July 4, 2012
It was 236 years ago today that 57 brave men created the American republic by signing an historic document. Their constituents, if you will, were 3 million people in 13 colonies. The declaration signers wanted freedom from tyranny – and from the British military that wanted to arrest them for sedition and treason.
Today, the Fourth of July is a holiday of festivities and fireworks for Americans. However, too few Americans appreciate the risks of those 57 men who signed the Declaration of Independence – making freedom possible for all us.
That’s underscored by disturbing results national survey released this week by arguably the nation’s most accurate pollster – Rasmussen Reports.
Respondents were queried whether they agreed with this principle, “governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed.”
An irony: It was shocking to read that only 70 of Americans – who live in freedom – agree government gets its authority from the will of the people. Thirteen percent did not agree. Seventeen percent were undecided.
A second irony: Google’s Fourth of July doodle spells out the words: “This Land Was Made for You and Me,” in paying tribute to the inspiring Woody Guthrie tune.
Positioned under the doodle is this statement: “Celebrate freedom. Support a free and open Internet.”
To be sure, this is a patriotic concept.
Further, Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy and government affairs for the Americas, blogs: “We’ve only just begun to see what a free and open Internet can do for people and for the freedom we cherish.”
Both statements are meaningful, but Google’s declarations about freedom are representative of at least three contradictions:
- Google’s spying – capturing of personal information of Internet WIFI users via its street view car. The search engine has faced heavy criticism and penalties worldwide for its so-called inadvertent massive collection of personal data.
- Its CEO, Larry Page, attacked Facebook’s user-data practices in an interview with Charlie Rose.
- Then, on the eve of the 2012 Day of Independence, there’s a rather disturbing WebProNews headline: “Google Shopping Incites 2nd Amendment Row by Removing Guns from Search.”
“We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping,” the Google Shopping Team wrote. “In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.”
Naturally, Google is drawing fire from consumers and merchants. Proponents of the 2nd Amendment have launched a petition drive – it demands Google “not interfere with our 2nd amendment rights…”
Yes, it disturbs me even though I’ve never been a gun owner. My philosophy is deep rooted. I have an elderly father who is a longtime Democrat and who opposes capital punishment – he also is a veteran, a longtime gun owner, a staunch believer in the right to bear arms, and patriotic supporter of the Declaration of Independence.
Google is hugely successful and has prompted Bing and Yahoo to become better. The competition is fun to watch.
But Google’s behavior is also prompting me to rethink my previous defenses of the search giant:
Google has drawn fire from Associated Press and other media firms because it publishes news headlines to their stories. This means Google is, in reality, a media company.
Studies consistently show the media is biased in favor of liberals. Simply Google the key words, “liberal media bias,” and you’ll see 2,130,000 search results.
With a dominant search market share, Google has a responsibility to practice what it preaches with honesty, objectivity and accuracy.
Therefore, Google appears disingenuous and self-serving when it campaigns for freedom – meanwhile, with the perception that it violates the rights of millions of its users. If Bing and Yahoo stay the course, Google will justifiably face loss in its market share.
…The land of the free and home of the brave…I’m just sayin’.
(Disclosure: This Biz Coach portal uses Google AdSense.)
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a pertinent Fourth of July topic:
“The basis of a democratic state is liberty.”
Columnist Terry Corbell is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services (many are available online). For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule Terry Corbell as a speaker, why don’t you contact him today?
Updated – Feb. 27, 2011
February has been an eventful month for the Internet and marketers. Developments include the major players – Bing, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Are you positioned to capitalize?
Here’s an update:
Google. Because it’s the longtime mega search engine, let’s consider Google first. Depending on which research firm you prefer, such as ComScore or The Nielsen Company, Google has about a 66 percent search market share. So whatever innovations it makes, it’s important.
Google has made a major change in how it ranks search results probably because it’s been under siege for being manipulated by certain Web sites.
The vaunted Google algorithms – its tools that determine how it ranks Web sites – have been fine-tuned to reward publishers of original content. Unique valuable information, if you will. That certainly includes in-depth thought leadership. Google says it involves about 12 percent of search queries. That might not sound like a lot, but 12 percent of millions and millions of search queries is meaningful.
You might recall numerous recent news stories: JC Penney, for example. The 2010 $17.8 billion retailer was chastised for dubious Internet practices. The retailer denied it approved spam-like behavior by its search-engine optimization company, SearchDex. But right after the story broke, SearchDex was fired.
Indeed, it must have been an eye-opener to the search giant to be labeled as the “tropical paradise for spammers and marketers” by a U.C. Berkeley scholar, Vivek Wadhwa. Hence, its algorithms upgrade.
