Webconsuls Blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sliced bread and other marketing delights



In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. And early adopters, not the mainstream's bell curve, are the new sweet spot of the market.

Monday, December 17, 2007

21 century disaster tips you will not hear from officials: TWITTER



Voice calls won't get through and crash networks: Twitter messages are more likely to get through & lets those who MUST use voice. Another "21st-century disaster tip you WON'T hear from officials."

Stay Safe And Well This Holiday Season .http://twitter.com/safeandwell

Click here if You use Twitter!

Google Profiles - One Login to Rule Them All.

What is a Google Profile?

A Google Profile is simply how you represent yourself on Google products — it lets you tell others a bit more about who you are and what you're all about. You control what goes into your Google Profile, sharing as much (or as little) as you'd like.

Use multiple Google products? Soon your Google Profile will link up with these as well.

One login to rule them all.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Walk over to the watercooler

In October Lisa and I attended the Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. We were excited to share and learn from our fellow New Media and Blogging peers. We are your classic early adopters and we were anxious to learn what other early adopters were utilizing in the realm of New Media and Social Marketing. We found iPhones dominated the crowd, this did not surprise us. Our most notable observation, as we looked over various shoulders in each workshop we attended, was the prevalence of Twitter. Twitter was absolutely hailed as the up and coming social media technology.

Our experience with Twitter prior to arriving at the conference certainly foreshadowed its significance.

Our first hand experience with Twitter was remarkably exhilarating. We started networking and researching Blog World Expo before we even arrived. Via Twitter we connected to all the posts (Tweets) on the topics of greatest interest to us. We tracked posts containing the phrases "Blog World Expo", "Social Media", "Internet Marketing". We connected to various people who shared our interests and professional goals. Twitter gave us the opportunity to gather information, watch trends, see comments and conversations, identify key players, and network. During the conference participants "twittering" their workshops enabled a level of participation beyond our workshop sessions.

What is Twitter? Twitter is a new concept in blogging. Just like Blogging was a new concept only a few years ago and is now accepted into the common language. Twitter was developed by the creator of Blogger.

Twitter is microblogging. Why micro? Because Twitter messages (often referred to as Tweets) cannot exceed 140 characters. Twitter messages answer the question "What are you doing right now?" and so they are timely, sometimes personal, and are posted for the world to see.

Twitter can be used in a variety of ways and with a variety of internet appliances. Twitter can be used on cell phones. It's brevity of messages and portability make Twitter ideal for the web enabled cell phone. Tweets can be received on laptop and desktop computers via instant messenger, email, and through their web interface.

Think Skywriting from your cell phone. You post to Twitter and your post is out there for all your network and anyone tracking the keywords in your post. Think chat room for Facebook. Posting to Twitter alerts all your friends (referred to as followers in Twitter) and you have the opportunity to reply directly and personally to the person who posted. Think Minority report, (Twitter tracking), gives you the opportunity to track conversations containing keywords. These conversations may have not even happened yet.

What is Twitter not? It is not email, you do not have to pay attention, you can tune in and tune out as needed. Your information gathering can be adjusted to your needs. Do you want to be notified on the fly or would you rather return to your page to gather and respond to the online conversation.

So back to our story, one of the people we have been following on twitter is Jeremiah Owyang Senior Analyst at Forrester Research on Social Computing. Jeremiah set off a Twitter firestorm on Tuesday with this blog post, "Some Conversations are shifting to Twitter" Where he tells us that he is getting 2000 hits a week from Twitter to his blog and that something is happing here. His call to action, comment to his post with your Twitter id and friend up.

One of the number one things that we brought back from Vegas was to spend 50% of your time off blog, at places like Facebook, Myspace, Blogs, where ever you find these conversations taking place. Content + Connection = Conversation, is the core of Web 2.0. So I replied to his post with my Twitter ID.

I have gone from having 60 Followers to over 270 and the conversation is extraordinary. My feeling is this, you will not "get" Twitter until you start "using" Twitter and taking part in the conversation. Walk on over to the internet's watercooler, you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

November Search Market Share

The recap today from the Compete Blog

* Google volume and market share increased to record levels again
* Yahoo! volume and market share decreased to a new low again
* MSN/Live market share held steady on slight volume gains again
* Ask market share held on to last month's gains but didn't move any higher
* 8.1 billion served, that's a lot of questions no wonder Jeeves went into retirement.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google Experimenting With Digg Style Voting On Search Results

If you saw this one coming, give yourself a very large prize. Google is experimenting with Digg style voting features on search results that allow users to vote up or bury search results they see.

What is it?

Google is always experimenting with new features aimed at improving the search experience.

This experiment lets you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again, you'll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you've made. Note that this is an experimental feature and may be available for only a few weeks.

How do I use it?

Like it?

This button (fig. 1b) will move the result to the top of the page and add this orange marker (fig. 1a) next to it so you can easily recognize it. The result(s) you promote will appear at the top whenever you search for the same keyword(s) in the future.

Don't like it?

This button (fig. 1b) will remove the result, and it will remain hidden when you search for the same keyword(s) in the future.

Know of a better webpage?

At the bottom of the search results (fig. 1c) you can give the address of a page that's relevant to your search. When you search for these same keyword(s) the page you've suggested will appear at the top with this orange marker .

Is it permanent?

Your changes will be applied each time you search for the same keyword(s). There's a link at the bottom of the search results that lets you view the results in their original ordering.

Do you have to be signed in?

Yes. To see your changes next time, you must be signed in to your Google account.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Anatomy of a Google Search Result



In this first video, Matt Cutts talks about the anatomy of a Google search result, and gives some useful tips on how you can help improve how your site appears in Google search results pages. This talk covers everything you'll see in a Google search result, including page title, page description, and sitelinks, and explains those other elements that can appear, such as stock quotes, cached pages links, and more.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Facebook Ads

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg put Facebook Ads this way:

"Nothing influences a person more," he said, "than a recommendation from a trusted friend."

