had worked at IBM for more than a decade, his quiet revolution—a culture-wide shift not just in the shape of manuals but in how we learn to use technology—didn’t coalesce until one day while he was on a vacation in Germany. He had just finished a manuscript that would become his groundbreaking minimalist opus, but he had no title for it. Then, in the basement of a castle in Nurnberg, he saw a postcard of a painting depicting an old German folktale: two professorial-looking gentlemen in a library standing over a young student who had a funnel affixed to the top of his head. The teachers are busily choosing potions from the library shelves and pouring knowledge down the funnel and into the boy. For Carroll, the image clearly represented the dominant paradigm in most scientific fields—the “systems approach,” a way of dividing the world into taxonomic orders and protocols of action. In computer science, that meant learning an arcane and exacting “command language” and typing directives precisely as prescribed by the system. Carroll’s book, The Nurnberg Funnel, outlined a new philosophy. Instead of focusing on the needs and values of the system designers, it shifted attention onto the end-user, the secretary in the office who needs to hyphenate a compound word.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, among others, quickly adopted a similar approach and more would soon follow. Writing a manual from a minimalist point of view, Carroll says, proved enormously successful because it harnessed the true source of all learning—active engagement. Short, succinct manuals allow the user to dive into many different tasks and to accomplish them quickly, thereby gaining a sense of control and autonomy that inspires further learning. “Skeptics would say we weren’t providing the user with any theoretical foundation,” Carroll says, “but we found that people got through their initial learning faster, and that later on, when they needed to learn more complex tasks, the users were also better at doing that, too.”

Manual As Mirror

So manuals began to slip from view. They still exist, sure. Highly complex things, like jet planes or nuclear plants, rely on big integrated enterprise resource planning systems, into which an army of sensors and engineers log the status and service history of every part in order to maintain standards. Many think that BP’s failure, in effect, to update the manual of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig led to the spill in the Gulf. But for most consumer products, the manual has become less an object or a thing and more a verb, a service, a response to the statement most likely uttered (or yelled at the top of one’s lungs) by someone stymied by a gadget: Help.

According to Carroll, the help we once sought from a manual is now mostly embedded into the apps we use every day. It could also be crowdsourced, with users contributing Q&As or uploading how-to videos to YouTube, or it could programmed into a weak artificial intelligence such as Siri or Cortana. Help can even be predictive, tracking our keystrokes or vocal cues to steer us away from trouble before we find it. Xerox is already using predictive analytics to manage calls from Medicare and Medicaid recipients more effectively. And IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor, part of a new generation of cognitive assistants, can analyze large sets of customer service problems to more efficiently answer (or even anticipate) problems during a purchase. Help may soon arrive in the form of augmented reality. Carroll suggests that technology like Google Glass might one day offer a “task intelligence” visual overlay to help users figure out objects in their field of view.

Google Glass

Anderson Newton Design

Augmented reality devices like Google Glass could introduce a new form of interactive manual into the world.

For most of us, the transition from physical manuals to embedded help has been slow, steady, and apparently benign, like the proverbial tide that lifts all boats—who would argue against help after all? The disappearance of the manual-as-book coincides, moreover, with documented realities about how people actually learn to use new tools and devices. Studies published by the Society for Technical Communication, which regularly reports on “human-machine interaction,” suggest that even when manuals are available, people tend not to read or use them.

Yet even as we gladly cede more and more control of our tools, a growing chorus is calling attention to the costs. In his book Who Owns the Future?, computer scientist and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier uses the analogy of the Sirens from Homer’s Odyssey. The creatures would lull sailors into complacency with their beautiful songs, only to have their boats wreck on the rocks. Lured by the convenience of the Internet, search engines, and all that they promise, most consumers are, in Lanier’s estimation, similar to those doomed sailors: a little too ready to give “the sirens control of the interaction.” Kimberly Nasief, president and co-founder of Measure Consumer Perspectives, a consumer monitoring and customer service consultancy based in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote about how Apple’s ease-of-use might be making her a dumber user. She tried out an Android tablet, and the greater complexity of the operating system actually forced her to learn more: “It made me develop some critical thinking on how the system I was using worked. With Apple, I don’t have to do that. It does it for me. And that just might be dangerous. Dangerous in that if I no longer am learning, or if it’s done for me, then I might just get technologically left behind,” she wrote.

