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Facebook’s Socialist Media

I was doing a bit of digging on the new FB rollout. If you’re not familiar, It’s an algorithm update that inherently gives more weight to the wall posts of local businesses. The technicality is that Facebook will play favorites to the more engaged brand content, which 9/10 times are from local businesses with smaller pools of fans. There are a few blog posts floating around that go into more detail. This technicality will be a win for small businesses, but I doubt it will cause anyone to change strategy or go out of their way to cater to. Facebook just wants to keep the interest of the small businesses because they propagate better engagement.

It’s becoming a very predictable formula for Facebook internal affairs:

Where are the highest points of engagement within the user base, and how can we do a better job of pushing that content to the forefront?

This is a unique growth mechanism for any business. Typically you see large corporations making substantial shifts that reflect movements right above a dotted line on a P&L. With Facebook, it’s simply not the case. Though, some Social Media pundits will argue that engagement breeds usage and usage brings ads views/clicks; I’m more aligned to believe it’s more of a survival tactic than anything else. Dips in usage lead to user attrition, user attrition leads to public speculation, and we know what happens once the media has an opportunity to portray a juggernaut as vulnerable.

Expect Facebook to frequently make adjustments to push engagement forward. It is in their best interest to remain a stalwart of American and global culture through interactions. Their future depends on it.


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Beauty and the Beast

For a business or a sole proprietor, a website build could mean a major undertaking.

Depending upon functional requirement and business goals, sites could constitute a flattening of other marketing activities. The nimble Internet entrepreneur’s most valuable resources are time and money. If you sacrifice both for a limited market test, you will inherently be rolling the dice and diminishing your chances of success.

Enter the solution: I’ve found immediate success in launching site agnostic landing pages. They’re not a great long term approach for customer relationship management or SEO; but working within a category to test viability, work an affiliate relationship, or gauge ad response, this type of solution is incredible. Without the assistance of a developer or designer I was able to launch 4 landing pages and have them automatically rotate for testing within 2 hours.

This meant that I could’ve had an opportunity to be first to market, first to jump on an enticing affiliate offer, or decide that a niche was unfruitful as my competition was in site-build.


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Facebook Update Interpretation

Facebook will tell you that the new adjustments to the wall and expanded sidebar/ticker are to keep an engaging experience to users each and every time they login. While this may be true, there is another behavioral movement that Facebook is tapping into; the startling growth of multi-screen content consumption.

In a study conducted by IPG Media Lab and YuMe Ad Net, it was discovered that over 60% of TV viewers spent time distracted by data applications on mobile devices, while 33 percent watched TV with their laptops open.

Multi-screen consumption is here, and it’s real. People have naturally adapted to an influx of new media by discovering means of micro-reading and interacting. The primal strength of our peripheral is being realized. This is a prime example of technology paving the evolution of our society, rather than inhibiting. An inhibiting example would text messaging while driving (and several other dangerous scenarios), because our attention needs to be completely focused on a tiny screen and buttons to accomplish the task. Someday soon I expect a greater movement to improve the micro communication of SMS (namely better ‘talk to text’ activation), but for the time being this is a major evolution inhibitor.

In order for Facebook to be a single non-distracted experience they would need to move to multi-panel. The same rule holds true for TV, but there are a million reasons (all the way down to the TV manufacturers themselves) why TV’s single screen format wont change unless it becomes a life or death scenario.

Expect to see, what seems like, a more taxing experience on a lot of your favorite websites to captured more of our attention with less distraction. How will this balance against web development best practices? Could cleanliness give way to clutter? Whatever the future holds, Facebook is simply claiming ‘FIRST’!


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Social Medic

‘Social media’ can get sort of embarrassing.

Not the entire practice of socializing for business gains, but I’m referring more to self-appointed Social Gurus/Mavens/Magicians/Bulls/Warlocks/Presidents who make a very real attempt at bridging the gap between the people they’ve spent wild Vegas nights with, family, and business contacts. Naturally your posted content will move to a middle place if both aforementioned groups are the audience; striking relevant with neither group of potential interactants. Follow enough social media people (specifically on Facebook) and you’ll see what I mean. Its a robotic group devoid of any personality or meaningful commentary. Social Media can cause you to lose ‘yourself’ if you’re not present to it.

This rule doesn’t apply to everyone, because a very small group of power-users have the wherewithal to either pick their social networking battles or weave webs of posts so powerful that they appeal to all of their connections.