Reach the exact audience you want with relevant targeted ads.

contact us for help.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blog World Expo - BrainDump

Just got home from Blog World Expo in Las Vegas and I want to tell you EVERYONE there was on Twitter. http://twitter.com/darinrmcclure Do You Follow Me?

Lisa and I sat in on the following list of Classes,

Corporate & CEO Blogging
Picking a Blogging Platform and How to Leverage Blogs, Podcasts, Video, Social Media and Other Channels for Traffic Conversions and Profits
Blogging to Affect Non-Partisan Grass Roots Change
Maximizing the Benefits of Small Business Blogs
The Cult of Blogging
Leveraging Social Media for Your Company
What Web 10.0 Might Look Like: The Far Future
Smart Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Secrets of Great Video Production and Vlogging
How Online Conversations Change Markets
Managing Information Flow with an RSS Reader
Just the Numbers: Understanding Analytics
Creating a Coherent Social Media Strategy
The Lazy Guide to Producing Great Podcasts

and the one thing that we both noted thru-out was the number of people in those classes with twitter open.

>>>>> TWITTER WAS EVERYWHERE <<<<<<

If you don't GET Twitter yet, don't worry, just start to use it.

Our full review will be posted on the Webconsuls Training Blog for our clients.

email your gmail address to darin@webconsuls.com if you would like access.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The web is better when it's social - Google OpenSocial



There's no denying that the web enables communication. The killer apps of the web -- email, instant messaging, blogging -- have enabled us to communicate with our friends, family, and the rest of the world on a large scale. But there is a newer characteristic of the web that has been emerging: to become social. The first wave of killer apps allowed us to communicate with the world at scale. The next wave is about connecting us and our online activities with our friends. (And your customer base)

Social networks have seen that next wave, and have started opening up developer APIs to enable third-party innovation on their websites. This is a great thing, but it has also led to a growing number of APIs which a developer must learn. So we took a look at the state of the web and asked how we could make development easier for both websites and developers. Out of that exercise came OpenSocial.

OpenSocial is a set of common APIs that will work on many different social websites, including MySpace, Hi5, Ning, orkut, and LinkedIn, among others. In addition, this allows developers to learn one API, then write a social application for any of those sites. Learn once, write anywhere, if you will. And because it's built on web standards like HTML and JavaScript, developers don't have to learn a custom programming language.

Perhaps most interestingly, we will see social capabilities move into new contexts. OpenSocial will also work in non-traditional social contexts, such as on Salesforce.com and Oracle. With a common set of APIs, it will be even easier to extend social functionality. Beyond the many fun and entertaining social applications we already have seen, we think we'll see a number of social applications emerge in business contexts.

Lastly, the web is global, and so is the scope of OpenSocial. When you add up the current websites who have committed to implementing OpenSocial, you realize that a developer building for OpenSocial has the chance to reach over 200M+ users in dozens of countries. So over the course of the next few months, we're going to continue laying the foundations of OpenSocial to enable this common dream for a more social web.

So get started today. First, sign up for the Orkut sandbox so you can begin building and testing. Next, take a look at the OpenSocial API docs. Finally, start thinking about the possibilities given all of the websites that are implementing OpenSocial.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Twitter, Do you follow me?

What is Twitter?

Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends, colleagues, and current events, no matter where you are or what you're doing. For some friends or events you might want instant mobile updates for others, you can just check the web. Invite your friends to Twitter and decide how connected you want you to be.

During the recent Earthquake and California Wild Fires Followers Set Twitter Ablaze: "Twitter users Nate Ritter and Viss have been busy posting rapid-fire updates of the current wildfire situation in Southern California. Both of them are on the scene in San Diego, and they are doing an excellent job of providing information and news about evacuations, meeting points and anything important that local residents would need to know."

Quite simply: There is nothing more important to teach educators (and the rest of us) about technology, than how to network.

Putting out a fire? Escaping an Earthquake? Planning a class? meeting? Lunch? Conference? and need to be able to update (and update your site?) and be updated via your mobile device? Twitter is how you can do so.



Friday, October 26, 2007

Gmail IMAP for the iPhone



Watch this Youtube video and learn how to set up Gmail IMAP on the iPhone in one minute and thirty six seconds.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Consumers are turning to online reviews in LARGE numbers

And those reviews are having a considerable impact on purchase decisions. According to a recent survey by Deloitte's Consumer Products group, almost two-thirds (62 percent)of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet. Of these, more than eight in 10 (82 percent) say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by the reviews, either influencing them to buy a different product than the one they had originally been thinking about purchasing or confirming the original purchase intention. Interestingly, while the percentages were slightly higher for the younger generations, all age groups are reading and acting on online reviews at significant rates. In addition, the reach of consumer reviews isn't limited to the online world; seven in 10 (69 percent) consumers who read reviews share them with friends, family or colleagues, thus amplifying their impact.

"This increasing market transparency can adversely impact the margins, market share and brand equity of consumer products companies," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and US consumer products group leader at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. "In the past, clever marketers and advertisers shaped brands, but now consumers are increasingly empowered, everyone has a voice, and information and opinions are instantly dispersed. Consumer product companies need to determine how best to capitalize on this new landscape. Clearly, there will be consequences for those who don't."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting Started with Google Maps



Explore the world using interactive maps. Visit http://maps.google.com today.

(Note: Always wear safety belts in real cars!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Plugoo, Let your visitors chat with you while on your site.



With Plugoo you can chat directly from your favorite Instant Messenger client with any visitor to your site. Those visitors would only need to have flash installed to be able to contact you, and your IM address is kept private!

Friday, September 14, 2007

ALERT! Quechup steals your address book!

