Category Archives: Internet

Why I hate Internet cookies

My PC has been mis-behaving itself recently. I’ve been getting some Security Essentials warnings recently about an .html file that the software didn’t recognise. I am not aware that I have ever accessed this file and as the file was stored in my Temporary Internet Files folder, there’s a good chance it was part of an install.

The alerts were starting to become annoying. I cleaned my temp files folder (there were over 9,000 files in there) and I decided to tighten up my Internet security by tightening up my browser settings.

I felt that I was no longer in control of my PC. I hate that. I hate the way that files appear on my PC without my explicit say so. so I decided to do something about it…

imageIn Internet Explorer – the browser I use most often I went into ‘Internet Options’ and clicked on the ‘Advanced button’ in the privacy settings tab.

I ticked the dialog box to Override automatic cookie handling and set the cookie status to  the following:

I set the ‘First Party Cookies’ to Accept.

First Party Cookies are necessary on a site for you to be recognised as an individual visitor.

Blocking first party cookies makes it really hard to login to any site anywhere. Google certainly will not let you log in without accepting first party cookies.

I set the setting for ‘Third Party Cookies’ to ‘Prompt’.

I did this to see how many ad serving cookies were going to be placed onto my PC. Every time a hidden cookie tried to place itself onto my PC I would get an alert.

Each cookie belongs to a website – either the main website such as Facebook.com (First Party), or one of the ad server companies that serve ads within that site. These are domain names such as doubleclick.net, adsvr.org and advertising.com.

These third party cookies monitor your browsing habits and deliver ads to you. Often they deliver the same old ads over and over again.

I then did my work as usual for the rest of the day. I logged on to sites where I usually logged on, and blocked all cookies from each site that requested it through the Privacy Alert dialog box.

Now, 24 hours later I have had 168 Alerts from different sites that wanted to put a cookie onto my machine.

That is 168 sites with domain names I have never heard of, hiding on sites that I use regularly. Hidden, perhaps malicious sites that I would normally automatically grant access to place files on to my machine.

Most of these sites serve (hopefully) relevant ads. Some of these sites, as they are not under the control of the host web site, could introduce worms and other malware onto my machine.

You can of course, totally control your privacy by blocking ALL cookies. It makes it really difficult to browse the web and access the sites you need to. You can use a totally private website such as DuckDuckGo if you are tired of Using Google Search

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Or you could take the easy route and block all third party cookies from accessing your machine. After another 10 alerts as i visited another web site, I think that is going to be by far the easiest way to help keep my machine safe…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

50 billion devices with Cisco’s Internet of Things

50 billion things on the Internet by 2020? That’s a huge amount of ‘things’. This Infographic from Cisco opens up a mind-blowing set of possibilities.  Even cows can be connected to the Internet.  IPv6 brings a huge amount of possibilities into our home and working lives. You never know, we’ll have talking socks and RFID trash next Winking smile 

This is well worth sharing again…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Choosing a great domain name

imageMicrosoft.com, Amazon.com, Google.com. 

What do these names say about the business? 

You have instantly formed an opinion, good or bad about what the brand does, what it sells and what its value to the industry is.

But what if your chosen domain name is not available? 

What if some entrepreneurial soul before you has nabbed your chosen domain name? 

You need to get creative about your domain name.

Your domain name can be used to effectively market your product and save you the trouble of building a brand presence like Microsoft and Google had to do in the early days.

Domain Name Marketing (DNM)  is relatively unknown in the UK. DNM is massive in the USA pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars a year and is obviously helped by a massive USA population online.

The UK seems slow to engage with this new marketing technology and still pours their marketing pounds into a declining print advertising industry instead of harnessing traffic from keyword domain names.

Look at domain names such as shoes.com and onlineshoesuppliers.com. Someone was smart enough to register shoes.com early, leaving the rest of online shoe stores to choose alternative names.

And premium domain names get the most traffic. Type in traffic – where the url is guessed at in the browser address bar account for over 50 per cent of visitors to a site.

So how do you construct your premium domain name?  It needs to contain the following features:

  • Memorable
  • Keyword rich
  • Short
  • Brandable
  • Geographic – if you business is local
  • Descriptive
  • Contain proper names such as Eileenbrown.co.uk or eileenb.co.uk
  • Generic – such as Apple.com, Shoes.com and Orange.com

Obviously owning the .com domain is a great idea if you can get it, along with other top level domains (TLD’s) such as .biz, .net, .me (for personal names) and the recently introduced .co.

And great top level domains are very marketable. Cameras.com sold for $1.5 million in 2006 and Ticket.com sold for $1.525 million in 2009.

Benefits or Keyword domain names are to:

Capture pre-qualified, targeted leads without any SEO and  web rankings. People often type their search terms directly into their browser, and a percentage of those people will type their search with a .com or .co.uk.

Instead of going to Google and searching for “restaurants in London” some people will type restaurantsinlondon.co.uk into their browser address bar. The business owner with foresight to buy that domain name reaps the benefits, while other restaurant owners in London work at SEO to show up in the search rankings.

Increasing organic search traffic. SEO algorithms use the domain name itself. Exact-match keyword domain names are considered to be the most relevant, and as a result, websites with keyword domains tend to rank higher than websites without keyword domains for exact match searches.

