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Consumer Advocacy—changing the business arena

The consumers are the ones actually using the products. Who better to advocate the value and the quality of what they are reviewing? While on one hand it seems appropriate for a blogger to get paid for their hard work that led to a highly visited blog, it is questionable if they should get paid to post product reviews. Unless there is a disclaimer from the company and the blogger that says reviews are completely honest, then these blogs would seemingly turn into extensions of the corporation and slowly lose the value that brought so many visitors to the site, honesty and valuable information. People are not stupid and they know when they are being sold too. So I would really warn bloggers of this activity. Selling your voice is almost like the magician telling you his secret. While consumers rely on consumer reviews, the corporations can’t go swimming everywhere. Some things need to be left alone, in the hands of the consumers who are creating content. Have your voice, but control is not always on your side. Blog authors too need to be wary and stay committed to their voice. They are the journalists of the next generation, and while compensation should be in order, certain features, as peer testimonials should remain out of the companies reach and control. The voice of the people is the voice of the people, not paid spokespeople. I think this is what traditional media is going to miss the most, control of the voice 

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Ethics in Internet Marketing--a discussion

To start off this week’s discussion I want to provide a link to a great article I found regarding this topic:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,293389,00.html

In the article I was drawn to the fact that pharmaceutical company, Seroquel, which makes a drug AstraZeneca—that “allegedly made teenagers ‘more likely to think about harming or killing themselves’"—was caught going in and altering the Wikipedia pages, deleting the information. After this got out the FDA issued a recommendation that pharmaceutical companies should warn about these possible side effects on labeling.

In this case I am more than certain that the company was fully aware of what it was doing. That they do enough preliminary testing to know what are possible and definitive side effects of using a particular drug. With profit interests at the wheel of our modern day medical/pharmaceutical/FDA triad, leading the anti-drug-war, while supporting the manufacturers and pushers of the legal-drug system; there really is no question why they would do this. To sell drugs which supposedly help us in the long run, and to make a profit. The saw bad PR, and just like a case study they would shred, they went in and deleted someone’s Constitutional right to speak, in the interest of the shareholder.

Tobacco now has their warning labels, and before they were required to provide warnings and take responsibility for the deaths their products cause, Camel Joe was a kid’s favorite in the advertising world. I think this points out the infancy we are in with regards to legal and moral codes that need to be established on the Internet. I think if a company does something like this, a great legal ramification would be to make them remove their Web site and all other online mediums that have the interest of the company as the goal for certain amount of time. Just like corporate America is separate from the individual American, so too can the companies be kept separate from the people on the Web. Ultimately, what Seroquel did not understand is that people are smart enough to use the Internet in ways they might not yet be aware of, just like reverse searching an IP address and linking it to the corporate office’s terminal. I do understand, if someone is unfairly bashing a company or product—but that is why slander laws are in place. If this is the case though, then it is easily reversed with proper PR.

Seroquel could have quite simply been honest. Not lie about side effects of their drugs and let the consumers make a wise choice. Instead of being scrupulous, face the negative PR head on. Take responsibility for it. Maybe in the case of a few, the suicidal thoughts would be a good day for them. Bring that to light. Instead of deletion, say “yes, this is true, but…”. There should be a cloak of responsibility that surrounds the corporate conglomerates. Maybe Wikipedia needs to alter the access privileges from IP addresses and email accounts that have any relation to the company. And the government could make it illegal for anyone with corporate relations to an entity to go in and talk about that company on open and social forums. In any case, just like Watergate, when you hide and cover up the truth, these corporations have a legal responsibility to allow free and open communication between consumers. The Internet really makes the truth much easier to get to. 

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Why is Google the #1 search engine?