Did you get an invite to Quechup? DELETE IT!!! Just wanted to send a note out to everyone to let them be aware of a new social network that is spamming everyone in your gmail address book. If you get an invite from Quechup ignore it. I sign up for these sites all the time. I was sent an invitation from a customer and joined to check it out. When Quechup asked me to invite my friends I did, making sure only to invite Lisa McClure. However, everyone in my gmail address book was sent an invitation. The amount of bad press that can be found with a Google search on Quechup is amazing. Please disregard, trash, destroy, delete, remove, any and all invites from Quechup. and advise your friends to do the same. From now on I will google every invite I get prior to joining any new site. We advise you to do the same. and to contact us directly if you have any questions.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Search Engine Marketing News September 2007

Webconsuls’ Blog:* “A web marketing, informational resource for Webconsuls' clients”

Since Dick and Dennis formed Webconsuls in 1999, our basic premise has been that successful web marketing is a collaborative effort between the SEO / Internet marketing firm and the web site owner. That remains as true today as then. The most successful Internet marketers are informed, innovative and opportunistic. They always seem to know what is going on, what is available, what works, what to avoid and “what is going to be hot or trendy.” In short, they read, evaluate and observe.

As part of our social marketing “lift-off,” we posted a Webconsuls Blog at “<http://www.webconsuls.com/blog>.” We hope that it becomes a valuable knowledge source for you. Here you will find an easy to use index, a list of contributors, previous post titles and a growing collection of content information is now available. There are links to articles and resources, videos, podcasts, how-to instructions and much more. Do you want to see your vacation property from space, learn how to have your property, along with images you choose, indexed on Google “Free?” Bookmark Webconsuls Blog. Using our “social buttons,” you can offer comments, offer feedback, post questions or requests, learn what others are doing. Almost assuredly, you will have an opportunity to keep your competition “wondering, defensive and apprehensive” about your next web innovation or marketing strategy. * Clients who participate in our Social Marketing Programs also have access to a “Webconsuls training blog,” from Darin and Lisa, containing outstanding “how to guides and tips. Keith Hansen, Pay-per-Click (PPC) Specialist joins Webconsuls: Many of you participate in PPC campaigns, most often through Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing. Those who do will know that during 2007, Yahoo has revamped its entire PPC Program; the result is that now, both Google and Yahoo offer very similar programs. PPC is a quick way to establish keywords on the major Engines and Directories. It is most effective when organic positioning for targeted keywords has not occurred. These bidding systems are sophisticated; for the novice, participation can be a very expensive lesson, with little or no return.

Over the past three years Dennis had been working with Keith Hansen, a Yahoo “Gold Level” management representative” assigned to Webconsuls. Yahoo provided Keith with extensive training in bidding systems, bidding theory, Campaign management, conversions and many other topics. He knows the Yahoo Search Marketing system well; given the similarities with Google, his expertise extends to Adwords and other systems as well. He is experienced and knows most “nuances and bidding strategies “from the inside.”

In June, Dennis learned that Keith left Yahoo to work on his own supporting commercial clients in setting up, administering and managing PPC Campaigns. After a few discussions, Keith has come on board with Webconsuls and he is now representing a number of our PPC Clients. Given his knowledge of this field, we believe that he will be a tremendous asset for our clients in this very competitive arena. If you have been considering PPC, now is your best window of opportunity. Contact Dennis, Dick or Judy for details. Domain Aging /Maturity: It appears that Google is presently giving a lot of weight to the age of a domain and disproportionately so. While Domain age can be used as a factor in determining how solid a company or site is, there are many newer sites providing some great information and innovative ideas. Many newer sites were “downgraded” in the last Google update.

For those with relatively new Domains, registered in the past year or two, the quickest way to remove the “Google Sandbox” penalty is to target inbound links from highly ranked, relevant web sites. We believe that Webconsuls’ link popularity program has been one of those effective tools, as we have seen a number of sites with brand new Domains achieve excellent keyword ranking for target keywords rather quickly. Domain Hijacking and Copyright Takedown Notices: There has been a great deal of “Domain Hijacking” recently and the problem seems to be getting bigger. A number of our clients have experienced persons and firms (often through Nameking.com) buying up similar domain names and thereafter launching their own web sites. Subsequently, persons searching on the company name, more often than not, may land on the fictitious site. While there are no “absolutely foolproof” protections, the best way to thwart these attempts is to:

  • Purchase (for a minimum of five years and free-park) a variety of Domains relating to your name. For example, mycompany.com, should also consider registering the following: mycompany.org and /or mycompany.mobi
  • Register your Trademark /Servicemark with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO.com). Federal protections are always important. Webconsuls can assist you in both of these areas.
  • Use the Internet to learn about protections available to you or laws already on the books.

Unfortunately, there is no certainty that one will prevail and the legal fees can become prohibitive. If a person desperately needed to drop a competitor out of a top position, it could engage in a legal action that requires Google to drop the ranking “for a period of time,” based on copyright infringement. Here is where you can submit a copyright infringement notice to Google.

Recent Web Sites Designed:

TheatreZone Naples, FL theatrezone-florida.com
UCLA’s Division of Interventional Neuroradiology Westwood, CA aneurysm-stroke.com
Marco Polo Italian Eatery Newport Beach, CA Marcopolonewportbeach.com

New Clients: Lodge at Moosehead Lake Lodgeatmooseheadlake.com Dennis and Linda Bortis,

New Owners /Innkeepers, Greenville ME Whiteside Manor whitesidemanor.com Ron Vervick

Executive Director Fastrak Bail Bonds, Inc forbail.com Michael Fidelis, President Congratulations: Len and Alice Shiller stockbridgeinn.com The Inn at Stockbridge was selected by Kraft Foods’ Post Selects Cereal as the host location for its recently launched national sweepstakes: The Post Selects Bed and Breakfast Getaway. The sweepstakes features a 3-day/2-night Bed and Breakfast Getaway along with the opportunity to meet celebrity chef Sara Moulton and participate in an exclusive cooking demonstration. The sweepstakes runs through September 13, 2007 and is open to U.S. Residents who are 21 years of age or older. To find out more, visit www.PostSelectsSweepstakes.com or The Inn at Stockbridge website at www.stockbridgeinn.com.

