Archive for June, 2011
Google just introduced Voice Search – allowing users to talk instead of type. This feature was only a matter of time and will provide useful on a few fronts:
- searching for words you are not sure how to spell – voice search makes this painless, quick and easy
- have a really long search query – with voice search all you have to do is talk
- every want to search for something while you had your hands full? – with voice search it is now possible
Let us know – how useful is voice search in your day to day actions on the internet?
Watch the Voice Search for Google Video
By EDWARD WYATT and MIGUEL HELFT
Published: June 23, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission is preparing to issue subpoenas to Google as part of a wide-ranging civil antitrust investigation into practices in Google’s search engine business, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
For several months, lawyers at the commission have gathered information about Google’s search and advertising business and whether the way it orders search results and related advertising constitutes illegal anticompetitive behavior.
This month, commissioners privately debated whether to authorize its Bureau of Competition to issue subpoenas to Google and are close to moving forward. As of Thursday afternoon, commission formalities remained before the investigation is officially started, but two people with knowledge of the matter said a final decision to issue the subpoenas was imminent in a matter of days. They agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because the action was not yet final and because it could be postponed if the commission required additional information.
Read the entire story here …
Williamstown Theatre Festival
A Streetcar Named Desire
June 22-July 3, 2011
Review by Seth Rogovoy
June 24, 2011
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 23, 2011) – Every production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is haunted by the ghost of Elia Kazan’s film version starring Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden. Wise are those actors and directors who pretend it doesn’t exist, which seems to be the case in the fascinating version playing now at Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Nikos Stage – and aptly so, given the legendary Nikos Psacharapoulos’s penchant for producing Williams at Williamstown.
Read more …
In the Berkshires, the local, sustainable food movement took hold early and just keeps getting bigger
by Stephen Leon on June 23, 2011
When Berkshire Co-op Market opened at its current location in Great Barrington in 2002, the store sold about $100,000 in locally grown and made products in its first year. “And we thought that was the bomb,” says general manager Art Ames, expressing his happiness at that time with the low-six-figure sales.
Little did he know the extent to which the demand for locally produced food was about to explode: In the current fiscal year, Ames says, the market will sell about $1.8 million in local products.
Running the Berkshire Co-op Market has put Ames squarely in the midst—in more ways than one—of a significant cultural shift in how many Americans think about the food they eat. For one thing, he is very aware of significant changes happening in his own industry: “In the early ’80s,” he says, “the fastest growing department in grocery stores, bar none, was frozen foods.” Today, he says, among food co-ops nationwide, frozen foods is the one department that is actually shrinking.
All across the country, phrases like “locally grown,” “farm-to-table” and “100-mile diet” have been turning up with more and more frequency as restaurants increasingly feature locally sourced ingredients, and buy-local advocates and consumers alike extol the virtues of farmers markets, food co-ops and CSAs. But if this movement seems widespread now, it came early to Berkshire County—and seems more embedded in the culture there than in many other regions of the country.
Agriculture has deep roots in Berkshire County, but in the postwar era, any idea of a sustainable food culture took a backseat to a new model of food production that stressed processing, packaging and mass production of heavily marketed brands. Even as the county began to develop a reputation for excellent restaurants—spurred in large part by the weekend and summer visitors who flocked there to relax amid the natural beauty and experience world-class arts—the best chefs weren’t necessarily shopping locally. In the late’60s, says Ames, when gas was cheap and we were starting to see peaches in supermarkets year-round, chefs “were interested in getting the best stuff, but they’d shop far and wide for it.”
But new ideas about the relationship of consumers and food were beginning to take hold in the ’80s, and Berkshire County was on the leading edge of what would become a widespread movement. In 1985, Robyn Van En, Jan Vandertuin and a coalition of local citizens (including Susan Witt, who has long been a local advocate for land trusts and human-scale economies, and developed a microcredit program that was a precursor to the county’s local-only currency, BerkShares), founded one of the nation’s first two community-supported-agriculture programs at Indian Line Farm in South Egremont. (The other, in New Hampshire, appeared at roughly the same time; today there are more than 12,000 CSA farms in the United States.)
Read more …
The Kraft Foods sandwich spread generates some strong opinions, so the company went online to ask people to gush and vent about it.
By Matt Wilson | Posted: June 22, 2011
It’s hard to imagine someone getting all worked up about mayonnaise.
Kraft Foods’ Miracle Whip isn’t quite mayonnaise, though, and it engenders some strong feelings, says Sara Braun, marketing director for the brand. “It is a polarizing product,” she says. “Rather than deny this truth, it’s something that we needed to embrace.”