If you find yourself censoring content that you post or hiring an intern to do your bidding, take the initiative and audit your persona. Have your combined fan-bases lost interest in you? Keep tabs on the engagement of your updates. If you are falling upon deaf ears, you could very well be taking the ultimate risk of diminishing the quality of the relationships with your friends, family, and business contacts.
Have you fallen into this trap?


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The Truth Hurts

As a social experiment, try telling the truth to all of your service providers.

You’ll experience an awakening. Your mobile phone carrier will reconsider replacing the device that you dropped in the toilet, Blue Shield will decline you for the bunion you never took care of last year, and your auto financier will think twice about loaning you a vehicle now that you’ve lost your job. All harmless expressions of any naive consumer that has yet to be jaded by the rigors of American business practices.

Lying works and is rewarded for, and has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. More people lie out of necessity because companies have had no option but to accept petty consumer pleas and respond favorably.

“I didn’t realize I would be charged for the HBO channel (that I’ve been watching profusely).” Your cable company will likely not contest and grant you dismissal, no questions asked.

What would it take to realign the goals of major corporations with an honest consumer base?

This simple answer is that you would need a means of identifying truth, and reward it. Reward to the extent where it makes more sense for a consumer to be honest with their service provider than to lie.

For corporations to do so, they’ll need to first find value in honesty.

If 400 people have dropped their iPhone in a toilet in the last week, how many have still have A) Full Functionality B) Half Functionality C) No Functionality and will seek replacement.
If 150 people are disconnecting their HBO service in month 4 of a 3 month trial, is there a specific reason that they’ve forgotten? Maybe they needed to catch the finale of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, knowing that a white lie could exonerate them. Would an additional 3 month trial be sufficient in swaying a consumer into honesty? What does this say about HBO’s programming?

Departmental fracturing eventually separates out the goals of a company from the needs of a consumer group.

Such consumer sourced data can be rewarding for an account representative staff that is connecting with R&D and sales. The product and service intersection with actual usage patterns should be the core of product development, not focus groups of 30 people that are being offered an non-distracted and inorganic trial.

Imagine a corporate culture that is reconfigured to exude truthiness. These sorts of movements are contagious. If honesty begets client facing teams, soon internal operations will feel Utopian in comparison. The battles waged between client and company could be nearly thwarted. The stress of lying will no longer tread on the psyche of either party.


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Agency Lessons from Grandpa

It’s not always easy explaining my daily life to someone two generations removed.

It was the generation that brought us such things as the video tape recorder and super glue. The need to innovate has never changed. The concepts and basic principals and goals of Marketing have also not changed.

In a brief conversation with my Grandpa recently, I mentioned that, put simply, ‘I ‘do’ Marketing on the Internet’. His response really resonated because it refocused my attention as a professional and an educator. He told me that the most important rule in marketing and advertising is that it (ads) should always ‘make you money’.

You might immediately think that to be an underwhelming point, but think about all of the stuff and fluff that gets in the way of ‘making money’ for businesses on the Internet. Everywhere you look, there seems to be a new completely self-indulging marketing gimmick that has agencies writing case studies or a new engagement metric that has no rational connection to a businesses bottom line.

It may be difficult at times to separate all of the bureaucratic idiosyncrasies and relationship rhetoric, in an average agencier’s world, from the things that actually matter for a business.

Is the timing of a launch appropriate for a business or more-so the AOR’s cashflow?
Has the selection of a vendor been made as a match to the business’ goals or have they simply granted the most comfortable terms?
What personal and professional baggage is clouding those people who are committing a bundle of hours to the campaign?

Working with an agency is almost never an unbiased experience. There are simply too many detractors and layers in between those things that matter for a business, and the things that could advance the careers of those assigned to a campaign.

How could this be fixed, or can it?


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Facebook’s Socialist Media

I was doing a bit of digging on the new FB rollout. If you’re not familiar,...
article post

Beauty and the Beast

For a business or a sole proprietor, a website build could mean a major...
article post

Facebook Update Interpretation

Facebook will tell you that the new adjustments to the wall and expanded sidebar/ticker...
article post

Social Medic

‘Social media’ can get sort of embarrassing. Not the entire practice of...
article post

The Truth Hurts

As a social experiment, try telling the truth to all of your service...
article post

Agency Lessons from Grandpa

It’s not always easy explaining my daily life to someone two generations...
article post