Post Script… Lately we have talked to you about the latest ways to get new visitors to your site, like adding a blog or video to your site. So as we end this newsletter we invite you to read some of our clients’ blogs. By reading these blogs you get to learn more about the area, the owners, and even the services offered by our clients. So if you have a few spare minutes check out: www.lodgeatmooseheadlake.com/blog www.captainlordmansion.com/blog www.stockbridgeinn.com/blog www.visionsteen.com/blog www.morningsiderecovery.com/blog www.paradiserecovery.com/blog Videos of interest: Nationally known Dr. Daniel Headrick of Pacific Coast Recovery Center was interviewed by HBO Real Sports ~ “Playing with Pain” http://www.pacificcoastrehab.com/HBO.htm And in closing, take a walk down memory lane and listen to Dennis playing the piano… http://webconsuls.com/blog/2007/07/dennis-helfand-broadway-and-film-piano.html

Talk to you soon,

Dick, Dennis, and Judy

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Protect Yourself and Your Computer

Conscientious web users need to protect themselves from spam scams that can waste their time, steal personal information, and turn their computers into "zombies" spewing more spam throughout the Internet.

Spam methods change quickly and what was popular last month may be outdated next month. A popular one today is "greeting card spam" when someone you do not know sends you an e-greeting card. To read it you have to download a special program which could contain code would compromise your system. An insidious version of this spam scam is to use information on the web, such as at MySpace.com, to find your friends and use their name to send the card. Be very careful before downloading any program.

Stock market "pump and dump" schemes are also popular today. A spammer will buy a penny stock and then send millions of emails "pumping" the stock. If only a few people buy the stock then it will go up and the spammer will "dump" and take a profit. If you get unsolicited information that seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

To protect yourself you use up up to date anti-virus software that has the latest virus information. You should avoid clicking on links in emails but rather type in the complete URL since what you see in the email may not be where you end up. Keep your financial and other confidential information on a flash drive and only connect it when you need to access the information. Do not fall for schemes. Use common sense.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Mobi?

The US wireless industry crossed 80% subscription penetration in Q207. Though the growth rate has slowed down, there is still plenty of room for growth over the next five years. 86-88% of the handsets sold in the US are now replacement devices. Time for an upgrade? The % contribution of data to service revenues jumped from 14.5% to almost 17% in Q207 and is certainly going to cross 20% by the end of this year. Considering the market was only at 6% in 2004, it is a significant improvement in 3 years. Verizon led in % data contribution to ARPU with 19% followed by AT&T at 17.3%, Sprint at 16.3%, and T-Mobile at 15%. If your users are not looking at your site via a handheld device now, they will be soon. Got .Mobi?

Google Sky - Now in Google Earth



Google again in the news with Google sky, a new feature in Google Earth. Stargazers in the family are going to love this one. Google continues to bring innovative and fun products to the marketplace. What makes it even nicer on the pocket book is that they are giving these tools away for free.

To use Google Sky, open Google Earth 4.2 and click "Switch to Sky" in the "View" Menu, or just click the "Sky" button in the Google Earth toolbar. You can do all the fun things you do in Google Sky that you can do in Google Earth, Like Zooming in and out, Dragging around the stars, Search for your favorite planet, Galaxy or other far flung corner of the known Universe.

With Google Sky, Google has successfully brought together a millenia of human knowledge in one easy to use location.

Way to go Google.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Human Computation - Google TechTalks



ABSTRACT Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower using computer games. For example, the ESP Game, described in this talk, is an enjoyable online game -- many people play over 40 hours a week -- and when people play, they help label images on the Web with descriptive keywords. These keywords can be used to significantly improve the accuracy of image search. People play the game not because they want to help, but because they enjoy it.

Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Fellowship.

He describes other examples of "games with a purpose": Peekaboom, which helps determine the location of objects in images, and Verbosity, which collects common-sense knowledge. He also explains a general approach for constructing games with a purpose.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SMO ~ The old fashioned way

About a month ago I sat in on a Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) Training Seminar. The obvious purpose of this seminar was to teach a company's employees the importance of SMO, which is how to get involved by setting up a Stumble Upon account, becoming a regular user of Stumble Upon, writing blog entries, posting comments to blogs, etc.

The trainer took a few minutes to explain that Social Marketing or Social Media is not a new convention, in fact all of us have and continue to participate in Social Marketing activities in our everyday lives; however, this participation traditionally may not have occurred on the web, but instead in our daily contacts with friends, neighbors, co-workers, storekeepers, etc. As the trainer explained this phenomena, if you need a recommendation for a plumber you might first call your trusted next door neighbor, before searching the web for plumbers in your neighborhood.

At the time I thought that this was a clever analogy, but it came to me later that a closer analogy to the anonymity of web SMO might be the traditional Service Station proprietor.

Do you remember the old-fashioned Service Station owner? I have fond memories of a particular Service Station owner ~~ my father, Joe, who owned a Service Station from about 1955 until 1963. When my father first leased the station it was a Wilshire Service Station located at the corner of 7th and E Avenue in National City, CA.

Looking back I now realize that Joe was an original and natural social marketer. How he came to own the service station is another story, but suffice it to say the service stations, as we knew them then, offered anyone, who ventured into the station, a wealth of assistance and information. And while my father had a good number of regular customers, for the most part the daily customers were strangers to my father. And yet these strangers, not unlike today's web social group members, depended on him for more than gasoline.

If the customer needed driving directions, no Mapquest, just ask Joe or one of the service station attendants. If you needed a local or state map, they were provided by the service station at no cost! Need a suggestion for a good restaurant, again no IPhone with Google maps, just ask Joe and he might send you to the El Juan Cafe for Mexican cuisine (still in business) or Keith's Family Restaurant (still operating) for home-made fried chicken. Looking for a particular church, Joe only had to point you across the street to St. Mary's Catholic or just down the street to St. Matthew's Episcopal. Need to know what was playing at the local movie theatre, Joe could tell you the current film and show times at the Bay Theater (built in 1944, the building is still there but for sale for $2.7m.)

