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InPrivateBlocking in Internet Explorer 8 - Few Worries

Posted 1:52 PM by

Microsoft Internet Explorer is getting a face lift and tummy tuck with Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).  IE8 is currently in beta form and available to average users. A formal release date has yet to be set. One of the biggest new features receiving a lot of hoopla right now is InPrivateBlocking. 

InPrivateBlocking allows users to turn off browsing history, as well as the saving of temporary files and cookies. Browsing history and temporary files mostly affect just the user, however,not saving cookies affects the user and any company or organization tracking and recording information on their visitors. This has potentially big ramifications on organizations who rely on web-based advertising because there is a lot of tracking involved with web-based ads. It also affects companies who track and remember their visitors and display items based on their interests.

So, organizations are worried their ad revenues will dry up because of this end to tracking. I'm not worried, though. First of all, the ability to block cookies is built into the major browsers right now.  It's just a little harder to find. Second, I'm sure there are a good number of people that don't want to be tracked at all - the 'big brother is watching us' mentality. But how many people truly think that way? 

When I visit Amazon.com, I love the fact that it says 'Hello, Matt.  We have some recommendations for you.' And the recommendations are really things I'd be interested in. Or perhaps when I go to log into an email account, bank account or some other account that remembers who I am. The website doesn't store my password (unless you're silly enough to let your browser do that for you).  It just has my username - which I often forget because it varies from site to site if the traditional 'mzentz' is not available. It is really nice that these sites remember who I am and what my preferences and interests are.

My point is that I wouldn't worry too much about user's turning off their cookies because most don't do it now. What I would worry about is why people are turning off their browsing history and temporary Internet files, because if they work for you, how will you know what websites they are really viewing while on your dime.

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Learning to focus and harness creativity

Posted 2:36 PM by

Two of the biggest elements of marketing are focus and creativity.  Focus is important because you want to stayed focused on particular marketing tasks, but it is also important because your overall messages to prospects and customers need to stayed focused on your core product or service offering.  Creativity is important because it takes a creative mind to put out quality, relevant, and purposeful content that stays inline with your focus.

Get Sleep - Stay Focused

How do you stay focused, especially if you are a small business owner?  There are probably millions of topics related to this but I'm going mention only one.  I finished an article in Fortune Small Business Magazine titled "Make Sleep Work For You." The article talks about how important 7-8 hours of sleep each night is to everyone. Our society is based on this "burning the midnight oil" idea where we think if we put in more hours, we get more done.

Studies have proven otherwise.  When we consistently get too little sleep our bodies respond accordingly by losing our ability to focus.  This results in a subpar level of work and could even lead to fatal business decisions. The health disadvantages are also numerous. The World Health Organization has studied this so much that they have considered making sleep deprivation a carcinogen.  Studies show that a lack of sleep leads to an increased chance of diabetes and cancer and weakens your bodies immune system. Wow! 

Sleep is good. Get your rest and you'll be able to maintain a higher level of focus, make complex decisions easier, and even feel more energized throughout the day.  Some businesses actually put sleep rooms in the office so workers can take mini-naps throughout the day.

Generate Creativity

Being creative can be a huge challenge if you can't find your focus or inspiration. I don't remember where I read this but a simple trick you can use is to exercise for a short period of time just before you have to put your creative talents to work.  Exercising creates a higher level of activity in the brain and results in your ability to comprehend the bigger picture and piece together the fragments.  Sometimes I hit the stairwell and do a full flight or two to get the blood pumping. It really works so I encourage you to try it.

Being well rested and throwing in some exercise can help you produce higher quality marketing material in a shorter amount of time.  This helps me in my writing and planning activities. Now, if I can just find a better way to improve my visual creativity I'll be all set.

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Conference Blogging

Posted 4:26 PM by

Today, I am at the blogINDIANA conference learning about different blogging topics and also promoting our product, Marketpath CMS.  It's interesting, even now, how many home-grown web content management systems there are.  We knew this when we began building our product.  We knew that home-grown CMS's would be our largest competitors. 

One benefit of the home-grown CMS is that the relationship to the developer, the company who built it, is very personal. It has tremendous value because the customer is working with a vendor they trust.

The disadvantages of the home-grown CMS are in system maturity, features and benefits. Every home-grown CMS I've seen is immature.  It lacks the full-scale development and quality assurance required to deliver a quality product from which end users derive their return on investment.  Additionally, most larger changes (like adding a new page) require intervention from the original developer. Keep your fingers crossed they are not on vacation or too busy on another large project to assist for another 6 weeks.  Believe it or not, that happens a lot.

What we are recommending is that instead of trying to build a home-grown application that is limited in functionality, become a reseller of a mature web content management system. We have a program in place that allows resellers to make a nice return on every new customer.  And the return is recurring every year. They get the benefit of a mature content management system that is always growing in features and benefits, and offers the expertise of the vendor behind it. Do it right, go with a pro.

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Semantic Web

Posted 10:23 AM by

I met with Scott Abel this past Tuesday and we briefly spoke about semantic search.  I'll admit, I've read about semantic search in the past but I wasn't very familiar with it.  So I did a little more research.

Semantic search is based on objects instead of just keywords, as traditional search is today. Today's search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc) find websites that contain the keywords you entered. Now, if I typed in "horn" I will get many different results.  I will get results for french horns, Cape Horn, Horn's Gaslight Bar & Restaurant on Mackinac Island, Hansen & Horn, and many other results.  But I will have to sort through all of those results to find what I'm really looking for, my grade school gym teacher "Mr. Horn." 

Semantic search would allow me to sort results by the type of object instead of just wether the pages included my keywords.  When I type "horn" I could also include "person."  So my query might be "person horn." A good semantic web search engine would also recognize that many different object types exist for the word horn and present those to me so I could easily narrow my selection.

We constantly hype about good keyword placement and strong search engine optimization but semantic web presents a different twist in search that could yield much more relevant results and get us to the information we want faster. Semantic search has a long way to go before being fully adopted but it is something to keep your eye on.

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