If manuals began as great equalizers, then their disappearance should at least give us pause.

Today the hazards of being left behind seem ever more real. Even Carroll notes that research has suggested an unforeseen consequence of the minimalist approach. Furnished only with a manual of one or two pages, users soon reach a comfort zone, a knowledge plateau from which they tend not to wander. The aggregate effect, culturally, may be that less is less. The less we’re inclined to know about our devices, the more beholden we are to the manufacturers that make them, and the more we offer control to those who, for good or for ill, know more than we do. If manuals began as great equalizers, then their disappearance should at least give us pause. By dispensing with them, we could, consciously or no, be setting the stage for something few would relish: a society divided.

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Instructions Not Included”.

Net Neutrality Thursday, Jan 15 2015 

On Jan. 14, 2014, a federal court of appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, which was designed to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing users’ connections to online content. The court did not comment on the validity of these rules but simply said that the FCC had used the wrong legal foundation to justify them.

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In response, on May 15 FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released flawed Internet rules that would let ISPs charge content companies for priority treatment — relegating all other content to a slower tier of service.

Wheeler’s plan would let telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And it would destroy the open Internet.

Without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to devise new schemes to charge users more for access and services, making it harder for us to communicate online — and easier for companies to censor our speech. The Internet could come to resemble cable TV, where gatekeepers exert control over where you go and what you see.

Without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to block content and speech they don’t like, reject apps that compete with their own offerings, and prioritize Web traffic (reserving the fastest loading speeds for the highest bidders and sticking everyone else with the slowest).

The tools ISPs use to block and control our communications aren’t different from the ones the NSA uses to watch us. Whether it’s a government or a corporation wielding these tools or the two working together, this behavior breaks the Internet as we know it and makes it less open and secure.

We must fight to ensure the Internet we love doesn’t become a platform for corporate speech or another tool for government spying. We must protect the Internet that lets us connect and create, that rejects censorship and values our right to privacy.

The Internet should remain a forum for innovation and free expression. Open, affordable, fast and universal communications networks are essential to our individual, economic and political futures.

For our 101 on Net Neutrality, click here.

9 tips to make your WordPress blog more secure Thursday, Jan 8 2015 

anirban_banerjee

by Anirban Banerjee

Jun 5, 2014

Easily one of the most popular blogging platforms preferred by the amateur and professional alike, WordPress has many advantages over its competitors. However, its relative ease of use and many attractive themes and capabilities must be enhanced by WordPress security and protection, so that your website doesn’t fall victim to malware attacks that exploit weaknesses in coding – or anything.

In the spirit of WordPress security, then, consider these nine tips to keeping your site up-and-running well:

1. The first tip is to take a proactive approach regarding unused plugins, themes and other additions stored in your WordPress content directory; they are almost certainly outdated, which makes them susceptible to hackers and their bots. Software makers update their programs precisely because updates eliminate holes that can be exploited. Basically; discard your old unused stuff and get the latest versions of the new ones.

2. The second tip for better WordPress security is quite general for anything you do online requiring your personal details; this doesn’t make it any less significant, however. Use a maximally strong password. This means alternate capital letters, numbers and special characters. Furthermore, if you have multiple websites up, make sure you use a different password for each one; in fact, there are powerful password-generation plugins available for WordPress protection.

3. Research forums and other reputable online communities for information on the best anti-spam plugins for WordPress security. Make sure you understand how well-written the code is for any plugin you do end up installing.676494_fbi_costume_pin_badge

4. Avoid doing things that used to be standard, such as keeping the “admin” name as your default. Updated WordPress themes and directories don’t usually have this for a reason – they were a common target for website exploitation. Similarly, don’t start the name of any of your directories with the wp prefix.

5. Connecting to your WordPress sites via public WiFi access can give any snoopers access to your username and password. Avoid doing this unless you have your own secure SSL connection socket for added protection.

6. If you’re not very web-savvy, and find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to decipher the signs of a blog compromise, there is affordable professional help available. Web security solutions are provided by robust malware monitoring and removal products likeStoptheHacker, which is a 24-hour sentinel that protects your systems.

7. While not exactly in the category of security, backing up your WordPress site is definitely in the realm of protection from future attacks. If all goes wrong, this copy can save you invaluable time and money in getting back up to speed, or moving your operation to another web host.

