Google Language Change: Content That Gets Used & Shared, Not Linked To.

June 20th, 2013

This change is to keep Google consistent with their general change in messaging that content is what webmasters should focus on, not links.

What was the actual change?  The line use to read, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.” Google changed the last part to read “by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”

So it is no longer about increasing the number of quality links, it is more about increasing people who want to use and share your content. Again, this is Google’s new messaging.

It is not to say that links are not as important and that social is more important. Social is currently not so important, but that may change in the future. It is the way webmasters should think about their content.

Old language:







New language:


Twitter’s Negative Keyword Targeting

December 13th, 2012

Twitter’s ad offerings continue to mature. The latest example is Thursday’s introduction of “negative keyword targeting” for Promoted Tweets, which will let advertisers buy a term but avoid having the ad shown in contextually irrelevant situations.

In Twitter’s example, an advertiser that buys the term “bacon,” as in the edible product, could make sure it doesn’t show up near conversations about actor Kevin Bacon. In that case, “Kevin” would be a negative keyword. The company also introduced a “bulk importing tool” that will let you highlight which terms you want to match and which you don’t.

twitter negative keyword

In addition, advertisers can now automatically match their Promoted Tweets in searches to related trending topics. For example, “if a celebrity’s pregnancy news starts trending, and you’re a retailer of baby clothing, your Promoted Tweet may be entered into the auction for that trending search,” Kevin Weil, Twitter’s director of product management, wrote in Twitter’s company’s blog.



Imagery rules in social media.

August 31st, 2012

Imagery rules in social media.  Try to post photos and videos often in your branded social media page.

Imagery rules in social media.

Google Drive launches

April 24th, 2012


The launch of “Google Drive” has been a poorly kept secret in Silicon Valley, with the product name and a rough description of the online storage product widely circulated in recent weeks as Google has worked out the final bugs. Drive opened up to millions of users around the world Tuesday, allowing users to synch their files between PCs, smartphones and tablets.

But the success of Drive will ride largely on whether Google can differentiate its offering from already established fast-growing cloud storage startups that were in the market first, such as Dropbox and Box, as well as Microsoft’s SkyDrive service and big consumer media competitors like Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

Existing Google Docs files, the centerpiece of Google’s existing cloud storage offering, will move to the Google Drive service once users download apps and install the new service. Google will offer users up to 5 gigabytes of storage for free, and up to 25 gigabytes for $2.49 a month, with prices for larger amounts of data lower than many competitors.

Like Dropbox, Google Drive integrates into the operating system of a Windows PC or a Mac, or an Android mobile device, meaning that one copy of a file is stored locally on each synched machine, along with a copy that is stored on the cloud. Google is developing a version for Apple’s iOS mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads.

A user who downloads the Drive app and syncs their devices through the cloud will see their files automatically updated between devices each time they change a file in one location.

Google “Panda Update” Anniversary

February 24th, 2012

One year ago, Google launched its “Panda Update” designed to filter low quality or “thin” content from its top search results.

For clients who are engaged with SEO (Search Engine Optimzation), please see below how Google Panda works, what the impacts were and the various updates from Panda 1.0 through Panda 3.2 that have happened along the way.  The updates affected some publishers while rewarded those that followed Google’s guildlines along the way.

Google Panda Update

Google+ 2011 end of year stats

January 2nd, 2012

Google decided in 2009 that it could no longer ignore the social web as it watched Facebook warp the web into a global community of 800 million plus. On June 28, 2011  Google Plus launched and became the fastest growing social network in history reaching 25 million users in less than 30 days. It continues to grow at over 600,000 users a day and is projected to reach 400 million users by the end of 2012 according to estimates by Paul Allen.

It is now both a personal and business social network after launching Google+ brand “pages” on November 7, 2011. Google plus enhanced the visual aspect of social networks by making its images significantly larger than the photos on Facebook. Facebook has since responded with a revamp of its design that allows for much larger images in its new “Timeline” for personal profiles.


Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

October 7th, 2011

In remembrance of Steve Jobs…

What’s Google+ and How Can it Help Your Online Brand?

August 3rd, 2011


Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in social networking usage from a variety of users, from students to large corporations. Tons of new platforms are popping up daily – and, as you probably already know, the latest addition to the social networking family is Google+. But what exactly is its purpose and can it help you and your online brand?

Google+, the newest brainchild from its namesake, is a social platform that essentially merges all your activity into one site. Think of it as a rolled together version of all the popular networks, like Twitter and Facebook. With Google+, users can:

  • Create a profile, including adding photo and video
  • Arrange their networks into Circles or small groups
  • Engage in video chatting with Hangouts
  • Meet up with friends in chat rooms in Google+’s Huddles
  • Show off and share your interests in multiple categories with Sparks, and more


Though it’s probably only the tip of the iceberg for Google+, it’s rising popularity in such a short period time (currently 25+ million users since launching on 6/28/2011) proves that the platform is not going anywhere soon, even with reports of traffic declining.

So, can Google+ actually help boost your online brand? Absolutely, especially if you use all its features to your advantage.

As with any social network, it’s important to complete your profile in full before you start spreading word of your Google+ platform. Apart from the usual information, you can include places you’ve lived in the world, “bragging rights,” and +1’s, which are what you’ve liked on the Web using Google’s +1 button. Further, think about linking back to your other social sites so you can create a more concrete brand. You can also chose which Circles you want to display on your profile as well, which could be convenient when you want to keep certain parts of your life private.

Next, try to find people you admire, like influencers or mentors, and add them to a separate Circle. Why separate? Circles are designed to make your Google+ experience easier by helping you organize your network. When you check out your stream of updates, you can chose to see what a certain Circle is talking about, posting, questions they have, etc. This makes commenting and interacting with your networks much easier.

Lastly, just having a presence on a popular social networking site can do wonders for your brand. As with the others, update and maintain your Google+ profile regularly. Above all, don’t just create an account and never take advantage of it. It can be a great resource if you use it to it’s full potential. Your brand will probably look better if you do so.

Are you using Google+? What tips do you suggest for new users who want to improve their online brands? 

LinkedIn set to go IPO

May 18th, 2011


IPO Details:
LinkedIn’s initial public offering priced at $45 a share Wednesday, the company will raise about $350 million via this offering.

Shares of the social networking service for professionals will begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNKD.

The 8-year-old company will make its stock market debut with a value of $4.3 billion as investors clamor to get a piece of the most hotly anticipated IPO out of Silicon Valley in years and the biggest from a U.S. Internet company since Google set the gold standard nearly seven years ago when it went public.

Whether LinkedIn can maintain this valuation has implications for Silicon Valley and the broader Web industry. LinkedIn is one of the first social-media companies to go public, leading a wave of expected IPOs from other Web companies such as Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Zygna.

LinkedIn Businesses:
For supporters of LinkedIn’s offering, the company is in a unique position to profit from the change in the way professionals connect to one another and search for new jobs. LinkedIn has a fast-growing membership base of more than 100 million subscribers and three diversified revenue streams: online advertisements sold to businesses; premium subscriptions for individuals; and hiring tools sold to recruiters.

LinkedIn’s subscribers also tend to be relatively wealthy because it is a professional-networking site. That makes each member more valuable to advertisers, compared with people who use Facebook and Twitter. In economic downturns, more job seekers also tend to use sites like LinkedIn,

Inside Shareholders:
Reid Hoffman has a 20% stake in the company which this time Thursday will be worth $858 million.

Chief Executive Jeff Weiner will also be in the money: His 2.5% stake is worth roughly $105 million.

Dual-stock Structure:
LinkedIn has a dual-stock structure, which lets the company’s insiders retain significant control over shareholder decisions even after others become stockholders. Google and Facebook have similar structures.

Co-founder Reid Hoffman and other executives hold Class B shares, which have 10 times the voting power of the Class A shares LinkedIn will sell to the public.

