Yearly Archives: 2010Blog

Q: Are Web Apps the Future of Websites? (A: Yes)

As we become more of a mobile society, with respect to the computer and communications devices we use, everything becomes smaller. This includes the time expected to complete tasks, the amount of time we’re allowed to be unavailable, the keyboards and screens we use, and the applications necessary to do our work. The Age of Apps is upon us. Due to the great success of iPhone apps we can now expect to see AppStores everywhere: the MacApp Store, the ChromeApp Store, the AdroidApp Store, and app stores from probably every telecom, computer platform and device maker known to humankind.

Why have Apps become all the rage? Very simply, people want to do things on the go. Apps provide functionality in a nicely portable form with a wonderful simplicity. Most apps do a single function very well. They’re easy to install and use, and in a large way exemplify what people have always wanted from computers. With this in mind, the following article will make a lot of sense. Businesses need to start thinking of how they can offer their content and functionality as simple apps that people can use on-the-go.

In the mid-2000s, many of us still had to “go online” – meaning if we wanted to use Internet services like e-mail or read content published in a blog, we needed to get to a computer connected to a network (or attached to a modem).

That doesn’t really happen anymore. Or, at least, it’s happening less and less. We now travel about our real world surrounded by a bubble of data and functionality that is always available to us. And, since we have ditched the spending-time model in favor of the doing-tasks model, we should expect that the organization of functionality and content should change as well.

No one had to persuade people to start using apps (unlike the unrelenting “education” of consumers regarding 3D TV). The demand has always been there. Now there’s a way to deliver the goods via portable devices. People like having their data and functionality with them. Smart businesses will take note and begin finding ways to provide customers with the information and capabilities they want.


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Seventy-five Percent Of Online Americans Look For News On the Web

This is not surprising, especially as mobile devices of all kind proliferate (smartphones, tablets, netbooks). What will be interesting is how news gathering organizations (formerly known as newspapers) adapt and accommodate advertisers.

Newspaper delivery workers might want to start job hunting. A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates that getting news online is one of the leading – and quickly rising – activities among online Americans.

Pew’s Generations Online in 2010 report surveyed Americans from 12 to over 74 years old to find out which activities dominate their time online. Email and search marketers may be glad to learn that checking inboxes and using search engines were the two leading online activities, respectively.

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SEO and the Article Myth

There’s a myth out there that says, spraying keyword-rich articles about your company and products around the web will enhance your search results. SEO specialist Jill Whalen reminds us that articles, written for people, that give pertinant information to help them make intelligent decisions, is the only effective way to “optimize” your website.

When your goal is to create SEO articles, you’ll almost always make the wrong decision on what to write about or how to write it because you’ll be thinking about search engines rather than your target audience. Anything and everything you write or post to your website needs to have a reason for being there. And that reason is not SEO. What you add to your site should always enhance it in the eyes of your target audience.

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What’s Up Asia

We’ve all heard that Asia is the world’s up-and-coming economic force. But have we heard anything about how Asians see themselves in the world economy? Mark Hurst, who writes the Creative Good newsletter and recently returned from a lengthy trip to Southeast Asia, offers a few very interesting observations that should remind us that, if it’s true that market leaders generally stop innovating and become stagnant, the same can also be true for nations. Says Mark,

It’s hard to overestimate the feeling of energy, expansion, investment, and activity that pervades the region. As the US economy stagnates, money has flooded into southeast Asia trying to find better investment yield – and the aggressive work ethic of the region (long hours, highly competitive, focus on results) has been happy to make use of that investment.

Multiple times people told me, in effect, that they just don’t pay much attention to what’s happening in the US – or Europe, for that matter. Asia is taking the lead in the world economy and while the US has some good ideas worth studying (and perhaps borrowing and improving upon), it is not considered the leader to be followed.

Makes one wonder, can Americans imagine what the world’s economic landscape will look like in 20 years? In 10 years? And are these seismic shifts simply inevitable?