And let's not forget that service stations in years past did not have mini-marts, but they did offer you a clean restroom, a soda machine, they could fix a tire, tune your car and if you needed a phone, just come on in and you were given the opportunity to use the business phone. No payphone on site and certainly no cell phones.

One of my favorite memories of Joe, as a social marketer, was him serving as an impromptu employment agency. Frequently local people would stop by looking for work and if Joe didn't have an opening, he would know which businesses in the neighborhood were looking for employees. Over the years, Joe employed many family friends, offering them part-time positions to help make ends meet. No Hot Jobs or Monster.com...just stop by and talk to Joe.

And there were even days when a complete stranger would come into the station, ask for a fill-up; however, when payment was requested suddenly they would indicate they had no money. These strangers would then barter with my father leaving a watch or something else of value promising to return later with cash to redeem their item. I don't know, you might call this a little credit union, pawn shop, or even pay day advance.

Sometimes the service station would serve as a small used car lot. Local people would ask to park their cars with a "for sale" sign posted on the car. My father bought more than one of these used cars over the years, the most memorable being a seven+ passenger Cadillac Limousine, circa mid 1940s. (see the photo of my dad in front of the black Cadillac taken in 1960, wearing his Wilshire shirt, with my then four year old brother, Michael, sporting his own Wilshire shirt.) Could this have been the precursor for CARMAX?

I like remembering my father and his service station. He took good care of his customers and he was always willing to provide recommendations, not unlike today's blogs, and other on-line social media and marketing vehicles.

Click here to learn more about:

the history of service stations or to enjoy photos of the Bay Theater.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dennis Helfand Broadway and Film Piano Favorites

From 1986 - 1997, my wife Judy and I, along with our two sons Aaron and Daniel, owned and operated a New Hampshire bed and breakfast inn, Cranmore Mountain Lodge, in the White Mountains. During the evenings, I would often play piano and over time, these "mini-concerts" became a regular inn "feature." If I were not at the piano after dinner, the lobby Innkeeper buzzer would usually be pressed by 8 PM and I knew exactly what that meant.

The guests seemed to prefer the music of Broadway, the big shows, like Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Man of La Mancha, Cats, Fiddler on the Roof and others. Scores from popular films or background music such as Love Story, Unchained Melody, the Godfather (Speak Softly Love) and romantic ballads were always requested. Eventually I recorded a tape cassette and when CDs were introduced, I recorded and offered CD s for sale as well.

Daniel, Dennis, Judy and Aaron, circa 1992
The setting was a beautiful common room with fireplace and this wonderful baby grand piano. Over the years, this room became the favorite of our inn guests, typically folks who enjoyed experiencing New England at a traditional and historic bed and breakfast. It was a wonderful time, with guests singing, humming or simply relaxing in easy chairs and rockers, as the treasures of Broadway and film were being played for them. Occasionally, a guest would ask me to accompany them and they would perform. On rare occasion, the vocal range and star quality were magnificent. Unfortunately, more often than not, some soloist requests, (and the thumbs-down performance that followed ), occasioned fear of "early guest checkouts" in me. Fortunately, inn guests tend to be rather "forgiving" and just seem to giggle a lot. At Cranmore Mt. Lodge, music was part of the inn's character. The common room made the travel experiences memorable for the guests.

The style and interpretation of the music was mine and "the common room" became my stage. I was its star soloist and performer. Why, come to think of it, I even owned the theatre. For the guests, sharing stories and experiences of their day, (with my music providing the background to give those tales "color and drama"), added something intangible to their trip. The inn became theirs. They were comfortable. They knew they were coming back. When the day of checkout arrived and they would say their goodbyes, they usually had a CD packed for themselves and a few others as gifts. The White Mountains National Forest area will always be known for its beauty, its foliage, and spectacular vistas. Tourism will always be its major industry. We were able to add another dimension to their trip. I hope you will enjoy this YouTube video of my recording of "Memory". Here are some of my favorite memories of New Hampshire. Daniel, my youngest son, created this video for me.



I have long since sold the inn and with it, my wonderful baby grand. I miss that piano, the feel of the keys, the shiny black finish. I think back (ten years already) to those times at the keyboard, with my captive audience in attendance. All those people and yet, in a strange way, always feeling alone. I had found my place and life was truly wonderful. I have never had a piano lesson. I am self-taught. My CD, Dennis Inn Concert, the Sounds of Cranmore Mt. Lodge has never gone Silver, Gold or Platinum. It ain't going to get any special recognition either or referenced on the Juilliard School web site. Yet, "somewhere out there" that CD is playing.

I am older now and many miles distant. It is nighttime in Newport Beach CA and as I sit in my home, I close my eyes and see the common room, the fireplace, the couples, the families. The piano is still shiny black and my fingers can feel the wonderful smoothness of the ivory. I am still their Innkeeper and they will be my special guests forever. The "Memory" feels good. Yes, the sounds of that time are alive and well... both for my inn guests ....and for me.

I hope you enjoy my CD Podcast.


Click to listen

Dennis Helfand 'Inn' Concert - The Sounds of the Cranmore Mt. Lodge

Right click pod icon and copy location to add Podcast to iTunes



Google Hot Trends

With Hot Trends, you can see a snapshot of what's on the public's collective mind by viewing the fastest-rising searches for different points of time. You can see a list of today’s top 100 fastest-rising search queries in the U.S. You can also select a recent date in history to see what the top rising searches were and what the search activity looked like over the course of that day. Google update Hot Trends hourly.

Hot Trends reflects what people are searching for on Google today. Rather than showing the most popular searches overall, which would always be generic terms like "weather," Hot Trends highlights searches that have sudden surges in popularity. Our algorithm analyzes millions of web searches performed on Google and displays those searches that deviate the most from their historic traffic pattern. The algorithm also filters out spam and removes inappropriate material.

For each search, Hot Trends shows related searches, a search-volume graph, and the top cities. We also display news, blog, and web results to help give context about why a search may be appearing on the Hot Trends list today.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Get Dot Mobi

 Get Mobi Enabled

Got Dot Mobi?