It’s a method that’s controversial to shareholder advocates but popular among tech startups, which want to ensure that their founders are able to execute their vision.

Who’s selling?
LinkedIn itself is selling about 4.83 million shares, and existing stockholders are selling about 3 million.

Hoffman and his wife, Michelle Yee, are selling about 115,000 shares. Even after the sale, they’ll still own more than 20% of the company’s stock. That will be worth more than $850 million at the $45 per share price.

Russian tech titan breaks U.S. records with $100M mansion buy in Los Altos Hills, CA

March 31st, 2011


The Yuri Milner (Digital Sky Technologies) purchase of the house owned by Fred Chan (ESS Technology) has set a record. Yuri Milner’s price of $100 million is the highest amount ever paid for a single family residence in the U.S..

Of note, Ron Baron paid $103 million for a residence in East Hampton, N.Y., but that was 40 acres of vacant land with no single family residence on the property.  The Fred Chan house is located in Los Altos Hills near Silicon Valley.   It boasts 25,500 square feet, 5 bedroom and 9 baths, with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, spa, gym, ballroom, wine cellar and car wash.  It sits on 11 acres.

Who were the sellers and buyers? Chan founded ESS Technology which makes audio and video equipment. The Chans will carry at $50 million note on the house.  The house was reportedly not publicly listed for sale. In addition to this home, the Chans are trying to also sell a 5.4 acre mansion on Oahu for $80 million.

Yuri Milner’s Digital Sky Technologies is an international investment firm focused solely on the private Internet sector.  Its Silicon Valley investments includes investing $200 million in Facebook, $180 million in Zygna, $135 million in Groupon, among others.






New tablets comparision

March 2nd, 2011

Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom vs. HP TouchPad vs. BlackBerry PlayBookApple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom vs. HP TouchPad vs. BlackBerry PlayBook

 Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom vs. HP TouchPad vs. BlackBerry PlayBook

LinkedIn eyes $175 million IPO

January 30th, 2011

LinkedIn Corp. has filed plans to raise $175 million in a public stock sale – the first major social-networking company to formally announce plans for an IPO.

LinkedIn, which has more than 90 million members around the world, announced its intention to go public in a document filed Thursday with the SEC.

In the document, the company for the first time disclosed its financial data, reporting net income of $10 million for the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $161.4 million, which doubled from the same period in the prior year. However, the net income dropped to $1.85 million after accounting for “undistributed earnings allocated to preferred stockholders.”

For all of 2009, LinkedIn posted a net loss of $3.9 million on $120.1 million in revenue. But revenue has risen dramatically since 2007, when it was $32.5 million.

The IPO papers filed Thursday by LinkedIn put the 8–year–old company on a path to make its stock market debut in the next three to four months, barring any major stumbling blocks.

LinkedIn’s filing could encourage other rapidly growing Internet services to test the public markets after amassing followings of millions of users. Other likely candidates include: online coupon service Groupon, which rejected a $6 billion takeover bid from Google Inc. last year.; online game maker Zynga; online messaging service Twitter; and potentially the biggest investment opportunity of all, social networking phenomenon Facebook, which already has indicated it’s likely to file its IPO plans by the end of April 2012.

LinkedIn, based down the street from Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, is the most mature of the group. It started in 2003, a year before Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg launched his website while he was a Harvard University sophomore.

Since then, Facebook has emerged as a hot spot for having fun and wasting time while LinkedIn has positioned itself as a place for getting down to business.

Not surprisingly, kibitzing with friends and family has proven to be vastly more popular than contemplating work.

More than 90 million profiles have been set up on LinkedIn, compared with more than 600 million on Facebook.

But LinkedIn has carved out a profitable niche. The company earned $1.85 million on revenue of $161 million during the first nine months of 2010.  During the same period, Facebook earned $355 million on revenue of $1.2 billion, according to documents recently distributed to its newest investors.

