What's Up With SEO?

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English: seo block
English: seo block (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A  Principled Guide To Search Engine Marketing

By Hector Cisneros

When it comes to working the web to win, there have been a lot of changes over the years; 
none more so than Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since Google's most recent update  called Hummingbird, many website owners and a number of professional optimizers have found themselves in a quandary when it comes to generating Page One search engine results.

SEO used to have a very specific meaning. Today, if you ask 100 different SEO experts what SEO means, you will get 100 different answers, many of which are still rooted in the way Search Engine Optimization used to work. There is an old saying that goes something like, “If you ask a carpenter how to build a house he will tell you use wood, a hammer and nails. If you ask a mason how to build a house, he will say with brick and mortar. Well Internet marketing experts also follow this line of thought. They base their answer on what they do (their particular niche of expertise) or who they have asked (Google, Yahoo, Bing, or third party research results). This article will aggregate what is known from many sources and provide answers that haven’t changed (even after Penguin, or its new successor, Hummingbird). If you are looking for a leg up on what it takes to climb up the ladder to Search Engine success, read this article and pass it along to your friends so that you, too, will know “What’s Up with SEO?”
English: A Saw-billed Hermit (Ramphodon naeviu...
English: A Saw-billed Hermit (Ramphodon naevius) Deutsch: Ein S├Ągeschnabel-Schattenkolibri (Ramphodon naevius) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facing the Music

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By Carl Weiss

MP3 Player
MP3 Player (Photo credit: that one doood)
The music biz has always been a tough one to break into.  For years, the record labels had a virtual monopoly on who got on the radio and on the charts.  All that changed with the advent of the Internet. Now struggling artists have a way of generating visibility and selling their cds online.  A number of unknown artists have made the scene when their music videos went viral.  Outlets like i-tunes have put the recording artist in the driver's seat in a way that would have been unheard of a couple of decades ago.  If you are looking to get your groove on, tune in for this episode of  Working the Web to Win on BlogTalkRadio.

It was 50 years ago this month that the Beatles changed the music industry forever when they first made their way to the US.  So I thought it appropriate that I start this week’s blog with a couple of stanzas from their hit single, "Taxman."

“Let me tell you how it will be. There’s one for you nineteen for me.
If five percent appears too small. Be thankful I don’t take it all, Taxman.”

Sandisk e130 512 mb MP3 player
Sandisk e130 512 mb MP3 player (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The lyrics lamented the fact that British performers at the time were getting hit with incredibly high taxes on the royalties they earned.  However, there was an even more insidious hand taking a huge cut of many recording artists’ pies at the time that had nothing to do with the tax man.  And that was the cut that the record labels were taking from artists under contract.

Here Comes the Judge

While a number of stories about artists who were burned back in the early days of rock and roll are legendary, that doesn’t mean that the practice has stopped.  In fact, the past few years has seen a number of lawsuits against record labels by several notable songsmiths:
  1. In 2007 pop legend James Taylor initiated an audit and lawsuit against Warner Bros. which uncovered underpayment of royalties in the amount of $1,692,726 for the period spanning 2004-2007. (Warner subsequently paid only $97,857 of that balance.)
  2. In 2009 jazz great Chet Baker sued Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada and Universal Music Canada for releasing his music on Canadian CD’s without compensating him.
  3. Ytmp3_1b
    Ytmp3_1b (Photo credit: gvgoebel)
  4. In 2011 Pete Frampton sued A&M Records for unpaid digital royalties. He hired music attorney Richard Busch who previously helped Eminem successfully sue Universal, parent company of A&M.
What is even more noteworthy is the fact that many of these suits are seeking compensation for “digital distribution” of music.  Translated, this boils down to “online distribution” of recordings.  And if the recent news feeds is any indication, not all of the ire being vented by recording artists is directed toward record labels.

In 2012, a federal court reinstated a $222,000 damages award against a Minnesota woman accused of illegally downloading 24 songs, Reuters reported that the music industry victory in a case stretching past its sixth year. The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, rejected Jammie Thomas-Rasset's argument that the fine – $9,250 per song – was excessive and violated her due process rights under the Constitution. She has said her ex-boyfriend or two young sons were probably responsible for downloading the songs.”