With the explosion in handheld mobile devices, your users are no longer just browsing your site from a computer, they are now also viewing your site through their mobile phones.

Convergence is happening folks, and we do not see that taking place on your TV set or computer at home, but on that trusty little device that everyone seems to be walking around with, the ubiquitous mobile phone.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Welcome to Google Apps

Want simple, powerful communication and collaboration tools for your organization without the usual hassle and cost?

Communicate...
Give your users Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk accounts that use your own domain, helping them to stay connected and work together more effectively.

Collaborate and publish...
Docs & Spreadsheets lets users share files and collaborate in real-time. The Start Page is the first place your users will look to preview their inboxes and calendars, access your essential content, and search the web.

...and get on with business.
It's all hosted by Google, so there's no hardware or software to install or download, and minimal setup and maintenance. You can get up and running quickly, even if you don't have technical resources.

And Webconsuls is there to help if you would like to make the move.

Google Apps Premier Edition

The Premier Edition offers the best of Google Apps. If you're looking to complement your existing IT infrastructure (account management system and/or Intranet), you can access extensibility APIs to integrate your entire organization with Google services.

Some features include:

* $50/user account/year
* 10GB mailboxes
* User account provisioning
* Single sign-on
* Email gateway
* Email whitelist
* No ads displayed on Google services
* Access to Google partners

Google offers 24/7 assistance, including telephone support for critical issues. Google Apps Premier Edition also includes a 99.9% uptime guarantee for Gmail.

You can read more about how Google Apps has already helped many organizations around the world.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gmail POP and SMTP port settings for Outlook Express

Just when you think you have Outlook all figured out, Along comes Outlook Express whose port settings are upside down from Outlook!

Tools > Accounts > Mail Tab > Select Your Gmail for your domain account > Properties



Your Outlook Express settings should match.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Got Collaboration? Google Talk

Google Talk is Google's instant communications service. Like Gmail, Google's free webmail service, Google Talk uses Google's innovative technologies to help people communicate more effectively and efficiently. This means Google Talk is fast, intuitive and fun to use.

It also means you can start thinking about instant communications in a new way. Google Talk offers you different ways to integrate real time communications into your online experience. The Google Talk Gadget lets you see who's online and send instant messages from your Google Personalized Homepage, without installing any software. You can also add the same instant messaging capabilities to your own webpage or blog by cutting and pasting a single line of code. And by downloading the Google Talk Client, you can make voice calls and transfer files to your friends.

And if you use Gmail, Google Talk offers you even more. You'll find all of your Gmail contacts organized in your Talk contacts list. Gmail also archives all of your Google Talk chats and makes them searchable. And since Google Talk is integrated into Gmail, you'll be able to chat with all your Talk contacts there, too.

Got Collaboration? Google Talk.

Login and start talking today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Outlook set up in Gmail for your domain

You can use the following information to configure POP with many mail clients. If you encounter difficulties, Click here for help.

Incoming Mail (POP3) Server - requires SSL: pop.gmail.com
Use SSL: Yes
Port: 995
Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server - requires TLS: smtp.gmail.com (use authentication)
Use Authentication: Yes
Use STARTTLS: Yes (some clients call this SSL)
Port: 465 or 587
Account Name: your Webconsuls email address (username@webconsuls.com)
Email Address: your full Webconsuls email address (username@webconsuls.com)
Password: your Webconsuls password

You can even set this up and test Outlook prior to the email move if you have enabled POP thru the Webconsuls Start Page.
.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gmail for Your Domain


At Webconsuls we know good technology when we use it. That is why we have moved our email to "Gmail for your domain". Gmail for your domain is hosted by Google, so there's no hardware or software for you to install or maintain. Each email address gets 2 gigabytes of storage, spam and virus filtering, with search tools that will help find information fast. Instant messaging from right inside the account so that it's easy for everyone to work as a team.

There is even more cool new functionality!

A customizable start page, http://start.webconsuls.com/

A brandable mail page, http://mail.webconsuls.com/

A place to share documents across the desktop or across the globe, http://docs.webconsuls.com/

And a place to share and keep track of those important appointments, http://calendar.webconsuls.com/

Are you ready for Web 2.0?

We can help you get there. Click Here

Gmail is different. Here's what you need to know.

Messages that are easy to find, an inbox that organizes itself, great spam-fighting tools and built-in chat. Sound cool? Welcome to Gmail.

To get started, you may want to:

  • Learn about some of Gmail?s unique features on the Getting Started page.
  • Follow our Switching Guide to learn how to announce your new Gmail address, import your contacts, and forward your email from Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, Hotmail, and others.
  • Set up your mobile phone to get super-fast access to Gmail.
  • Visit our Help Center to find specific answers to all your questions.

Users have often told us that the more they use Gmail, the more they discover its benefits. So go ahead and give it a try. We'll keep working on making Gmail the best email service around, and we appreciate your joining us for the ride.

Thanks,

The Gmail Team

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SMO ... Optimize with Social Networks

Social Media Optimization uses the tools of Web 2.0: blogs, RSS feeds, social networking sites, social bookmark buttons, tagging, multimedia posts, and wikis, to target an audience, create an online presence and to develop familiarity and authority with the customer. SMO is about using these tools in conjunction with a website to spread your content far and wide, to create opportunities for others to link to your site and to establish yourself as an authority.

Social Media Optimization harnesses the power of the social network. Web 2.0 provides numerous and growing opportunities to become a participant in the on line communities. Social networking sites create new opportunities to reach potential customers and to establish a dialogue. Social Media Optimization operates in a way that is analogous to “word of mouth” advertising but is more efficient due to the tools and organization of the internet.