It all comes down to predicting what the people want before they know they want it. I think Google has mastered that. The smartest thing they ever did in my opinion was provided unlimited (almost) e-mail storage. It was the very reason I chose that over my own private email or any of Google's competition.   I think Google is #1 in search because they launched other products that really blew the competition away. It's like reverse engineering though. You might be able to figure out the formula, but the cake will never be the same. A search is a search is a search. It's who people are use to that will keep them coming back. We are all predictable creatures of habit...don't you think? It would take one innovative concept to blow out Google, but that is the fun of all this technological impact. Rome fell, and so will Google. But how in when will rely on who takes it to the next level. I think Google will remain king, at least until we start to see optical computers and virtual 3D worlds as our screens, instead of 2D monitors. 

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How Should I Build My Site Amongst All That Flash?

No matter your business, your function, or your goal, there is a must have when it comes to building any site. This is it must work. It must work for you and for your visitors, customers, and/or users. I am learning Dreamweaver right now and am building a site for a friend who is a sex therapist. Her friend told me the other day, load it up with Flash. I was like, “Okay.” But really, what I meant was, “Whatever.” The biggest lesson I have learned is to not get carried away with the latest glitz and glamour, whether it is Flash or Silverlight. For example, your Flash Web site is not going to display on any mobile device (yet), and there are still limitations and learning curves that are too many to prepare for. It’s the waiting game we play for people to catch up with technology and vice-versa.  

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The effective use of PPC for your company...

PPC advertising is exciting. Not only does it force you to critically think about how you write your ads, but how you actually develop your website content. There is a very fine balance between what is effective and what you actually need to implement. Budget, budget, budget—PPC advertising is a budgets best friend. The Internet not only provides target specific opportunities, these opportunities are at a very reasonable cost, especially compared to traditional advertising. We are provided with a manageable testing situation that runs concurrently to determine your cost and ROI, almost in real time. 

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Press Release 2.0—a brave new release.

I found David Meerman Scott's e-book and video from pressreleasegrader.com to be very valuable. As with SEO, Press Releases are being redefined day by day. I think everything is. I come from the freelancer/entrepreneur background. I had journalism classes that involved writing press releases at UF. What I learned there, as with any ad copy, keep it short, full of facts, and with flowery words where possible that convey meaning and experience.  With all the evolving opportunities, I don't think anyone can really say what is right or wrong anymore. You have to think that the majority of what has been taught, up to now, has dealt with the traditional forms of pr and marketing. Now right or wrong, are really all about effective or not. If it works, it works. Just like there are issues with pressreleasegrader.com, the tools are forming, but the substance of what those tools are truly after are still in the infant stages. It will be very important for us to stay ahead of these developments and improve on these tools ouselves. These are business opportunities in themselves.  

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A Brand Example

Evaluating personas of www.honda.com: 

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A thought about teamwork and the creative process...

A good team knows that no one part is greater than the total.  In all cases the parts add up to be greater than the whole, but they all are still pieces of the same pie.  Without each other the team will be a team no more.   

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Some Intenet Marketing Q n A

Do you think Bing.com is too different to take away market share from Google? 

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Your Online Reputation

Are you monitoring the entire Internet, listening out for when your name, your band, your song, label, or anything related to your Online reputation are mentioned? With our simple service, we send you consolidated emails every day—providing you with what was said, where, what it means, and even links to the post so you can engage in the Online conversation about you!

All you do is sign-up for the Online reputation monitoring service and you tell us what keywords you want to track. We will manually set you up in our system and you will start receiving your reports via email every 24 hours. Managing your Online reputation gives you the ability to learn about your fans, while giving you an oppoeruntity to get involved with them all over the Internet.

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Why Structured Data?

The serious musician, record labels, and the majors all do! The use of structured data tags for your music is the next best thing to sliced bread—and groupies. This simple to use tool creates the code for your website elements that allow search engines to understand everything about the content on your page.

In other words, you can now tell search engines everything about your song, and they will make sure it gets served when people are searching for your music! You have the ability to ensure that your music is displayed, exchanged, and shared, as your music, all over the Internet. 

If you don't want to deal with this but feel the value for your music, send this page to your web developer, your manager, or whoever will get this handled!

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