8. Hackers want to get into your private details more than anything else, because this will allow them to take over your website for their own personal gain. One useful way to impede this is to erase information regarding the version of WordPress you’re using, which can be done by deleting the appropriate meta tag description.

9. A simple but powerful WordPress security measure comes in the login section. If you have multiple users contributing to your site; or even if it’s just you, implement a lock-down plugin that stops multiple login attempts, which may signal a bot trying to gain access by trying many passwords.

http://www.dreamhost.com/dreamscape/2014/06/05/9-tips-to-make-your-wordpress-blog-more-secure/

Google’s Very Rough Transition Thursday, Dec 18 2014 

Nick Carlson

Nicholas Carlson

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/googles-very-rough-transition-nicholas

Chief Correspondent at Business Insider

Google’s stock price hit a 52-week low yesterday.

This is not surprising news.

This has been a year of major change for Google, and it hasn’t always been pretty.

CEO Larry Page, frustrated with the pace of innovation at the company, took a big step back from day-to-day operations, turning over control to Sundar Pichai.

Google’s core business, search advertising, is looking shakier than it has in years. The problem is the rise of mobile. Search advertising is the best way to make money on the web. But people aren’t using the web as much on their mobile phones as they did on their desktops. Last quarter, Google’s advertising business grew at its slowest rate in six years.

People are searching for products on Amazon, rather than using Google. The only reason search makes money for Google is that people use it to search for products they would like to buy on the internet, and Google shows ads for those products. Increasingly, however, people are going straight to Amazon to search for products. Desktop search queries on Amazon increased 47% between September 2013 and September 2014, according to ComScore.

The executive in charge of running the moneymaking side of Google, Nikesh Arora, quit for a new job at Softbank. Internally, Arora’s departure has been the source of some tension and disappointment. Before he left, Arora was planning to throw a huge conference for Google sales employees in Las Vegas. Now that Arora is gone, the event has been canceled in favor of more regional meetings, and we’ve heard some Googlers are bummed. These same Googlers are under the impression that the whole company is in the middle of a hiring freeze. After speaking to several more sources, we’re pretty sure there is not actually a hiring freeze at Google. But it is interesting that some people inside the company think there is. Clearly, there are pockets of pessimism.

Google is getting knocked around overseas. Google just pulled its engineers out of Russia. It shut down its news aggregator in Spain. The EU wants to break up the company. The situation isn’t looking great in Brazil, either.

Facebook has decided to compete with YouTube for video-advertising dollars, and Facebook may win. Facebook is working on bringing YouTube-like video to its News Feed. It’s also rolling out video ads. Many in the industry believe that Facebook is in a better position than YouTube to eat into the advertising dollars that are leaving TV. Anmuth writes, “Facebook appears better positioned to capture new dollars coming online given its 21% share of mobile time spent, strong leverage to news feed ads, and nascent opportunities in video and Instagram.”

Add it all together, and there are some serious worries about Google in the industry.

Says a former Googler: “I think 2015 is going to be disastrous.”

“Mobile has been eating away [at them] for years, but they’ve been able to pull rabbits out of the hat to increase revenue.”

“[That] has to end somewhere.”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/googles-very-rough-transition-nicholas

Nicholas Carlson is the author of “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” available for pre-order now.

5 Trends That Will Change How You Use Social Media in 2015 Thursday, Dec 4 2014 

BY RYAN HOLMES | 3 DAYS AGO | STRATEGY |

http://blog.hootsuite.com/5-social-media-trends-2015/
This post originally appeared in Time.

Big changes are afoot for the likes of Twitter, Facebook and others.

This year started with a death sentence for Facebook. In January, a research company called Global Web Index published a study showing that Facebook had lost nearly one-third of its U.S. teen users in the last year. Headlines pronounced the network “dead and buried.”

Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company earned $2.96 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter of 2013, up 64 percent from just a year ago. More impressively, the network has added more than 100 million monthly active users in the last year.

All of which goes to show how difficult it can be to predict the future of social media. With that caveat in mind, here’s a look into the crystal ball at five ways social media will (likely) evolve in 2015.

Your social network wants to be your wallet

Hacks released in October show a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web.

So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.

New networks proliferate, but will they last?