She was hardly alone since some 18,000 people were sued between 2003 and 2008 by the Recording Industry Association of America. It didn’t stop there, as talk show host Ellen DeGeneres found out a year later, when she was sued for copyright infringement when she broadcast more than 1,000 songs during the “Dance Over” portion of her popular show.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/ellen-degeneres-show-sued-by-record-labels-over-copyrights-20090911#ixzz2wEuSKM9Q

This does not encompass the most litigious online music case of all time: Napster. Launched in June 1999 byShawn and John Fanning, Napster was the first large scale peer-to-peer music sharing site. Wildly popular with the public, the site quickly ran afoul of a number of popular bands (such as Metallica) who took issue with having their music given away royalty free. On top of that the band accused Napster of leaking at least one of their songs (I Disappear) before it was even officially released. Shortly after that a number of other labels piled onto the suit, trying to force Naptster to monitor their service and block access to copyrighted material. A year later, the court of appeals decides in the record labels favor and issues an injunction. In June 2001, Napster is forced to shut down the business in order to comply with the ruling.

What Happened to Napster?

napster (Photo credit: jima)

A side note on Napster: After filing for bankruptcy in June 2002, Napster announced plans to sell the service, since it had hundreds of thousands of members atthis point. However, the judge blocks the sale and orders Napster to liquidate. Less than a month later, Roxio, the digital music software purveyor, buys the Napster brand and logo for $5 million. Roxio then leverages the popularity of the Napster name to revamp a failing music subscription service named Pressplay, later selling Napster once more(in August 2008), this time to Best Buy for $121 million. Best Buy then sells Napster’s customer base and other intellectual property in September 2011 to Rhapsody for an undisclosed sum. (At the time of the sale, Napster reportedly had more than 700,000 customers.)

While the kind of services offered by Napster went against the grain of the music industry, the popularity of being able to download music online did not. What it did was spur the imagination of a number of entrepreneurs to take action in order to capitalize on this efficient means of bringing music to the masses.

“With all the buzz around Spotify and the absolute dominance of iTunes since 2003, it's easy to forget that Napster was the first big name in digital music, and introduced computer users to the idea that they could listen to any song in the universe, any time, on demand. The only problem: the people who made that music wanted to be paid for it, and it took about a dozen years to figure out how that would work to all parties' satisfaction.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/napster-is-finally-dead-heres-a-look-back-at-what-happened-2011-10#ixzz2wFNZ8XOa

Steve Jobs and Apple Get Their Jam On!

No sooner had the fur begun to fly in the courts over Napster when Steve Jobs at Apple Computer realized that if he could find a way to deliver music to the masses in a legal and profitable venue, then he would be sitting on the next killer app. The only problem was the fact that he didn’t want to waste a year or more developing an app from scratch.

After looking at and rejecting another potential solution, Steve Jobs approached Robin Casady and Michael Greene to discuss their SoundJam app. Their program had a couple of things going for it, chief among it benefits where the facts it was powerful digital encoding program that had an interface that looked remarkably similar to Apple’s QuickTime player. After negotiating a price, Casady & Greene sold the rights for SoundJam to Apple and Steve Jobs immediately got ready to jam by creating iTunes.

Courtesy Apple Computers
Excerpt from MacWorld: “About 10 months later, at Macworld San Francisco in 2001, Apple debuted iTunes alongside iDVD and the CD-RW-enabled Power Macs. While it wasn’t exactly a show-stopper (though 275,000 copies were downloaded in the first week), the "world’s best and easiest to use ‘jukebox’ software" definitely raised the bar for music players on the Mac, which were relatively sparse and rather pricey (SoundJam cost $40). By offering iTunes as a free download and installing it on every new Mac, Apple essentially cut down the competition at the pass--or at least put a good scare into them. "Apple has done what Apple does best--make complex applications easy, and make them even more powerful in the process,"  said Steve Jobs at the time. "iTunes is miles ahead of every other jukebox application, and we hope its dramatically simpler user interface will bring even more people into the digital music revolution." 
After racking up more than a million downloads in the first month alone, Apple knew they had a hit on their hands. It also spurred Apple into creating hardware that could give their customers the opportunity to take their tunes with them. Thus was born the iPod. More importantly for singers, songwriters and aspiring musicians, this gave them a whole new lease on life. No longer bound by record labels to produce and more importantly distribute their music, iTunes and other services that soon sprang up alongside it, enabled musicians to deal direct and cut out the middleman.