LinkedIn warned it will sustain a loss this year as it invests in its service in an effort to attract more users. It’s also trying to ward off competition from similar services overseas, such as Xing in Germany and Viadeo in France, and a looming threat in, which has developed a tool for professional networking.

Most of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from fees that it charges for recruiters and businesses that want expanded access to the website to help fill job openings. The company also sells online ads.

In contrast to Facebook, most of LinkedIn’s principals are in their 40s. Zuckerberg, who has been Facebook’s CEO since its inception, is just 26.

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, 43, will be the biggest winner in the IPO. Hoffman also stands to profit from Facebook’s eventual IPO because he was among the early investors who backed Zuckerberg’s idea after he moved from Massachusetts to Silicon Valley.

Hoffman remains LinkedIn’s chairman. He also served a stint as CEO until turning that role over to former Yahoo Inc. executive Jeff Weiner in 2009. Weiner, 40, owns a 4.1 percent stake in LinkedIn.

The company’s other major shareholders are venture capital firms: Sequoia Capital with an 18.9 percent stake; Greylock Partners with a 15.8 percent stake; and Bessemer Venture Partners with a 5.1 percent stake.

LinkedIn has raised about $103 million since its inception and now has nearly $90 million in cash.

Some of the major stockholders plan to sell shares in LinkedIn’s IPO, but Thursday’s filing didn’t spell out those or other key details, including the projected price for the IPO. That target will likely be set as the sale of stock draws nearer.

The filing said LinkedIn will raise $175 million in the offering, but that figure often escalates as investment bankers gauge demand. Morgan Stanley & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch are the main investment banks steering LinkedIn’s IPO.

Based on stock trading by employees in secondary markets set up for privately held companies, LinkedIn is believed to be worth more than $2 billion.

Demand Media Inc., an online service that hires freelance writers to produce stories about frequently searched topics, went public this week and now boasts a market value of about $1.8 billion — higher than The New York Times Co.

The lofty appraisals have evoked memories of the late 1990s when investors were clamoring to pour money into startups that had set up websites to cater to the tens of millions of people who were just starting to embrace the Web.

This time around, though, Internet startups have been staying private longer than predecessors did during the original dot–com boom. That has given them more time to build their audience and, more importantly, develop moneymaking business plans.

The new Android phone from Google

December 6th, 2010

Google Inc. unveiled its latest boundary-nudging smart phone and a souped-up version of its handset operating system Monday, as the Internet giant continues to wage a high-stakes battle for mobile supremacy against Apple Inc.

The Nexus S, manufactured by Samsung Electronics, is one of the first smart phones in the United States to include built-in support for Near Field Communication. The wireless standard enables consumers to make a payment by waving a device over an electronic reader, or pull information from NFC tags embedded in movie posters, stickers in shop windows and more.

The Nexus S is also the first device that will ship with Gingerbread, the 2.3 update of Google’s increasingly popular Android operating system. It’s faster than earlier versions and includes improved Internet calling, copy-and-paste functions, and support for NFC and a gyroscope, an orientation sensor that is expected to show up in growing numbers of smart phones.

“Android keeps getting better, and that’s important because it creates a really viable alternative to Apple’s iPhone,” said Carl Howe, director of consumer research at the Yankee Group. “One can argue it’s meeting its promise of actually becoming the default smart phone operating system.

“The Nexus S features a 1-GHz processor, front and rear facing cameras, 16 GB of internal memory, a 3-axis gyroscope sensor, a dedicated graphics processing unit and a 4-inch display that the company says is contoured to comfortably fit in the hand or along the face. The orientation sensor, which Apple’s latest iPhone also includes, provides more accurate detection of a device’s precise position in space, which can improve gaming and augmented reality applications.

Google Nexus S will be available Dec. 16 online from T-Mobile for $199 or unlocked for $529 and at Best Buy Dec. 20

Facebook began roll out revamped profile pages

December 5th, 2010

If you have a Facebook account, you’ve probably reconnected with an old pal, shared photos with your family, and gotten advice from your friends on what to buy and what to read. It’s pretty likely you logged on today.