Developing content and posting in appropriate social forums, using the current tools to tag and make your content easy to distribute and link to is the focus of a Social Media Optimization Campaign. Building a wealth of informative posts using various media is an efficient and productive way to spread your reputation and encourage a discourse with customers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blogging .... Just Do It

Build a Better Blog Tips
  1. Establish. yourself as the authority in your niche by writing and posting quality content.
  2. Use multimedia postings to provide variety and more personal connection with your customers.
  3. Give your content wings. Make it easy to spread your content. Adding an RSS feed enables those who find your content compelling to subscribe to your blog and be alerted to newly posted items. Developing a regular readership is a great way to encourage business and repeat business.
  4. Add bookmarks. Give your readers a quick and easy way to suggest your content to others. Social bookmarks give you the opportunity for members of social bookmark communities to spread your content with a click of a button.
  5. Title your blog post with appropriate key word search terms. Always write your content for readers, but take opportunities to encourage search engines to recognize content which contains your targeted keywords.
  6. There are various search engines, blog directories and web based RSS aggregators which your content can be submitted to, drawing more traffic to your website and creating backlinks to your site.

But the biggest blogging tip of all:

7. The most important thing to remember about blogging is JUST DO IT!!!! Don't get bogged down with the infinite checklist of all that can be done to a blog. As you blog often and consistently your familiarity will lead you to incorporated more functionality.

BLOGGING ... Just do it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blogs

Blogs

What is a blog?
The term blog is short for web log. A blog is a journal which is kept on the internet and continually updated with new posts. Post generally consist of text and photo entries, posts can also include audio and video. Blogs have emerged as one of the leading venues for internet marketing.

The Importance of Blogs
Blogs provide an unprecedented ability to develop a community, build authority and extend a familiar and credible face to your internet presence. Blogs are the perfect venue to share your knowledge with your customers and potential customers. Information rich content focusing on and around your business niche will establish you as the “neighborhood specialist”. As your blog develops you will be creating a rich knowledge base for your customers to reference. A regularly updated blog with strong informative content will draw traffic, encourage search engine spidering, enhance your search engine rankings while building an ongoing relationship with your customers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter May 2007

In this newsletter we discuss...


  • New designs or redesigns by Webconsuls 
  • Mobile Phones and hand held devices Blogs 
  • 508 Compliance 
  • Getting listed on Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search 

New Web Designs by Webconsuls


Over the past few months, Webconsuls has been working on new web designs or redesigns for a number of our clients. We invite you to view these sites. Morningside Recovery An addiction and recovery treatment center in Newport Beach, CA. Pacific Coast Recovery Center A 30 day hospital based program which includes medical detox and hospital inpatient chemical dependency and pain track, located South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach, CA Delytes Catering and Event Planning located in Temecula Valley, CA, serving Riverside and San Diego Counties. Your Best Look Michael Nelson, M.D. providing Lipotherapy and Mesotherapy, serving the greater Kansas City, MO area.Temecula Divorce Gina Famularo is a family law attorney practicing in Temecula, California.

Mobile Phones and Hand-Held Devices

Your web site may display beautifully on a PC, but how does it look on a mobile phone? You may be very surprised and a bit dismayed by the result! If you are curious, there is an easy test at: http://emulator.mtld.mobi/emulator.php

Simply access the URL shown above, select the type of device in the drop down and type in your URL without including the “www;” just the domain name.com/.net/.org, etc.

Fortunately, a solution is available. You can have Webconsuls design your site for mobile devices and use a specific “.Mobi,” top-level domain for the mobile site. “.Mobi” is dedicated to delivering the Internet to mobile devices via the Mobile Web. Google Mobile and Yahoo Mobile’s OneSearch will undoubtedly grow in popularity, given the projected sales of hand-held and mobile devices. Current estimates are that 1.3 billion people will connect to the Internet via mobile phones by 2008.

Several of our Clients are already moving ahead at this time to position themselves early in mobile advertising and / or marketing. These include Morningside Recovery, Visions Adolescent Treatment Center and Captain Lord Mansion. Several other clients have already requested quotes and are close to placing orders with us.

To view how well .Mobi works. via a Browser:
A. Open a Web Browser and access: http://emulator.mtld.mobi/emulator.php
B. Select Nokia or Sony Skin
C. Type in: “captainlord.mobi” or “morningsiderecovery.mobi.” or “visionsteen.mobi.” After the http://, it is best to omit the “www.”
D. Click on Submit and wait for the phone screen shown to load.
E. There is a thin gray scroll bar inside the phone display. To navigate, place the cursor on any of the dial numbers and click.

(The best approach of course is to actually use a mobile device for viewing).

Special features included in our .mobi design packages are auto-dialing your business’ phone number. Even better, the mobile device will automatically recognize the .mobi extension availability as well. Images can be displayed and links work quite well. Sites that attain a rating of 5 out of a possible 5 in design quality get into the .mobi Directory and all of our designs meet that rating. Call today for details!

Important Note: In case you didn’t know, Domain age is a huge factor to Google’s rankings. How long you’ve been around, how long you’ve had people link to your site, how old are the sites that link to you, what has your back link growth and history been, etc, etc…..it’s all about Time and Age Factors. In a small way, the age of a domain gives the appearance of longevity and therefore a higher relevancy score in Google. Our recommendation to all clients is that no matter your current .mobi intentions, you should have us register “yourdomainname.mobi” for 5 years, to immediately start “the aging clock.” Cost for five years, with free-parking is only $125.00.

Call or write us if you wish to have a .mobi site developed or if you want to purchase the .mobi domain extension.

Blogs


As mentioned in our press release sent to you earlier this month, Webconsuls is anxious to help our Clients benefit in a variety of Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) opportunity areas. One of its components is “Blogs” or Blogging. For the uninitiated (or for those in Dennis’ generation who know what a slide rule is), a Blog is an online, regularly updated journal or newsletter that is readily accessible to the general public by virtue of being posted on a website. Why all the interest? A recent discussion by Site-Reference about benefits from Blogs (cut and pasted below) should “hone” your interest and attention:
  • Blogs are a great medium for your customers and prospects to get to know you and your services better. 
  • When you post information to a blog the blog software automates the process of updating your website with the new information and archiving old content; simplifying the chore of keeping your website fresh and relevant. 
  • Blogs can automatically announce (ping) to the world whenever new content is added. Again, this automated process simplifies the all-important (and normally time consuming) promotion process. 
  • Through the use of syndication methods your blog postings (writings) can be monitored easily by fans of your services/writing. 
  • Blogs provide a wonderful platform for readers to interact with you by leaving comments. 
  • Due to the highly social and interactive nature of blogs it is possible that links will begin to appear to your posts from other websites. This can increase your website’s link popularity and will only happen if you write engaging and source-worthy content. 
Call or write us to have a Blog added to your web site.