The evolution of the iPod - Courtesy of Tony Fadell

Since then a number of previously unknown artists have not only sprung onto the scene. But a number of them have done quite well for themselves. Take Corey Smith, a country folk musician, who went from high school teacher to high paid recording artist, grossing more than $4 million in 2010. More importantly, he did it DIY style, without signing up with a record label. Mashable had a feature a couple of years back entitled, “15 Wannabes Who Found Fame on YouTube.” This included Julia Nunez, Chantelle Redman and Justin Bieber. http://mashable.com/2011/01/23/found-fame-youtube/

Music Parodies Make a Big Splash

Some other industrious souls have found online fame by posting musical parodies. One such success story is the Gregory Brothers who turn press conferences into ersatz operas with the help of a little voice altering
computer software.

 The Brothers insert themselves into news footage to sing along with political leaders.Early videos saw Hilary Clinton singing about Somalian pirates, while the US Congress debated climate change turned gospel song. While the Gregory Brothers and other parody producers like them aren’t likely to win any Grammy awards, their large fan base on YouTube makes sure that they earn a comfortable living by monetizing their channel via AdSense ads.  And unlike a lot of starving artists, these talented performances have found a way to face the music and thrive online.  That’s more than most musicians can say.

The Impact of the MP3 music format and the wide spread adoption of MP3 plays has had a profound impact on our society and the whole world. We have moved from Record companies monopolizing artist talents to Artist control of their own talents. Prices and distribution have greatly improved. We have less waste and pollution from packing and products and the laws have started to move away from the DRM model to favoring individual rights, allow users to be able to backup music (and videos) they have purchased. The next few decades will continue to usher in changes that MP3 started. We now have MPEG4 as a video standard and soon the Movie industry will start to feel the same pinch that the record monopolies felt when music moved to MP3. The book industry has already seen drastic changes in how people create, publish and distribute books. Needless to say, the internet has had a big part to play in all of this. I can’t wait to see what comes next. 
In this article I discussed the evolution, if not the revolutionary changes that have occurred because of the invention of the MP3 music compression standard and the MP3 player. Large music empires have fallen and the musician now have a chance to rule the roost. If you found this article to be useful, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you feel, you have something to add to this article leave a comment below. Thanks again for reading and sharing.  Until next time.

This week’s guests include Toots Lorraine, Chad Mo and the Traffic.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

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Are You Prepared for Technological Extinction?

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English: asteroid 1
English: asteroid 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everywhere you look online there are cutting edge technologies and devices that are promising to revolutionize the way we work the web.  Everything from smart watches to computerized glasses are all the rage right now, along with all manner of wearable devices.  Some of these technologies may indeed prove to be game changers, producing a sea change that will leave more mundane technologies in their wake.  Others will wind up in the hi-tech bone heap.  Either way, as changes come at us faster and faster, we need to find a way to deal with technological extinction, or as I like to call it, "survival of the fastest."

We have all heard the doom and gloom predictions that never came true.  Remember Y2K or the solar flares that were predicted to bring our technology based society to a standstill during the 2013 solar maximum cycle, neither of which ever came to pass?  Sure you do.  While most prognostications have a tendency to generate anxiety based upon how often they are touted by the media, with few exceptions these predictions are much ado about nothing.  And even if they were to come to pass, like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago that wondered what that bright streak across the sky was all about, there isn’t a heck of a lot you can do about impending global catastrophes.