Another search development: The Google Chrome Web browser now permits sites to prevent other sites from appearing in their results. (Its competitor, Blekko, does the same.)
So, Google has taken action to disallow Web sites, with little or no unique value, to dominate in search results.
My sense: The jury is still out on Google’s changes. In my sampling, I haven’t seen a positive noticeable change, especially in its key word results. Otherwise, if successful, Google is to be commended for dealing with a crisis confronting its quality of relevant search and its image. (Candidly, as a business-performance consultant, I’ve always advised clients on the importance of frequent, strong informative content.)
Bing – social search. Bing grew to a 13 percent market share at the start of this month. But it’s created new buzz by adding Facebook “likes” that allows Internet users to see the results that their friends like.
Here’s how it works: Pictures of your friends appear when you search after you connect with Bing with your Facebook account. You can disable it easily if you choose.
Bing now includes related Twitter features (so does Google).
My sense: The new development in the Bing-Facebook partnership is unique and it affects word-mouth-marketing – as businesspeople and consumers make buying decisions. This helps to make marketing fun. It’s also a reminder that content, search-engine optimization and social media should be synergized and orchestrated in your overall marketing.
- Listening to Internet-user preferences
- Interacting with them to maximize your opportunities
- Continually measuring results
- Fine-tuning your approach
From the Coach’s Corner, Bing’s partnership with social-media giant Facebook should remind you to capitalize on Bing search.
Here are valuable tips: Get Busy With Bing Webmaster Tools.
June 7, 2010
At the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote speech introducing the iPhone’s facelift was big news. The buzz leading up to the rollout was deafening. Any time Mr. Jobs makes a presentation, it’s exciting for Apple aficionados.
The big news was supposed to be all about Apple when Mr. Jobs unveiled the new-look iPhone 4. With 16GB and 32GB capacities, it’s priced at $199 and $299, respectively. It’s 25 percent slimmer than its predecessor. It has twice the picture resolution, and has a computing brain with video-chat function. It will be sold in 88 nations.
As expected, Google is the iPhone’s default search engine. But wait, here’s some surprising news – a big secondary angle is that Bing is a search option on the iPhone. Now we know why we’ve heard rumblings in recent weeks about meetings between Apple and Microsoft.
“…Bing will be included as one of the search engine choices within Safari on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and within the Safari browser on the Mac and PC,” announced Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president at Microsoft, in a blog according to CNET.
“Needless to say, we are excited that Bing will be included as an option in Safari because it will make it easier for you to search and get the benefits of Bing,” he added.
“In addition, we are continuing to improve our existing Bing mobile application for iPhone which makes it easy to search, map, and find commerce and movie times,” Mr. Mehdi said. “We will have a new release with even more great features very soon. For those of you that have not already tried it, you can find it in the App Store today.”
Microsoft’s track record in partnerships is really terrific. Indeed, in its first year, Bing also scored by being the search engine for Facebook and Verizon phones.
And I’m not certain it’s getting full credit for its successes. Depending on the research firm, Bing is credited with a 10 to 11 percent market share. (But based on this Web site’s visitor’s data, Bing’s share appears to be at least 50 percent higher.)
It’s also worth noting Google has been tinkering with it home page appearance, including offering an option to change the background. To use football-announcing vernacular, “Is Google hearing Bing’s footsteps?”
From the start, Bing has been offering colorful, informative schemes. For my SEO taste, Bing has a more objective search process compared to Google’s quirky approach. And I love the Bing mouse-over option on the news videos.
Frankly, I don’t get it when I’ve read bloggers’ posts about Microsoft having a so-so year. The company has had a stellar year in forming partnerships. That’s an excellent lesson for any company.
So regarding Bing’s progress, as I used to say as a young rock ‘n’ roll DJ working my way through college, “The hits just keep on comin’.”
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more on the new iPhone.
April 25, 2010
There seems to be a misconception that recent upgrades on Facebook imply an intensified competition with Google. Well, yes and no.
On three occasions since Christmas Eve, 2009, Facebook has outdrawn Google in U.S. visitors. And Google now counts social media in ranking Web sites, but ostensibly tends to disregard the importance of Facebook.
Facebook made some big news when it unveiled details about its new “Like” button. What you should know about Facebook’s changes – CNN.com was a very popular topic on the Web.
So, in defensive football parlance, Google is probably hearing Facebook’s footsteps. At the same time, however, Google is also hearing Bing’s footsteps. Bing provides search for Facebook, which means its capitalizing on Facebook’s success. And, of course, the effect of the Bing-Yahoo advertising-search partnership will soon be obvious. My sense is that Yahoo is already doing better in search.