In case you’re not familiar with Creative Good and their work in the area of customer experience you can learn more, and subscribe to Mark’s newsletter here:

Why Smartphones Matter

Since the dawn of the iPhone, smartphones have become as a mass media platform. The reason? Smartphones bring all the information gathering and communications tools a person needs into one small device. With a smartphone a shopper can compare prices and get product reviews while in a store’s aisles. News, traffic, weather, entertainment–it’s all there. And the ability to instantly be in touch (or not) with others, inbound or outbound, through numerous media (voice, email, text, social media) is astounding. Conceivably, one day you’ll be able to dock your smartphone to any desktop terminal, and it will be driven by the OS, apps, connections and data you’re carrying with you.

Because of the utility and portability of smartphones they’ll be carried by more and more people. In fact, as the link below shows, those who carry smartphones are already leading the mobile world in browser use–just one more category in which smartphones have emerged as the leader. Considering that in many parts of the world a smartphone is the only computer people can afford, this is a platform that smart businesses will be prepared to cater to. Check out  the short article about how smartphones are being used today, and then sit back and think about what value you can bring to  your market through this portable platform.

Read: Smartphones Now Dominate Mobile Browser and App Use in U.S.

Streaming TV, not 3D is the ‘Next Big Thing’

Tempted to buy a 3-D telly? Didn’t think so. If the HD “revolution” was a study in hype, the pile of whatever being shoveled upon us re: 3DTV is beyond belief. Who, other than a desperate and dying content delivery industry would try to get anyone to believe that wearing glasses and watching objects fly into your face is desirable, much less necessary. At least HD TV was a big step up in the quality of the viewing experience. 3D is still, and will always be, just a “special effect” (and not always a very good one at that). In fact, when I visited the Panasonic booth at a recent trade show, what did the model on the 3D set do when I looked into the monitor? She picked up a glass and reached towards the camera. Like wow. The glass looked like it was really coming towards me … I “marveled” for 10 seconds, then moved on and spent a half hour talking to a rep about the AF-100, micro four-thirds camera. Now there’s something to write home about (in another post some day). The moral: 3D TV is just a carnival sideshow act. There are better things to spend money on. Like the Apple TV.

Despite what television manufacturers want to believe … the Next Big Thing in TV is where the content comes from, not how it is displayed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to access music and video content on any device at any time? That’s the promise of streaming. Subscribe to your favorite shows. Rent movies. Access a music library online. Streaming frees us from managing bits, storing plastic and converting formats. Apple’s proven that coupling good content with cool technology and a sound business model equals mass appeal. It will be interesting to see if the new Apple TV fulfills streaming’s promise — and cracks the mass market for digital content. (No glasses required.)

Full article:

Update: 22-Oct. Panasonic announced specs and availably this week for the new AF-100 camera. It sounds like a dream come true for video shooters, except for one big thing: the micro four-thirds sensor has a crop factor of 2X. This means that your 50mm normal lens becomes in effect a 100mm telephoto. For many this may be a deal breaker. I’m looking forward to the reviews as people start using this camera en masse after its late Dec. release. However, I lament in the meantime …

Engaging Customers

The Web offers so many ways to engage people, so long as you’re putting the right content in front of the right people. Yet, the sheer diversity and quantity of engagement opportunities is far greater on Websites than anywhere else. Why does this matter for marketers?

Today, marketers must focus not just on reach but on engagement — high-value brand interactions — and of course, actual leads and sales. Think of it this way: there are banner impressions and then there are lasting impressions. Engagement helps brands make lasting impressions with target audiences.

Web marketers, do you have an Engagement plan? Here are 10 good ideas to help you engage customers:

Time for Businesses to Broaden Social Media Efforts

Social media continues to grow in use, usefulness and buzz. But the real importance of social media is that it’s become a part of everyday communications for the majority of people. As we’ve been saying, businesses need to be where their customers are.

Even more noteworthy is a new bit of information: social media is now being used regularly by over 50% of people over age 50. This attests to the adoption of social media by the mainstream. As mainstream tools, business should re-evaluate their strategies and adapt their efforts accordingly. Adapting quickly — that’s how business online works.

For more information see the full article: