Can Internet Giants Google & Facebook, Steal the Election?

Courtesy of  commons.wikimedia.org
By Hector Cisneros

Recent headlines have stated that Facebook has been caught filtering conservative blogs and news items from their timeline. Google is said to have been caught skewing and filtering political search in an attempt to favor Hillary Clinton. When you Google something, you expect Google to provide you the best results based on your intended search criteria. After all, Google has publicly stated that this is their goal (read: Google is Playing Musical Chairs with Ranking and it will Cost Us Billions)! However, the steady stream of articles stating the contrary implies the opposite. When you post something on Facebook, you want your friends, family and co-workers to see the post. You don't expect Facebook to decide who gets to see and share your post. Yet Facebook algorithm seems to decided differently. It appears, at least on the surface, that Facebooks algorithm or editorial board decides for us. Your Facebook timeline is not yours to control. Your posts aren’t being displayed according to what you think your wishes are. Everything is being filtered!

The Planet of the Apps: The Good, The Bad, and The Funny



Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
By Danny Murphy
There seem to be apps for nearly everything these days. In 2015, there were over 1.6 million apps available for Android and over 1.5 million available for iPhone. Over 1000 apps are submitted every day to the Apple’s App Store. In all likelihood, apps are being created for Android at the same rate or faster. Welcome to The Planet of the Apps. 
Apps are ostensibly created to help users of the app in some way. However, there’s another part of the app story that many users are blissfully unaware of. When you sign up for an app you have to agree to the provider’s terms of service, which are in fine print that nobody ever reads. Generally, the terms include an agreement that the provider can collect, use, and sell data based on your use of the app. The data gets crunched so that the provider, or whoever buys the data, can determine what products and services it can send very targeted ads to you about. 
Social networks are very good at collecting data and they are getting better at using it all the time. Capitalizing on personal data is lucrative for companies which have that capability.  When you sign up for a social network, you are asked questions concerning everything from your age and sex, to your likes, dislikes, movies and books you have seen and read, photos, videos and more.  Then you are encouraged to share even more personal information on a daily basis. Finally, you are prompted to tell friends and family about the network. This is the essence of social networking. 
So, what kinds of apps are being created?
Good Apps
Many apps are doing good in the world. For example, there are several related to healthcare and prescriptions that seem to make sense.
Courtesy CareZone
CareZone claims to be “The easiest way for you and your family to manage medications and doctor's instructions.” Keeping track of medications can be challenging, especially for people who take lots of meds. CareZone has lots of positive reviews.
Medisafe claims it can help to “Keep yourself and loved ones safe and never forget to take your meds again with Medisafe, the app tested by pharmacists.” The Medisafe mission is to give people the tools, support and information they need to take their medications the way they're supposed to. Like CareZone, Medisafe has lots of positive reviews.
Blink Health tells users they can “Use Blink Health to save up to 85% on your prescriptions at virtually every U.S. pharmacy.” This app has no membership fees and no monthly premiums. You simply pay for the needed medications.
Bad Apps
Some apps don’t seem to make much sense. Here are a few examples.
Courtesy SMTH
Send Me to Heaven records how high you can throw your phone. There’s a global leaderboard for the highest throws. Send me to Heaven is no longer available on iPhone. Apparently Apple decided it wasn’t a good idea to encourage behavior that could damage devices. However, it’s still available on Android.
Tweetpee was a wearable app developed by Huggies. It had a sensor which sent a tweet to the parent when the child urinated and needed the diaper changed. The parent could also retweet the wonderful news - #Juniortinkled! - but who in the world would do that? It seems like a bit much and it might not have caught on. It was in the testing phase in 2013 and does not appear to be available currently.
I am Rich was created with the sole purpose of showing people that you could afford it. Developer Armin Heinrich made the app in 2008. It did absolutely nothing and was priced at $999.99, the highest price allowed in the app store. I Am Rich was listed in Apple’s App Store on August 5, 2008. In just a few hours, 8 people purchased the app. Apple removed I Am Rich from the store shortly thereafter. They also gave refunds to two users who claimed they had purchased it by mistake. The app is now available on Android and it is free! That takes pointless to a whole other level.
The Most Useless App Ever claims to show how useless an app can be. It also invites users to try out the most useless widget ever, for a complete experience of uselessness. There’s even a useless counter to count up how useless the application is and for how many people.
The Most Expensive Android Application/Widget is for people who have lots of money and don’t know how to spend it all. Like I am Rich and the Most Useless App Aver, this one does very little other than present itself to the user or to anyone the user wants to impress.
Funny Apps