So what is Google doing? It continues to evolve, too.
Google is already tweaking its Google Places, which it launched in the Q4 2009. Google Places inserts listings for companies that Google lists also in local searches.
The features include:
- Companies can display the territories they serve in their service areas.
- With advertising tags for which Google charges $25 per month, companies can be spotlighted on Google Maps and Google.com. Their applications include pictures and coupons.
- Depending where you are based, Google provides free photo shoots of business interiors. If you wish, you can also add your own pictures.
- From Google Places Dashboard, you can get customized QR codes, which direct customers to your place page. Prospects can use their smartphones to scan the codes, which can be inserted on your marketing collateral.
- The search engine’s Favorite Places program is forwarding window decals that have codes to about 50,000 U.S. companies.
- With Google Places, you will be able to learn from where customers are coming and who they are.
There are restrictions, for example, companies must indicate a mailing address and only one listing for each address.
Huh? Yes, all of these developments are true. Check them out for yourself.
Whatever your online marketing and search-engine preferences, such competition is exciting and provides more options for businesspeople and consumers.
From the Coach’s Corner, there are Google restrictions. Here are the Google provisos.
April 10, 2010 -
Internet usage continues to grow in 2010 – by 7.6 percent in March – but at a much slower pace than reported during the same period a year ago, according to a published report.
Website Magazine reports that recent comScore research indicates Americans increasingly used the Internet last month but not at the torrid rate of increase during the same period a year ago.
Google’s market share declined from 65.5 percent to 65.1 percent. Yahoo’s share increased by .01 percent to 16.9 percent. Bing moved up from 11.5 to 11.7 percent.
Here is the Internet usage-growth by reporting period:
- March, 2010 – 7.6 percent
- February, 2010 – 10.4 percent
- January, 2010 – 12.4 percent
- December, 2009 – 16.5 percent
- September, 2009 – 17.3 percent
- June, 2009- 21.8 percent
- March, 2009 – 33.1 percent
Obviously, it’s hard to sustain double digit growth indefinitely. And it’s way too early to conclude that the Internet has reached its saturation point like mature companies and sectors will do over time.
From the Coach’s Corner, also from Website Magazine: Weekend Warrior Websites You Can Build This Weekend.
March 16, 2010
The Internet world has been buzzing after Facebook enjoyed more visits than Google in the U.S. during the second week of March, according to the research company, Hitwise. This is ostensibly the third time Facebook has beaten Google as the No. 1 engaged Web site since Christmas Eve, 2009.
Facebook is credited by Hitwise with 7.07 market share percent compared to Google’s 7.03 percent.
A competing research firm, comScore, reports Facebook’s share was helped by its 10 percent growth rate – from 395 million visits January to 436 million visits in February.
The Internet’s intrigue is exciting. Three years ago MySpace was the No. 1 Web when Google took over. And for most of 2009, Twitter seemed to be the recipient of most of the online buzz.
Now, it’s Facebook because it makes it easy to share content and information, and it’s becoming a first destination site for users.
Most importantly is the implication that Facebook will ultimately help Bing in its competition with Google. Bing handles search for Facebook. This is another indication of Microsoft’s brilliance in forming strategic alliances.
Meantime, Hitwise differs by about 25 percent from other research companies, comScore and Nielsen, in estimating Bing’s performance. Hitwise only pegged Bing at 9.7 percent market share in search.
For example, in February, Bing continued to accelerate its growth according to Nielsen. The Nielsen press release states Bing’s market share is 12.5 percent. That’s a 15 percent jump since January. Nielsen also reports Google lost market share for two consecutive months – from 67.3 percent in December to 66.3 percent in January to 65.2 percent in February.
Nielsen also says Yahoo has dropped to 14.1 percent. This might represent a red flag for Bing if it is only taking market share from Yahoo. Bing needs to demonstrate success against Google. That’s because Bing and Yahoo will soon join forces in their 10-year deal with Bing being responsible for search and Yahoo handling the advertising.
So, it’s hard to say at this point whether the bloom is falling off Google’s rose. Other than death and taxes, nothing is ever certain but change.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s the latest Nielsen press release:
Today, the world of commerce is buzzing over Bing’s proposal to pay the Fox media Web sites to de-list from Google. It was prompted by basically two reasons – Fox’s visionary founder Rupert Murdoch and newspaper publishers who have been frustrated about how they are treated by Google, and the goal of Microsoft’s Bing to overtake Google in the search.
Yes, this event illustrates the complexity of commerce and how it has evolved in the last 16 years.