2014 saw the rise of a number of niche social networks, many built specifically in response to the perceived failings of the big boys: the lack of privacy, the collection of demographic and psychographic data, the increasingly pervasive advertising. Newcomers range from Ello, which launched in March with promises to never sell user data, to Yik Yak, which allows users to exchange fully anonymous posts with people who are physically nearby, and tsu, which has promised to share ad revenue with users based on the popularity of their posts.

Will these networks grow and stick around? New social platforms that try to replicate the Facebook experience while promising, for instance, fewer ads or more privacy, have the odds seriously stacked against them. The biggest challenge – one that even Google+ has struggled with – is attracting a sufficient userbase so the network doesn’t feel like a ghost town compared to Facebook’s thriving 1.3-billion-user global community.

On the other hand, new networks that map onto strong existing communities or interests (interest-based networks, as opposed to Facebook-style people-based networks) have a much better chance. In fact, thousands of these networks are already thriving below the radar, from dedicated sites for cooks and chefs like Foodie to sites for fitness junkies like Fitocracy.

Shopping finally comes to social media

Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long.

For starters, this approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.

In addition, since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.

Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.

 

Smart devices get more social

Cheap sensors have led to an explosion of smart devices. Everything from home appliances like thermostats, bathroom scales and refrigerators towearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and zapping it off wirelessly to the Internet. Lots of these devices are also pushing notifications to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a trend that will continue in 2015. The question is: Is that a good thing? The prospect of growing legions of washing machines, smoke alarms and Nike FuelBands spitting out Facebook posts isn’t exactly something to get excited about.

The challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence. This might start with tapping users’ social graph – their unique network of friends and followers – in better ways. A very simple example: a smart fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and how many people have RSVP’d and alerts you to make a beer run. By listening to social media in more sophisticated ways – tracking users’ activities and interactions with friends and followers, then responding accordingly – smart devices stand to get even smarter in the year ahead.

The illusion of social media privacy gives way to the real thing

2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks – Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few – surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware – and concerned – about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.

The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates.Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive – supposedly disappearing – user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper wasactually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.

But demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger in 2015. In fact, there are signs that even the major players are beginning to acknowledge the issue. In October, Facebook rolled out its new chat app Rooms, which allows users to create chat rooms around shared interests, with no requirement to reveal name or location. Meanwhile in November, Facebook became the first Silicon Valley tech giant to provide official support for Tor, the powerful, open-source anonymizing service – popular among journalists, political dissidents and law enforcement – that allows users to conceal their identity, location and browsing history.

  Ryan Holmes   Ryan HolmesRyan is Hootsuite’s CEO. He is a regular contributor to outlets such as Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and LinkedIn’s Influencer. He writes about social      media, technology trends, and entrepreneurialism.

The 5-Second Secret to Less Awkward Online Meetings Tuesday, Nov 18 2014 

A re-post from:
Overcoming one of the biggest issues plaguing virtual get togethers is as simple as counting to five, according to one expert.
 In theory online meetings are great. They save on expensive and time-consuming travel and hold out the tantalizing promise of location independence. The only problem? In practice they can be excruciatingly awkward.

Talking to you computer screen offers none of the helpful feedback of looking out on an audience for speakers and none of the visual stimulation of watching someone up on stage for listeners. And the experience is almost worse if you try to make things interactive as a lack of visual cues means people either talk over each other or hold back out of uncertainty, leaving gaping chasms of silence.

So is the only solution getting in a car or on a plane? Sometimes. But according to online meetings expert Wayne Turmel there’s at least one simple trick that can radically improve your online meetings with essentially no effort.

One Mississippi….

On Management Issues recently Turmel, who has written books on better web meetings and coaches teams on how to improve theirs, asserts that he constantly runs into the same issue when troubleshooting for clients. “They often bemoan thelack of engagement and responsiveness from meeting or class participants,” he reports. Fixing this issue, according to Turmel is as simple as counting to five.

Leaders of online meetings often fear silent lulls excessively, according to Turmel. The inherent awkwardness of not being face to face makes normal pauses where others are absorbing information and formulating their thoughts feel like an age. Plus, potential question askers, for instance, may be simply waiting to see if someone else chimes in first. The result is speakers who barely pause and inadvertently squelch opportunities for interactive exchange.