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Cheezburger is one of the most popular humor sites on the internet. It claims to have more than 10 million visitors per month. The Cheezburger app is popular as well. The app lets you browse videos, images, jokes, comics, and other hilarious content. Lately, some of the reviews have been less than glowing. Some users write that it, “Used to be a good app.”
Food Battle is a parody of every tap-and-play, cute game on Android. Your mission is to kill deadly donuts that have taken your friends and family hostage. It has been downloaded over a million times. Some users say that it is a pleasant change from Angry Birds or Candy Crush.
Surgeon Simulator allows users to play a doctor who has no intention to save patients. You can play as an ER surgeon or a dentist. If destroying the lives of people who put their lives under your care is appealing to you, this could be the game for you. Currently, there is an invitation on the home page to “Perform a heart transplant on Trump and cast your vote.”
Lord of the Apps
With all the apps now available, it’s probably not easy to keep them all organized and up to date. That gives me an idea for a new app that I might create. Lord of the Apps – One app to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them.  
Apps can be useful and fun. However, before users sign up for any app, they should consider the price of admission. Usually, that involves the collection of data about you and your habits, and then the use of or sale of that data for marketing and advertising. You should never forget that the ultimate purpose of most apps is not to help the user. The ultimate purpose of most apps is to generate revenue for the developers and distributors of the app. Keeping that in mind will help you to decide whether or not you want an app.
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In this article I have discussed Apps: The Good, The Bad, and The Funny. I’ve also discussed the ultimate purpose of apps which is usually to generate revenue for the developers and the distributors. Users should be aware of that before signing up for a new app.
If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you liked this article, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. Working the Web to Win has previously produced several blogs about Apps. For more information, I recommend reading, Best Free and Safe Apps for Apple and Android, How to Safely Whet Your Appetite for Smartphone Apps,  and What Does the Public’s Uncontrollable App-etite Mean to You?
You can also use the search box at the top of this blog to find even more articles by typing in video in the search field.
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Danny Murphy is the Lead Blogger at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the author of Humor 101: How to Tell Jokes for Power, Prestige, Profit, and Personal Fulfillment which is available from Amazon on Kindle.

In Search of MicroAngelo

by Carl Weiss

What do you do when you have a mountain of money and time on your hands?  You become a patron of the arts.  Every industrialist worth his salt knows that, right?  So why should the titans of the digital age be any different?  The chief difference in this case is that in the case of virtual philanthropy, the recipient of all that largesse is not so much an artiste as AI artiste in training.  For the past few years, Google has been gaga about artificial intelligence.  So much so that its search engine is powered by it.  More importantly, Google has been experimenting with AI to see if machines can make art.

Read any Good eBooks Lately?

by Carl Weiss

We've all started off a conversation at one time or another with, "Have you read any good books lately?"  It may have been at a cocktail party or a mixer, but it always elicits an answer that's far more interesting then you would have gotten had you chosen to ask about the weather. What's even more intriguing is the fact that ePublishing has completely changed the face of the industry at large.  No longer at the mercy of major publishing houses or vanity presses, publishing an eBook is as easy as point and click.

That being said, the world is full of good eBooks that get precious little press.  That's predominantly because while the big publishing houses no longer have a stranglehold on publishing, they still have an awful lot of clout when it comes to who makes the bestseller list.  Face it, the industry heavies have all the resources they need at their beck and call. Meanwhile, the average author has an army of one.   While it is simplicity itself to get published, nowadays, last year alone there were 304,912 books published in the US. As a result most eBooks are like a grain of sand on the beach.  

How Much is Too Much?

Talk about too much of a good thing.  It's no wonder that so many fledgling authors have trouble finding their way to publishing success.  Face it, when it comes to choosing a subject, not to mention an author, what do most people do?  They rely on the BIG publishing houses (on and offline) or the NY Times to pick and choose the books they read.  Or, they read reviews and blogs published for the most part by minions of the self same multinational companies.  Talk about the fox owning the henhouse. Is it any wonder that the average number of eBooks sold by the average author is a mere 250?

What this does is create a funnel effect where only the chosen few hundred books get media attention at any one time.  Does this mean that these books are necessarily the best books on the subject? Not hardly.  Does it mean that high profile authors have a lock on the market?  Yes and no.  Yes, in that bestselling authors through their publishers and publicists have made it to the big game, where the lights are bright and the accolades run deep.  It's a good job if you can get it, right?  However, for every author who hits the big time by finding an agent and a publisher, there are hundreds of thousands who wind up wallpapering their homes with rejection letters.

Until the launch of the e-publishing industry, many authors who could not find a home with a 
publishing house decided to be their own publisher by going the vanity press route.  This meant shelling out several thousand dollars or more to have their books printed in limited quantities.  (You'd be surprised at the amount of space 500 paperbacks take up.)  Not to mention the fact that once printed, these authors turned entrepreneurs would then be forced to be their own publicist.  Very quickly they found out there is a big difference between printing 500 books and selling 500 books.  The printing part is relatively easy.  But having to write press releases, not to mention calling bookstores in the hopes that someone will carry your title is a daunting task. 

Even if you do succeed at getting your books on the shelves, next thing you know you're making like the Road Warrior as you drive from town to town to do book signings.  And all this on top of your regular 9-5 job.  it sounds like a recipe for a nervous breakdown, if you ask me.

E-Book Millionaires

With the advent of the Internet, e-publishers such as Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com became game changers in that anyone can get online shelf space for their print and/or  e-books.  Instead of packing up the family sedan, many online publishers beat the path to success by posting blogs, press releases, videos and social posts galore all from their comfort of their own home.  While it saves on windshield time, the process of online promotion still takes time.  More importantly, it takes a plan that not only includes the time it takes to write blogs, press releases and social posts, but it takes money to distribute all the above.  Without distribution all you really have is a billboard in the desert.