Early this year, Miracle Whip launched its “Love Us” and “Hate Us” counter on its YouTube page. The message on the page asks people to say whether they love or hate the brand, and to leave a comment saying why. “If it’s unfettered hatred, that’s cool,” the message on the page reads. “We know we’re not for everyone. We just ask you let it out on the right. And if you love us? Well, we love you too. Confess it on the left.”
So far, the counter has drawn a total of nearly 55,000 “loves” and more than 3,300 “hates.”
“We’re used to hearing the negative things that people say about the taste of Miracle Whip, and we want to present the honest opinion that exists out there,” says Braun. “Our hope is that the love comments will really overshadow the hate comments.”
It’s a risky move to ask people to express hate for the brand, she admits, but so far, the payoff’s been worth it.
Read more …
The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times
Is Facebook losing users? Report says U.S., Canada growth slowing
June 13, 2011 | 9:56 am
Facebook’s growth is slowing, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, which have both suffered major traffic drops recently, according to a new study.
“Facebook is still growing towards 700 million users, having reached 687 million monthly actives by the start of June,” said Eric Eldon of Inside Facebook, a research and marketing group, in a report about the world’s most popular social network’s Web traffic.
“Most of the new users continue to come from countries that are relatively late in adopting Facebook, as has been the trend for the past year,” Eldon said. “But overall growth has been lower than normal for the second month straight, which is unusual.”
The social media giant gained 11.8 million new users worldwide in May, down from 13.9 million new accounts in April, Eldon said. Previous to those two months, Facebook had grown by an average of 20 million new users a month for the last 12 months, he said.
“While there have been a few months that have registered lower growth numbers, they have not been back to back,” Eldon said.
The data come by way of estimations from Inside Facebook (which runs the Inside Facebook website with studies and news items directed at developers, journalists and marketers).
Read the rest of the story here.
We often get asked from clients on how to do search engine optimization for their site. The answer starts with building an effective keyword list. Keyword research is not only the first thing you do but it is the foundation for everything else you do with search engine optimization.
Unfortunately, we see folks not spending enough time and effort to get this part right. Building a good keyword list starts with understanding your market and how they search for your product or service (ie., what phrases do they use to search when they are in need (or in the buying mode) for your product or service. Business owners are usually heads down running their businesses and either don’t spend enough time thinking about good keywords or think they already know what keywords are relevant for their business. Our first piece of advice is to get into your customers head and think what phrases they might use to find your business – or better yet – what “buying” phrases they might they use.
To get you started with your keyword research make sure your research meets the following 4 criteria:
- Relevance: Focus on identifying keywords that are relevant to your business or niche. Keyword relevance is essential to both search engine rankings and to the satisfaction of your end users. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know what is relevant and what is not – do the research.
- Probability to Convert: Are the keywords you are using, used by people who are ready to buy or “do business”. The keywords you target must be used by people who are highly motivated to take some form of action like; Clicking on a link, Downloading a report, Subscribing to a list, Requesting more information or Buying something online.
- Search Volume: People must be using the keywords you choose. Focus on identifying keywords that have a reasonable number of people using them in their search queries every month.
- “Rankability”: Is there a reasonable probability that you can achieve a high ranking for the keywords you’re planning to target. Pay Attention to This! The only way you’ll attract organic search traffic is if you rank at or near the top of the search results. Period. SO choose words and/or phrases that you have a “better than good” chance of ranking on page one of search results.
We have collected a few helpful articles below to help you get you started on your keyword research.
In this episode Rick and Cayley discuss the concept of building a SEO keyword list. How to develop the keyword list and place.
Publish Date: 05/09/2011 17:08
Cool and novel ways to build a keyword list that your competitors would be jealous of. 1. Profile Your Market And Keywords. Unless you understand what your target market looks like, thinks like and talks like – you’re …
Publish Date: 03/24/2011 23:10
You can create an effective keyword list for your PPC campaign in five simple steps.
Publish Date: 03/16/2011 12:02
As an entrepreneur, you are probably bombarded with e-mail messages every day with someone telling you how they “get your site to the top of the search engines.” Well, if you’re like most business owners, you don’t have …
Publish Date: 05/18/2011 7:39
To start, you want to create a list of good, SEO keywords. And whether you are doing your own SEO, or working with a professional, here are some things to keep in mind when developing your list: Use Your Common Sense. …
Publish Date: 05/23/2011 20:30