508 Compliance


Congratulations and kudos to Attorney Edna Deeb http://www.ednadeeblaw.com. Edna holds the distinction of being Webconsuls’ first Client to request, order and achieve overall accessibility compliance with regard to section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act.

Compliance is designing or modifying a web site to be usable by persons with visual or physical disabilities, often with the help of a screen reader device, captioning, etc. While not yet a requirement in most fields, (except government sites), this topic closely mirrors the more familiar ADA considerations and regulations. It is almost certain to become a consideration in new web site designs. Google already is testing “Accessible Web Search for the Visually Impaired.” A parallel benefit in achieving compliance is that many required enhancements also meet standard browser conformance (W3C) recommendations and therefore should help with traditional SEO and positioning rules.

Call or write us if you wish to have your site modified to be section 508 compliant.

How to List Your Business in Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search


Have you ever tried to search for your business in Google Maps or Yahoo Search? The easiest way to do this is to type in your business service or product and the name of the city and state where your business is located. What will be displayed on Google is “Local Business Results for…” and on Yahoo it will say “Local Results…” Did you find your business listing? You may find that if you type in the specific name of your business with the city and state, your listing will appear, but it may need to be updated with more details about your business. According to the Site Reference Newsletter, “Even if your business is done completely online, you may benefit from getting listed in Google Local or Yahoo's local listings. People often feel more comfortable doing business with someone who is local; and potential customers may stumble across your business while searching for other things.”

We know that many of our clients are already listed in Google Maps and Yahoo Search, but for those of you who are not, we have found that this is one area of internet marketing where you need to register your own business. The reason for this is that both Google and Yahoo go through a security process to determine that you are a real business at that location. They either verify the information submitted by phoning your business or sending a postcard addressed to the business, which requires that you sign back into Google Maps or Yahoo Search and enter a PIN number.

As always, if you have additional questions, please feel free to call us and we will make every attempt to assist you with this value added feature.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Webconsuls, LLC Internet Marketing Team Grows Stronger

Press Release Source: Webconsuls, LLC
Webconsuls, LLC Internet Marketing Team Grows Stronger
Friday May 4, 1:11 pm ET

Darin R. McClure and Lisa A. McClure to Provide New Client Services
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Webconsuls, LLC, now in its eighth year as a successful web design and search engine optimization firm, is announcing new social marketing optimization (SMO) services for their current clients, as well as new clients as they come on board. The evolution of new SMO services is the result of being responsive to changing technology, internet trends, and client's inquiries on how to assure their internet presence is ahead of the curve. Staying ahead of the curve means realizing that when someone says "Can you dig it?" they are not referring to the song lyrics of Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft", they mean "Can you digg it?"
According to Dennis Helfand, Webconsuls Managing Partner, "Redefining our business services is an ongoing process and we are pleased to announce that Webconsuls has contracted with Ready To Go Information Technologies , owned by Darin R. McClure and Lisa A. McClure, to oversee our SMO services. Both McClures bring a wealth of knowledge to this endeavor and they are excited to provide new and innovative services for Webconsuls' clients."
Darin has worked with internet technologies since the early 90s. Experience with both building and hosting websites he holds his MCSE, MCP+I, MCP certifications. As a savvy internet marketer, McClure has a solid grasp on the potential of social marketing. An avid blogger, Darin's passion for new technology and the internet's ever evolving ability to disseminate information and bring people together made social marketing a natural transition. Darin maintains numerous blogs and vlogs within various social networks. Sharing these new techniques with coworkers and friends has become a way a life.
"I love shiny new toys," he says with a glint in his eye. "Finding the newest, best, most effective techniques is what it is all about."
Beginning with news groups in the early days of the internet, Darin cultivated social networks, marketed products and produced multimedia content. His videos have been watched all over the world with "viewership" in the millions. Darin discovered the market value of his skills when a frustrated man wrote to him asking how he was getting top placement for key words for which this man was paying top dollar. "Content, content, content" was Darin's reply.
Lisa A. McClure, an Accessibility Media Specialist, began with accessible technology as a Braille transcriber transcribing print to Braille for college textbooks.
Lisa's initial focus was to make the internet accessible to the blind, however more disabilities are served than just the visually impaired. "Physical limitations can make moving a mouse very challenging and sometimes impossible. An aging population with deteriorating vision and motor skills is something which web designers are starting to take into consideration. Basically we are installing wheelchair ramps to sites on the internet."
Accessibility and search engine optimization go hand in hand. Web search engines are blind! Adding accessibility functions can improve your search engine placement. Adding a readable text component to previously pure visual elements gives search engines something to locate. "It's really exciting that the functionality added to make a site accessible also has a search engine benefit," declares Lisa.
As Dick Fay, Webconsuls Managing Partner says, "Social Marketing is about working with the internet ... not against it." Google and other search engines are there to find new quality content for those looking for information. By creating quality multimedia content for the various social arenas we are building an information rich resource for all.
About Webconsuls, LLC
Your web presence is your store front on the internet. Drawing traffic and creating a space that is easy and pleasant to navigate is vital to your business. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) are two components of a successful internet marketing campaign. As the internet evolves, approaches to marketing evolve as well. Webconsuls is responsive to the changes necessary to stay competitive in this changing environment.

Contact:
Webconsuls, LLC
Dennis Helfand, Managing Partner, 949-760-1542
dhelfand at webconsuls.com

Source: Webconsuls, LLC