For those who create and execute their plan successfully, there's gold in them thar hills.  During the past few years there have been a number of unknown authors who have made 6-figures per year self-publishing online.  There have even been several that have made more than $1 million per year.

John Locke - New York Times best-selling author John Locke is the international best-selling author of 28 books in six different genres. He is the 8th author in history (and the 1st self-published author) to have sold one million eBooks on Kindle, which he achieved in only five months. Locke has had four books in the top ten at the same time, including #1 and #2. Foreign rights to his books have been acquired by major publishing companies all over the world. Translations include: Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, and Lithuanian. Literally every e-book he has published has gone into become a bestseller.  In 2011, four of the top 10 Kindle bestsellers were novels written by John Locke.

Amanda Hocking - Amanda Hocking is a lifelong Minnesotan obsessed with Batman and Jim Henson. In between watching cooking shows, taking care of her small menagerie of pets, and drinking too much Red Bull Zero, she writes young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her New York Times best-selling series the Trylle Trilogy has been optioned for films. She has published over fifteen young adult novels, including the Hollows and the Watersong series. Her latest trilogy - the Kanin Chronicles - is complete, with all three books - Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom - out now. 


JA Konrath - JA Konrath is the author of ten novels in the Jack Daniels thriller series. They do not have to be read in chronologically to be enjoyed, but the order is: Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, Rusty Nail, Dirty Martini, Fuzzy Navel, Cherry Bomb, Shaken, Stirred, Rum Runner, and Last Call.

Jack also appears in the novels Shot of Tequila, Flee, Spree, Three, Timecaster Supersymmetry, Banana Hammock, and Serial Killers Uncut, as well as the short story collection Jack Daniels Stories, and the novellas Floaters and Burners.

Other novels include the thrillers Origin, The List, Shot of Tequila, Disturb, and Timecaster.

Konrath writes horror under the name Jack Kilborn, including the bestsellers Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, Haunted House, and WebCam. 


Forget WWW - Focus on PPPPP

While viewed as overnight sensations, these authors all had one thing in common: a marketing plan.  When it comes to working the web, you need to forget about the three W's and focus on the five P's instead:  Poor Planning Prevents Peak Performance.  By that I mean that you need to stop treating your book like a hobby and start treating it like a business.  If you are an aspiring author, I'm sure you spend a great deal of time reading books that show you how to write and edit books.  You probably also read magazines and blogs that help you hone your writing craft.  But how many books have you read on such things as online marketing, publicity, and blogging?

How many of you have put together a business or marketing plan for your book?  Have you decided on a yearly budget for your book launch?  Do you have a website or blog set up and populated?  Do you know what you are going to do in the pre-launch and launch phases of your campaign?  Have you made contact with other bloggers so you can generate an audience?  Do you have tens of thousands of social followers to whom you can post your book release?  While it may have taken you months or years to write your book, it is going to take you even longer to establish a beachhead and fight for readers.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Make no mistake about it, the business of publishing is war.   As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War,"Every battle is won or lost before it is fought."  Before you rush off to publish your book, you had better have a battle plan that can stay the course for the next 12-months.  Because you don't want to win the battle only to lose the war. 

Remember, your adversary (BIG publishers) literally have an army of editors, designers, publicists and writers at their disposal.   Going in you need to realize that you are going to have to  use guerilla tactics if you are going to have any chance of winning the war.  It also means that you need to marshal your troops.  This means two things: allies and outsourcing.

Find Carl's book on GoodBooks.Online
Whether it takes going to writer's conferences, joining local writer groups or connecting with bloggers online who can help you generate exposure, a certain amount of grassroots campaigning is a must if you hope to prevail.  It also wouldn't hurt to pick up the phone and call select members of the local press to see if they would be interested in interviewing you.  (Having written 5 books myself, I have been interviewed in print and broadcast more than 100 times.  Not bad for a few phone calls.)

The other and even more vital task you need to decide on before hitting the beach is to choose which tasks you wish to carry out yourself and which you can delegate.  Stretching your forces too thin is a recipe for disaster.  There are numerous companies across the country that can do everything from handle your press releases, to growing your social following, to distributing your blogs.  Click on the link to see a list of resources.  Depending upon your budget, these providers can help level the playing field in the battle against the bigs.  They can also help you generate, engage and sell to an ever growing audience of followers.
Get your FREE copy!

Speaking of followers, another excellent excuse to write that book you have in you is to realize the fact that if you own a business, publishing a book is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field. This way, the next time someone ask you if you have read any good books lately, you can look them in the eye and say, "I not only read good books, I write them."  Now tell me that isn't a great ice breaker?

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results.  You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “books” or your desired search term in the search box at the top of this blog. I recommend also visiting GoodBooks online blog at http://good-books-online.blogspot.com/ For starters. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+. You can also get a FREE copy of our ebook, Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st by filling in the form below.


Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win and publisher of GoodBooks.Online.  He has also written hundreds of magazine articles and blogs, plus 5 books.