Photo credit Tony Avelar - from Associated Press articleSince I signed up with Twitter I have experienced a wide array of emotion while experiencing the lives of the people I follow; sad because someone I follow was struggling with depression, frustrated due to repetitive useless tweets, and amazed and excited by the timely news I am often privy too. Obviously I prefer to be excited and amazed and today happens to be one of those days.

In this case, San Francisco and much of California is currently being rocked by a highly irregular storm that has raised severe weather alerts such as flash floods, and high surf/coastal floods. Well it just so happens that a few of the people I follow on Twitter are from this area and their tweets provide proof that Twitter (the community-based text messaging platform) has a value above my expectation. Read more…

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

A Little Facebook Comedy

If you have ever used Facebook then this video by the geniuses over at Train of Thought (a comedy sketch group) will surely give you a chuckle:

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

A Few Excellent Posts of the Day

Today I have been busy polishing off a feature article for tomorrow’s SEO newsletter but in the midst of that I came across a few articles and posts that caught my eye:

  • My Twitter friend and social networker extroardinaire Tamar Weinberg wrote a great article that shows which social media networks she networks across different social sites:
    How Do You Network On Social Sites?
  • ResourceShelf has links to recently posted research papers by Google employees. These papers can be gems for foretelling the future of search: Recently Posted Research Papers and Biblographic Info by Googlers. Special thanks to Barry Schwartz and his helpful Tweet that brought me to this info.
  • The unofficial Facebook blog (“AF”) discusses the incredible potential of social shopping heralded by Facebook’s recent Beta test of a payment system. You will be hearing a LOT more about this very soon.
  • Did you know that Democrats “participate more fully in social technologies”? This is just one of the interesting nuggets found in this fascinating post by Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research: Social Profiles of Political Candidates. The posting has excellent information sourced from a Forrester research document.
by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Microsoft Purchases Multimap

In an effort to compete with Google Maps and Google Earth, and to capture the traffic of one of the UK’s most visited websites, Microsoft has purchased online mapping service Multimap for an undisclosed sum.

According to a press release issued by Multimap on Dec 12, “Multimap will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft as part of the Visual Earth and Search teams in the Online Services Group.”

“The addition of Multimap enhances Microsoft’s position as a leading provider of mapping and location platform services,” said Sharon Baylay, general manager of the Online Services Group at Microsoft. “This acquisition will play a significant role in the future growth of our search business and presents a huge opportunity to expand our platform business beyond the U.K. and globally. We are thrilled to welcome Multimap onboard.”

Multimap is among of the UK’s top 100 tech companies, and is one of the leading online mapping services. Their services include street-level maps, road maps, door-to-door travel directions, aerial photos, and links to location information and services.

My original article on Wikipedia’s history of controversial editing was labelled “Is Wikipedia Corrupt?” At the time the title was meant to only raise awareness, however, coincidentally since that article premiered the popular online encyclopedia has been thrashed by mainstream media for some highly suspect behaviour.

Case-in-point, the Register published an article noting how Wikipedia outright banned over 1000 homes in Traverse Mountain, Utah, and an entire company ( in an effort to quash a Mr. Judd Bagley who had recently stated on his own blog that Wikipedia editors were “using their powers to hijack reality.” The Register article (which I sourced that quote from) goes into 5 detailed pages of description on how this went down and I must say, I was very unimpressed with Wikipedia by the end of it all. For more information and background on this case please give it a read – it is well worth it. Read more…

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Successful Online Sales Approaches

Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim has a great article today by Janet Meiners that discussed a couple of winning sales approaches that are definitely worth sharing:

  1. An offline social shopping experience at Bloomingdales that was chosen by Time Magazine as one of 2007’s best inventions. Created by IconNicholson this innovative concept highlights the use of text messaging, shared video, and virtually trying on clothes to aid shopping in the real world. This concept is extremely very interesting and I imagine there are ways to apply this concept to many different offline marketplaces. If you think of a way to adapt it to yours please keep me (ross at stepforth dot com) informed; I would love to see how it turns out for you.
  2. The article also noted some recent research from SellPoint that suggests audio/video tours of products can increase time spent on site and ultimately translate into more sales. SellPoint happens to sell services offering audio/video tours so I would take this info with a grain of salt, however, as a consumer I have to admit I am a huge proponent of these types of interactive product tours so I feel this data is worth passing on.

So there you are… just a couple of notes I thought I would share before I account for a couple of great seminars I attended at PubCon Las Vegas last week. Have an excellent evening!

Ad-Butterfly, an online ad services, allows more control over ad placement, providing marketers with the ability to choose which blogs to post there ads to, and allowing bloggers to choose which ads get posted to their site, according to a BusinessWeek article published Wednesday morning.

The world of online advertising continues to grow at phenomenal rates, but certainly, in the big scheme of things, it is still in its infant stages. The control given to AdWords advertisers and AdSense publishers has grown over the years, but Ad-Butterfly offers almost total control.

Ad-Butterfly works similar to the first tier PPC platforms of Google and Yahoo, using algorithms to automatically pair up ads and websites, but it offers a more advanced means of controlling which ads are displayed, for those who want total control.

Bloggers are given total control on which ads they will display on their site and also offers the ability for comments to be placed along side of the ads. Registered bloggers will also soon have the ability to request ads from other site.

The service is available in Japan and so far only 2,000 bloggers have signed up, but this form of paid ad placement is certain to grow over the very near future. Perhaps Google will even by them out it its quest for total control over online advertising. If you are fluent in Japanese feel free to visit the Ad-Butterfly website.

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Google GDrive

If you have been looking for online storage to either back up your computer, or simply need some supplemental space for your large collection of photos or digital music, Google’s new GDrive service may be of use to you.

Google GDrive... for Real?!?

The talk of Google GDrive has been around for a while now, but could it actually be on its way finally? Tuesday morning the Wall Street Journal published an article on the future Google service. Read more…

Back in August I wrote an article called “Is Wikipedia Corrupt?” which looked at the concerns caused by controversial editing in the popular Wikipedia online encyclopedia. In the closing section of that article I stressed that Google needed to move away from highlighting Wikipedia in favor of increasing the diversity of its encyclopedic references. In that regard I would like to introduce a great introduction to Citizendium written by Russ McGinn, a Citizendium Editor and former participant at Wikipedia. Read more…

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Obvious Email Spam is Still Successful

This is an off-topic post that I felt could not be missed. The Register wrote today about a type of email spam that is extremely common and rather obvious BUT surprisingly it appears some Internet users are still falling for it. The article is worth the read if you have any concerns about what emails to read or not to read.

In Short
Emails that promise free games, windows security patches or updates, nude celebrity pictures, or anything that seems out of the ordinary should be deleted immediately.

A source in the Register article “recommends PC users do not open executable files attached to email messages from addresses they do not recognise or trust and to ‘refrain from opening any message that purports to feature nude celebrities’.” Read more…