Increasing click through rates. People are more likely to click on your website if they see a keyword domain in the URL when compared to other URL’s that show up in the search results.

Even if you buy Cost Per Click (CPC) ads from companies such as Google Adwords, more people will click on your ad links if they see a keyword domain for the URL. For pay-per-click  (PPC) advertising, use a generic keyword domain over a non-generic, non-keyword domain which will increase the number of ad impressions and raise the click-through-rate

Building brand recognition. Consumers associate generic keyword domains with market leadership. If someone searches for Service + Location and they find your website such as NewYorkRentals.com or Bostonlawyers.com they assume you are the market leader for that service in your location. Instant credibility for your brand.

So you don’t need to be first to snag Shoes.com or Apple.com. All the generic names have already been taken – and now are for sale for thousands of dollars.

Being smart with your domain naming, adding location and service offerings to your domain name could bring you easy SEO benefits and extra revenue for your business.

Credit: Social BIz Solutions

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

The ever-growing Internet

imageThe Internet is a huge thing — which seems to go so slowly that it seems to grind to a halt sometimes.  However, our use of it is getting larger. And our mobile use is set to continue upwards according to kpcb in its Internet trends presentation at the D10 Conference

According to kpcp, the number of Internet users increased by 8 per cent in 2011, mainly driven by countries such as the Philippines.

There were 2.3 billion users of the Internet globally last year, dominated by China with 513 million users, representing a year on year growth of 12 per cent.

This was closely followed by the United States with 245 million users (year on year growth of 1 per cent) and India with 121 million users and a year on year growth of 38 per cent. The UK does not reach the top ten list.

Mobile adoption is graining ground rapidly.There are 1 billion mobile 3G subscribers. The US leads the way with 3G mobile use -there are over 208 million 3G  subscribers there followed by Japan with over 122 million and China with 57 million.

Android has the largest market share amongst the smartphones too – with non specific smartphone operating systems coming second. iPhone trails behind in third, and Windows phone far behind in fourth. Android adoption is over 4 x that of iPhone.

There is still a long way to go however.  Although there are over 953 million smartphone subscriptions, there are over 6.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions — almost one mobile phone for every person on the planet.

When will we get convergence — when absolutely everyone has a mobile device capable of receiving data?  10 years? 20 years?  It might be closer than we think.

And then, what new technology will be available to tempt us to try it?

The possibilities are endless…

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: Micky Aldridge

Do you still hate IE?

Love it… From the Internet Explorer ‘browser your loved to hate’ site

So is it true? have you abandoned IE for Firefox or Chrome?  Did you try them and gone back to IE?

My browsers of choice:

  1. IE
  2. Firefox – when a web site just won’t run in IE
  3. Chrome  — if I absolutely have to…

I’m still loyal – no matter how hard it has sometimes been Disappointed smile

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Are we nice to each other online?

imageApparently we’re nice to each other online. 

Forget the back biting and bitching that goes on.  Forget the bullying and the harassment, we’re nice to each other online.

But are we? Really?

A report out from the pew research centre reports that:

  • 85% of SNS-using adults say that their experience on the sites is that people are mostly kind, compared with 5% who say people they observe on the sites are mostly unkind and another 5% who say their answer depends on the situation.
  • 68% of SNS users said they had an experience that made them feel good about themselves.
  • 61% had experiences that made them feel closer to another person. (Many said they had both experiences.)
  • 39% of SNS-using adults say they frequently see acts of generosity by other SNS users and another 36% say they sometimes see others behaving generously and helpfully. By comparison, 18% of SNS-using adults say they see helpful behaviour “only once in a while” and 5% say they never see generosity exhibited by others on social networking sites.

I’m not so sure that 85% is the right figure for being mostly kind.  Perhaps 85% of Americans who like taking part in surveys, reported this.  But there is a LOT of vitriol, harassment, bullying and spite out there.  Facebook has several examples of children bullying other children.  It’s not limited to children either.

We do experience some bad behaviour online:

Some 49% of SNS-using adults said they have seen mean or cruel behaviour displayed by others at least occasionally. And 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey.

My colleagues at ZDNet have similar problems. Perhaps it’s because our columns are considered fair game to anyone who wants to take issue with anything we say. Violet, has has her fair share of Internet aggression, writes about it – and is roundly criticised for doing so.

Perhaps we set ourselves up for bad behaviour, perhaps by our very presence online, we encourage comments of spite, vitriol and hatred.  If so, it’s a sad reflection of the cowards that hide away under a pseudonym and exist to lash out and troll people with opinions.

Make your fingertips your friends – and try to say nice things about people. You’ll be remembered for it…

Image credit: Pink Sherbert

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

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Has the Internet made journalism better or worse?

The Economist has posted an interesting video.  It argues the case for, and against the Internet making Journalism better or worse..

 

I’m in the ‘for’ camp.

I think the Internet brings much greater interaction with brands.  It forces brands to be more transparent and amplifies mess ups and exposes inaccuracies.

However, it has unleashed a new wave of cyber bullies who have the power to say what they want to about a brand.  Trip advisor hotels are subjected to awful attacks by consumers with power.  Everyone with a blog can publish rants about others if they choose.  Openness and transparency can be replaced by vitriol and spite.

What do you think?  Has the Internet made journalism better?  Or is the propagation of rumours, half-truths and gossip destroying the validity of news?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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