Luckily, the solution is dead simple. Just “ask for questions or comments and wait five full seconds. It’s longer than you think, and your instinct will be to move things along. Don’t submit to the panic,” instructs Turmel. “Ask, ‘What questions do you have?’ and then silently count ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi’… Only then will you have given people a real chance to process the information, form a response, and step up to speak.”

“I have seen this simple technique radically change the dynamic in meetings,” he concludes.

Could it have similarly great effects for your online interactions? Give it a test and tell us how it goes.

From Garbage To Gourmet: Fixing SEO Content Strategies Friday, Nov 7 2014 

on April 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

photo of Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is Chief Marketing Curmudgeon and President at Portent, Inc, a firm he started in 1995. Portent is a full-service internet marketing company whose services include SEO, SEM and strategic consulting

http://searchengineland.com/from-garbage-to-gourmet-fixing-seo-content-strategies-74273

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before:

Site Owner: I want to rank higher in the search engines!

SEO: OK, you’ll need to fix a few things…
produces a list

SEO: And you’ll need to start a content strategy. That means 10-20 pages of new content per month, minimum, plus work to promote it.

Site Owner: OKAY! I’m on it.
Site owner goes away.

Two months later:

Site Owner: SEO, you totally ripped me off. I haven’t seen any improvement in my rankings.

SEO: Did you make all the changes?

Site Owner: Yes.

SEO: Did you start work on the content?

Site Owner: Yes.

SEO: Can I see?

Site Owner shows SEO their site. It has 70 pages of new articles.

SEO: Wow, that’s great… Wait a minute. This article is only 150 words. And the author used the wrong ‘your’ five times. And this article is almost identical to these other five…

Site Owner: So?

garbage-on-a-plate-600x399

SEO: Well, this isn’t exactly great content.

Site Owner: Hey, you told me to get new content. You didn’t say anything about great content!

Search Engines Aren’t Garbage Disposals

I suspect that most people see search engines as a sort of content garbage disposals. You feed them a random assortment of leftovers, hard-to-identify and vaguely smelly things, and the occasional rotten egg in one end, there are some grinding and crunching sounds, and you’re all set.

Well, they’re not garbage disposals.

Half of SEO is a long list of things you must do to make yourself visible, help search engines classify your content, etc..

But, in the pre- and now more importantly, post- Panda world, the other half of SEO is all about differentiating yourself from competitors with great, unique information.

You know… Marketing.

No More Garbage

You have to stop serving garbage to your visitors, and to search engines. Here’s a couple ideas to get you started:

  1. Write stuff that hasn’t been written before. There are already 999,999 articles about SEO and title tags. Try something else, or a new spin on your topic.
  2. Be interesting. Put some thought into how the article is put together. Use visuals where it helps. Use humor, even.
  3. Hire quality writers to write quality stuff.
  4. Ask your visitors and customers what they’d like to read. Then write it.
  5. Follow production best practices. Use good line spacing and typography. Place subheads to organize your story and make it easier to scan. A 500-word article vomited onto the page with zero formatting makes it look like you don’t care. If you don’t care, you don’t deserve to rank.
  6. Brainstorm and maintain a list of headlines you can assign to writers.
  7. Assign target topics and phrases to specific pages on your site. Think through how you’ll interlink new content with those pages to build authority.
  8. Integrate content into your site. You probably won’t make much progress if you hang a bunch of lousy articles off your site like some kind of growth. Content has to be in the flow of a normal visitor’s movement through the site.

In short: think about it. Make content strategy part of your overall Internet marketing strategy and invest in it. You can’t outsource your writing to eLance for $5 per article and expect progress. Nor can you somehow automate or fake your way into the rankings. Yes, there are always the lucky few who manage it. But it’s not the norm.

But It’s Hard/Expensive/Time-Consuming!

I know, huh? If you want to gain a top ranking, you have to work for it, and invest, and really dedicate yourself to it.

But have some perspective: 20 years ago, the minimum required to reach a national audience was $250,000, a fantastic sales letter and a lot of luck. Now, you can reach a national audience with a well-coded website, one decent writer and a good idea. That’s nothing short of miraculous.