If my memory is accurate since 1993, consider these developments:
- Fox Broadcasting Company launched programs seven nights a week. That was also the year Fox acquired the rights to broadcast the National Football League games previously owned by CBS. The network has certainly succeeded. It has delivered No. 1 ratings for 18-49 demographic ratings since 2004.
- Throughout the globe, pocket- size telephones started becoming quite the rage.
- Intel announced its 3.1 million-transistor Pentium microchip about the time Microsoft introduced Windows NT.
- Linux was launched as a free operating system and Apple Computer introduced us to its hand-held computer.
- President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, into law.
Meantime, a group pioneering as a leads-generation organization in Federal Way, WA has created its own buzz, and is preparing to celebrate its 16th anniversary as Referrals Unlimited.
As a leads group, Referrals Unlimited (www.referralsunlimited.org) helps its small-business members attain their entrepreneurial goals. They keep track of the commerce the group generates – the dollar amount is impressive. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting as a guest to discuss the planned Biz Coach radio program, and met several of the charming members who are proud of their products and services.
Let’s meet some of the members:
“I offer a weight loss program for busy women who want to eat well and lose weight easily,” says Kristina Brown of Heart of Nutrition. “There is no deprivation, just yummy foods that bring your body back into balance so that the weight comes off naturally and without starving yourself.”
Ms. Brown says she’s been in business 10 years: “I bought my first health/cook book when I was just 19 and have been reading, cooking, and sharing this ever since.”
David Sobie represents a security firm, Global Technology Solutions, Inc. (www.globalts.net).
“Global Security, founded in 1988 and with offices in Oregon, Washington, and the greater Kansas City area is a full service security, fire, access control and low voltage home technology provider, “says Mr. Sobie, who boasts of more than 10,000 business and residential customers in Washington, Oregon and metropolitan Kansas City.
Richard Day specializes in identity theft mitigation and prepaid legal services. He doesn’t waste any time in succinctly explaining his services.
“My name is Richard Day protecting your assets against identity theft and giving affordable access to the justice system,” says Mr. Day (http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardday7).
Simone Perry aesthetically preserves what she calls sentimental assets at Sentimental Preservation by Simone (www.sentimentalpreservation.com).
“Whether it is something past down to you from ancestors or from a special event in your life, I can put it in a protective display for you to enjoy,” Ms. Perry says. “I also have unique textile preservation boxes for storing wedding gown, uniforms, christening gown or quilts. Call me today to preserve those treasures before they are lost.”
Isabel Tessier has marketed vitamins for more than three decades.
“Golden Neo-Life Diamite vitamin company has been in business since 1958, and I have been a consultant with GNLD for 31 years,” says Ms Tessier. She says her products deal with fatigue, stress, digestive problems, diabetes, allergies and cholesterol (www.healthplus-vitamins.com).
Renae McGregor owns Legacy Boutique Gift Baskets.
“From Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, our gourmet gift baskets contain the most mouth-watering foods” Ms. McGregor proudly states. “Our baskets are filled with Northwest Coffee, Chocolates, Salmon, Mustard, Cookies, Summer Sausage, Nuts, Died Fruit, Popcorn and Oh! I can’t forget Tim’s Chips! Even our Beer and Wine are from the Pacific Northwest.”
With the exception of the month of December, she guarantees next-day shipping.
“Our web site www.legacyboutique.com, displays a variety of categories, for example, baby, bath body-spa, beer, birthday, chocolates, student, corporate, custom, get well-sympathy, as well as gifts for women and men, housewarming and wine to name a few.”
Referrals Unlimited’s treasurer is a banker, Marty Markey, who introduced me to the group. She is the branch manager at Rainier Pacific Bank (www.rainierpac.com) at its Twin Lakes branch. (Disclosure: I’ve known her as a businessperson, and I’ve observed her outstanding customer service skills for a few years.)
“Rainier Pacific Bank builds profitable relationships by providing valuable financial solutions for its customers,” says Ms. Markey. “We have served the diverse financial needs of our customers in the Tacoma-Pierce County market area of Washington State for over 75 years with consumer and business banking services, income property lending, investment and insurance services.”
As you might expect of a banker with unusually good customer service skills, she is very enthusiastic.
“We strive to be the choice for financial services in the markets we serve, and enjoy a deep level of community involvement throughout our history as a financial institution. Come see us in the local markets of Federal Way, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Spanaway, and Puyallup!”
Amen. As a kid growing up, a family friend and employer, Andy Andrews at the Palm Springs Tennis Club used to reward me with tickets to the spring training games of the then-California Angels. That’s where I had the thrill of watching baseball stars, such as Willie Mays, play in the desert sun.
As I thanked him for the tickets, Mr. Andrews once told me: “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”
So, to the Referrals Unlimited members, happy anniversary, kids!