Technological Extinction has Happened Before

That’s not to say that localized tech extinction events do not occur.  As fate would have it they are the rule rather than the exception.  Remember quadrophonic sound, the Lisa computer, Betamax 
A Pioneer LaserDisc Recorder Deck. Author :
A Pioneer LaserDisc Recorder Deck. Author : (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
videotapes or the Laserdisc?  These were all clear cut examples of next generation technology that never caught on and
 ultimately disappeared from the face of the Earth.  All of the above mentioned technologies were clearly a cut above the competition.  All of them fell flat on their faces even though they were touted by some of the most successful companies in the world.  Worse still was the fact that there were many people who purchased these products and wholeheartedly believed that they were part of the technological elite. 

The case centered around Sony's manufacture of...
The case centered around Sony's manufacture of the Betamax VCR, which used cassettes like this to store potentially copyrighted information (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Betamax (also called Beta, and referred to as such in the logo) is a consumer-level analog videocassette magnetic tape recording format developed by Sony, released in Japan on May 10, 1975.[1] The cassettes contain .50 in (12.7 mm)-wide videotape in a design similar to the earlier, professional .75 in (19 mm) wide, U-matic format. The format is virtually obsolete, though an updated variant of the format, Betacam, is still used by the television industry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax

VHS may have won the war against Betamax but it, too, succumbed to technological extinction! DVD quickly supplanted it as the de facto video standard, followed by Blu-Ray. While many of these products became the progenitors to vastly more successful technology, such as the DVD and the Macintosh Computer, that was small consolation to those people who ponied up thousands of dollars to buy into the now defunct model.  Of course this is the price that early adopters pay to be the kids with the newest toys on the block.  This trend, like evolution, is not going to stop any time soon.  If anything with the uptick in the sheer volume of devices, apps and software that is created nowadays, if anything the rush toward technological extinction is healthier than ever.

Now it’s Happening Before Our Eyes

Blue Ray ?
Blu Ray ? (Photo credit: koke)
Take for example DVDs, they are already being replaced by Blu-Ray, which in turn is being replaced by solid-state storage devices (thumb drives and SD/MMC card) which will be replace by super high capacity non-volatile memory cards of various types. Each one of these technologies’ will duke it out for portable storage supremacy over the next 20 years.

Nook or Kindle, Who Will Win?

Back in 2009, Barnes and Noble introduced the Nook, which was touted a couple of years later as the “Best e-reader around” by Consumer reports.  Yet despite this high praise, the Nook has not managed to find wide enough acceptance to best the competition.  Like the Beta vs. VHS competition of the 1980s, the Nook vs. Kindle market is going to the competition, if the news from TechVoid is any indication.

Kindle vs Nook
Kindle vs Nook (Photo credit: jacobnmartinez)
“Barnes & Noble recently laid off several of its Nook staff recently, furthering doubts about the company’s long term sustainability in the ebook space. While a company spokesperson remained optimistic and made it clear that they would not be exiting the device business, it is uncertain how much longer they can compete successfully with Amazon.com in this area.” http://techvoid.com/2014/02/21/demise-barnes-noble-nook/

Buying From a Leading Brand Does Not Protect Your Investment

Many pundits reply that by aligning yourself with the right camp you can more or less prevent technological extinction from taking place.  They surmise that the popularity of leading brands makes purchasing next gen gear more or less bulletproof.  To that I point out that the Lisa was a next gen computer that was years ahead of the competition and was designed and built by none other than Steve Jobs at Apple Computer.  Designed during the early '80s as the logical evolution from the Apple II, the Lisa had a long list of features that were unheard of back in the early '80s, including a sophisticated hard-disk based operating system, support for up to 2 MB of RAM, a graphical user interface (GUI), a numeric keypad, a screen
Apple Lisa (Little Apple Museum)
Apple Lisa (Little Apple Museum) (Photo credit: Alvy)
saver and the first computer mouse.  Despite spending millions of dollars on TV ads featuring none other than Kevin Costner, Jobs threw in the towel after failing to sell more than 50,000 units. 

In fact it was due to the failure of Lisa that Steve Jobs found himself without a job when he was pushed out of Apple for a time.  Of course as time would tell, not only did Steve Jobs return to head Apple, but during his hiatus he helped turn another technological stepchild named Pixar that not even George Lucas could afford to keep running into one of the most prolific and profitable animation companies on the planet.

Take for Example, Google Glass

But that was then and this is now.  So while companies like Google may be the big kid on the block when it comes to search engine prowess, that doesn’t mean that everything they devise is necessarily gold plated.  Take Google Glass, a techno trial balloon launched in limited quantities a little more than a year ago.  When it comes to wearable technology, it doesn’t get more “in your face” than Glass.  (Or should I say on your face?)  While tens of thousands applied for the privilege of paying $1,500 apiece to don this wearable computer, the jury is not yet in on whether this device will become the next iPhone.  What is a certainty is that it has garnered a lot of media attention and not all of it good.

With such epithets as "Glass Hole" being used to designate Glass wearers and several lawsuits spawned by people who were wearing them being ejected from a number of eateries and movie theaters, it’s anybody’s guess if this latest hi-tech offering will make the grade.  Like Lisa, Glass is quite a bit pricier than any comparable computer device.  While you can purchase a laptop or tablet computer that performs many of the same things as Glass for under $500, in a recent survey of eBay, prices for Glass were in the $1,700 range.  And it doesn’t help that any number of high profile comedians has made Glass wearers a staple of the stand-up circuit.

Time for a Smart Watch?

But at least you can now buy and sell Glass online, which is more than I can say for the vaunted iWatch.  After spawning the computer wristwatch craze about a year back, Apple Computer has still to launch its own version of this wearable tech.  It was the rumor of an Apple smart watch that led electronics giant Samsung and entrepreneurial startup named Pebble to beat Apple to market with a concept they first coined.
My kronoz smart watch
My kronoz smart watch (Photo credit: chrisf608)

Now after more than a year, not only has the iWatch failed to make it to store shelves, but some industry authorities such as techradar.com are starting to wonder if it ever will/

“Rumors of an Apple smart watch have abounded since Pebble first hit the big time. The so-called iWatch has so far failed to materialize in 2013 but will we see Apple get in on the wrist-worn game in 2014?  We've rounded up all the rumors and speculation to keep things ticking (get it!). Which watch really seem likely and which ideas are complete Apple poppycock? Only time will tell.”

By looking back at all the prior technological trends, you will notice a very clear pattern. It the dance of evolution being played out as corporatizations battle it out, vying for best products in their category.  What you see is a time line that goes a little like this. XYZ Company invents a new product category and hold a short period of dominance. Stage 2 is when competition comes in and they players battle it out for supremacy. After several years of vying for the top position (or legal battles), a queasy standard will emerge just as a new replacement technology enters the fold. This evolutionary process is played out repeatedly ushering in “technological progress!”

New Emerging Technologies Are Poised to Replace This Trend

3D printer
3D printer (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)
3D printers in particular will soon make it possible for average people to manufacture the own replacement parts and even whole finished products. Free databases of 3D models will make it possible for anyone to create all manner of devices without buying that device from the original manufacture! This technology will usher in the Technological extinction of corporations unless they adapt to this emerging trend.

As other next wave technologies emerge such as 3D printers, wearable's and the" Internet of Things" rear its technological head, you need to ask yourself this question. Are willing to plunk down a sta
ck of cash to be an early adopter, or whether you can afford to wait until the smoke has cleared and the public has declared a winner. 

In this article, I discussed how technological extinction is an ongoing process that has been affecting our wallets for years. It has been accelerating over the last 50 years and now it’s poised to leap to a whole new level. The current evolutionary trend of new product dominance to competitions to new product will accelerate to much shorter time frames. The next generation of humans will be able to create their own product from knowledge database using 3D printers without having to go out and buy products.

If you found this article to be useful, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you feel, you have something to add to this article leave a comment below.  It is my hope that by sharing this information with you my readers that more charities will be able to make the transition to the World Wide Web. I look forward to seeing the success that good charities will experience in the coming years.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “technology” in the search box at the top left of this blog.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below. I hope you have found these questions and answers useful. Thanks for sharing your time with me.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

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