So switch your content strategy from garbage to gourmet. It’s worth the effort.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Molly Crabapple’s 14 rules for creative success in the Internet age Wednesday, Nov 5 2014 

To celebrate the release of my new book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, I’ve invited some of my favorite creators and thinkers to write about their philosophy on the arts and the Internet. Today, Molly Crabapple presents her 14 iron laws of creativity. -Cory Doctorow

Why do creative people seem so cynical when they follow standard business practices that every successful business person must follow?  Martin

info

I’m a visual artist and writer. What this means is that I have done most things one can do that involve making pictures (as to making words, I’m far newer). I’ve ` dicks for Playgirl. I’ve painted a six foot tall replica of my own face and carefully calligraphed things people have said to me on the Internet, then displayed it in a Tribeca gallery, as a sort of totem. I’ve live-sketched snipers in Tripoli. I’ve illustrated self-published kids books for ten dollars a page. I’ve balanced on jury-rigged scaffolding on a freezing British dawn, painting pigs on the walls of one of the world’s poshest nightclubs.

I’ve made my living as an artist for eight years, almost entirely without galleries, and until relatively recently without agents. It was a death-slog that threw me into periodic breakdowns . I’m pretty successful now. I make a good living, even in New York, have a full time assistant who gets a middle-class salary, and have a book coming out with a major publisher. I feel so lucky, and so grateful, for every bit of this.

My success would not have been possible without the internet. I’ve used every platform, from Craigslist and Suicide Girls to Livejournal, Myspace, Kickstarter, Tumblr and Twitter. I’m both sick of social media and addicted to it. What nourishes you destroys you, and all that. The internet is getting increasingly corporate and centralized, and I don’t know that the future isn’t just going back to big money platforms. I hope its not.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. The number one thing that would let more independent artists exists in America is a universal basic income. The number one thing that has a possibility of happening is single payer healthcare. This is because artists are humans who need to eat and live and get medical care, and our country punishes anyone who wants to go freelance and pursue their dream by telling them they might get cancer while uninsured, and then not be able to afford to treat it.

2. Companies are not loyal to you. Please never believe a company has your back. They are amoral by design and will discard you at a moment’s notice. Negotiate aggressively, ask other freelancers what they’re getting paid, and don’t buy into the financial negging of some suit.

3. I’ve cobbled together many different streams of income, so that if the bottom falls out of one industry, I’m not ruined. My mom worked in packaging design. When computers fundamentally changed the field, she lost all her work. I learned from this.

4. Very often people who blow up and become famous fast already have some other sort of income, either parental money, spousal money, money saved from another job, or corporate backing behind the scenes. Other times they’ve actually been working for 10 years and no one noticed until suddenly they passed some threshold. Either way, its good to take a hard look- you’ll learn from studying both types of people, and it will keep you from delusional myth-making.

5. I’ve never had a big break. I’ve just had tiny cracks in this wall of indifference until finally the wall wasn’t there any more

6. Don’t be a dick. Be nice to everyone who is also not a dick, help people who don’t have the advantages you do, and never succumb to crabs in the barrel infighting.

7. Remember that most people who try to be artists are kind of lazy. Just by busting your ass, you’re probably good enough to put yourself forward, so why not try?

8. Rejection is inevitable. Let it hit you hard for a moment, feel the hurt, and then move on.

9. Never trust some Silicon Valley douchebag who’s flush with investors’ money, but telling creators to post on their platform for free or for potential crumbs of cash. They’re just using you to build their own thing, and they’ll discard you when they sell the company a few years later.

10. Be a mercenary towards people with money. Be generous and giving to good people without it.

11. Working for free is only worth it if its with fellow artists or grassroots organizations you believe in, and only if they treat your respectfully and you get creative control.

12. Don’t ever submit to contests where you have to do new work. They’ll just waste your time, and again, only build the profile of the judges and the sponsoring company. Do not believe their lies about “exposure”. There is so much content online that just having your work posted in some massive image gallery is not exposure at all.

13. Don’t work for free for rich people. Seriously. Don’t don’t don’t. Even if you can afford to, you’re fucking over the labor market for other creators. Haggling hard for money is actually a beneficial act for other freelancers, because it is a fight against the race to the bottom that’s happening online.

14. If people love your work, treat them nice as long as they’re nice to you.

15. Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth. Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer living in New York. She has written for the NY Times, Vanity Fair, and VICE, and has work in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art.

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