Lately, the social networking site has been introducing new products – one after the next – with the goal, it seems, of turning the entire Web into one big social network, so eventually the Internet will be Facebook.

As if the company wasn’t surging enough, the movie “The Social Network” about the creation of Facebook has heightened interest, especially in its 26-yr-old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.  Now Facebook is about to get a facelift, and agreed to launch its new look on “60 Minutes.”

One thing that isn’t really pointed out or discussed much by Facebook, though, is the fact that the bar on the right side where the ads are displayed has about doubled from its previous width. Sponsored ads are now much more visible, and take up more Facebook real estate.

Predictably, there is a backlash from some of the Facebook community. It doesn’t really matter what changes Facebook makes–some will hate them and complain vocally that they wish the site would just remain stagnant and never change.

For us (advertisers), the changes represent an improvement in the marketing potential of the Facebook platform. Anything that improves the user experience and gets Facebook users to spend more time interacting with the social network increases the opportunity to interact with them as customers. The larger ad space will hopefully draw more attention, and give businesses a better chance of inducing a response from users.

Not everyone has the new profile update yet. It hasn’t been pushed out to users, but you can get it if you want it by visiting the Facebook site detailing the updates with the new profile and clicking the button. Be warned, though, once you switch to the new profile you can’t switch back.

Google Unveils Hotpot, a Recommendation Engine for Places

November 16th, 2010

Google has just taken the wraps off Hotpot, an early release of a location-based recommendation engine “powered by you and your friends.”

It’s painfully obvious that location is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tech industry; Google has been iterating quickly in this area with improvements to Places, Images, Latitude and other services with location features. Its newest foray into the world of location-based services is Hotpot.

Hotpot takes all of Google Places‘ ratings and reviews features and adds a more personal touch. Currently, Place Pages mostly aggregate review data from sources such as Yelp. With Hotpot, users will be encouraged to rate and review businesses directly from their Google-linked profile. Users’ ratings and reviews are tracked with a counter at the top of each profile, and likes and dislikes are remembered and used in Google’s recommendation engine.

Unlike the just-the-facts, business-friendly interface of Places, Hotpot has a distinctly user-friendly UI that mirrors current trends in web app design. In other words, it’s aimed directly at average consumers, not web junkies who live to search. While Hotpot works well with Places data, its presentation is entirely fresh, both visually and functionally. It presents high-impact data (star ratings and images) for each place in a grid format without introducing too many details — such as phone number or URL — that might not be needed until the user decides to dig down another level or two.

Another part of Hotpot is its social features. Users can create a profile nickname to separate their Hotpot account from their general Google profiles (the whole web can see the Places nickname, but only friends will see the linked Google profile and the user’s real name). Google uses Gmail accounts and linked Google profiles to help users find their friends. Friends’ reviews and ratings will be visible, and users will get recommendations based on what their friends like.


When you search for specific places, such as “San Francisco Restaurants,” in Hotpot, you can filter your search results to see businesses or other places you haven’t rated before; you can also choose to see only places that have been rated by your Hotpot friends.

And it goes without saying that this location-based product from Google integrates with Android out of the box. You can rate and review places on the go with Mobile maps on Android.


We’ve seen Facebook (which recently launched location-based Places features of its own) playing around with place recommendation, but we don’t know that any one method or design has been finalized yet.

Not only has Google beaten Facebook to the punch with its early release of a Places recommendation engine, it’s also giving businesses even more reason to set up Places pages and start thinking about their location-based advertising on Google. After all, more consumers will start their local business searches on Google than just about anywhere else.

By moving the recommendation and review process “in house,” so to speak, by being able to provide an algorithm to recommend sites based on preferences, not merely location, and most importantly perhaps, by integrating these recommendations with mobile, Maps and Search, Google’s Hotpot may be a “killer” location-based app. Sorry, Yelp.