Archive for February, 2008

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VLOGGING for the weekend!

February 22, 2008

Freethehops… Engagements… and a teaser on slamwire

Have a killer weekend folks.. I know I will!

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The Black Magic of SEO

February 22, 2008

When I was at the University of Florida, we had a course called Computer Concepts and Applications. I learned some things about technology in that course that continue to shape my opinions today. What I learned there is a common topic on one of my favorite blogs, howtosplitanatom: how common people interact with technology… specifically the internet.

One concept discussed in that course was something called the “Oz Factor.” The oz factor is the idea that the average person simply wishes not to deal with technology except on an end-user level out of fear of the unknown. I live in the south and it is very common for me to speak to someone who says something along the lines of “I don’t mess with computers. It’s too complicated.” When any geek can tell you that technology, especially internet technology, is rarely THAT complicated. The difference is that some people just decide to figure it out, and others, since they do not understand it, refuse to.

This feeds into something I have currently been working with: SEO (or search engine optimization). For those who don’t know what I’m talking about… search engine optimization is what you do to a website to ensure that your website about dog biscuits is on the first page of a google (or whatever) search for “dog biscuits”. It is, literally, a huge industry. But SEO has become a sort of black magic. While there are books out on the subject and numerous best practices, I have started to see all sorts of consultants, amateurs, and companies claim to be SEO experts. Can they really be? When I see a junked up car driving down the road with vinyl lettering on the back window claiming that their company can take you to the top of google, my shennanigan meters go off. (I’m not making that up).

SEO is a growing industry. It is growing because search engine algorithms are intimidating to the average person. So, thanks to the oz factor, people would rather pay someone to deal with it than understand it. And thats ok, it just opens the door for many people to fake expertise in the subject. But those of us who understand it, can spot bull from a mile away.

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I’m All In…

February 18, 2008

As some of you may know by now, Alaina made a questionable decision on Friday and agreed to marry me. Thanks for all the well wishes… you guys are awesome. Cue the sappy emo music:

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A Great Song for Friday

February 15, 2008
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Other than the end of star wars, what can make Robert Scoble cry?

February 15, 2008

Microsoft researchers have made Robert Scoble cry. And not in that “give me your lunch money” way that I am sure Robert dealt with in school, but in a “we are the world/superstars sing for charity” way. The ‘Softies have made a new product that has him all in a tizzy, saying it will change his children’s world, and likening it to the moment he first saw the apple II and the first time he saw the internet. Thats a big billing. It is supposed to drop Feb 27. We’ll see.

I also wanted to rave about TokBox. If you haven’t had a chance to check out TokBox, do it. Get a webcam and do it. It’s a way to send video mail and cam chat live, right from your website, blog, myspace or facebook page. Don Kassner and I have been messing with this a while now and loving it. This gives you a pretty good look at what they do:

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Hey Cool! Starbucks has free wifi… oh wait..they duffed it

February 12, 2008

Looks like Starbucks is offering free wifi at stores nationwide soon. Fantastic! Awesome! Welcome to 2002, Starbucks!

Upon further investigation its, Free Wifi*

Notice the asterisk…. According to Starbucks’ announcement:

It is a deal with AT&T where you get it free for up to two hours, then its payola again, just like the crappy deal they had with T-Mobile. Oh and you have to have a Starbucks card or an AT&T account. And you apparently have to setup an AT&T user name. And you can buy time if you don’t have a card or account. Is this really even newsworthy?

Apparently, Starbucks still wants to try and squeeze money out of a service that has generally been free at most other coffee shops for years. Why? It is one of the last things that the small coffee shops can do to lure people away from the Starbucks Machine… well that and way better coffee (cough cough OKAFES cough). I can still remember how funny it was in Gainesville where they offered their garbage T-Mobile wifi, even though the city had wifi FREE pumped all over downtown. People would pile into the coffee shop, using gville wifi for free. Think of all the money they DIDN’T lose! Of course, a much better coffee shop was across the street, but I digress.

I usually admire the big green machine as a company. They are massively profitable, ever expanding and make, well, decent coffee. But I still don’t understand their insistence on pay-for-wifi. What do they gain? They must have gotten a big payday from AT&T. That’s all I can see.

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HotOrNot…? We have the answer!

February 12, 2008

When we all get going in the web entrepreneur world, we all hope that we have an idea that really catches on. Add another name to the list of success stories…

James Hong is a guy I have never met, but none the less have admired from afar for quite sometime. He is the cofounder of HotOrNot.com. I am sure you all remember HotOrNot from the web 1.0 generation. You rated people’s “hotness” on a scale of 1-10, rapid fire. He also built a very successful pay dating site around it. It was fun, addictive, and a very simple, yet original idea. The site never had to take venture funding and made piles of cash. What I like about James is that he is both intelligent and down-to-earth at the same time. To get a good idea of who he is, check out this interview Guy Kawasaki did with him (among others) a while back. He even jokes that when he snuck his picture on there, he was rated around a 6. But when he uploaded his pic and indicated he was the founder of the site, he went up to an 8. He says that he understands that he is really a 6.

While James had manged to keep the site making money for seven years, he finally sold the site, for a reported 20 million. The site was well designed and appealed to a broad array of people. Good to hear that another good guy got paid. Congrats James!