Archive for September 2011

Stop chasing SEO!

September 30th, 2011 — 1:41pm

Here’s a nice article on SEO, which lists the “durable” seo elements to focus on for your website:

An interesting revelation from Google CEO Eric Schmidt – google changes their search algorithm a little bit each day.  EACH DAY!  So jumping onto the latest hot SEO tip may backfire.

I’d summarize this article as follows – make your site user friendly and provide great content.  That’s it.  Serve your constituency well, and the search engines will reward you.

Comment » | Usability, Web Maintenance

A new way to Pay?

September 20th, 2011 — 11:14am

Google launched its “wallet service” as described here:
Google Wallet Rings Up Visa, Amex, Discover as Partners

This is an interesting way to pay for items, but it does require merchants to sign up and have specialized hardware at their registers.  I understand the appeal of these kinds of systems, but I’m wondering if they will really take off.

Here’s my question – does this really make it easier to pay for things?  The current system of pulling out your “real” wallet, swiping a card, and signing a piece of paper is pretty painless right now.  I suppose this reduces some security concerns, but it does add more management tasks for the consumer – funding the account, keeping card information updated online, etc.   Also, you need a phone that supports it – which many people still do not have.  Most people have pockets or purses, which is all you need to put a “real” wallet.

It’ll be interesting to see how it goes – the current pay system is pretty well entrenched, and convenient, so I think it will be hard to displace.

Comment » | E-commerce, mobile

It’s not the technology, stupid…

September 16th, 2011 — 4:56pm

The issues faced by Google+ catching up with Facebook highlighted here:

Raise Your Hand If You’re Still Using Google+

really underscore the difficulties of starting a web-based business.  Many people think that they can take on the big sites with superior technology – some killer app, feature, etc.  Over the years I’ve seen many job posts, and talked to people who wanted to build a “clone” of a big name site (like,,  They really thought that the “technology” (programming, website, etc.) was really the key driver for the business, and would determine their success.

However, time and again, we see that the technology is really just the starting point.  From there, you need marketing, advertising,  partnerships, etc. to get things off the ground and get traction.  This is the part most people overlook.

In the case of Google+, they spent untold millions on the platform, and have a tremendous user base to launch it to, yet, it’s floundering a bit.  They have a hard uphill climb in my opinion, because of Facebook’s established users.  The switching costs of social media are high, and Google must overcome that.

So, when planning your next killer app, keep in mind that the technology is really the easy part.  Once that’s in place, your real challenges will start.

Comment » | Social Media

Have you registered your ‘Doppelganger’ domains?

September 12th, 2011 — 11:15am

Here’s an article describing the use of so-called ‘Doppleganger’ domains to intercept and steal information:
Researchers steal 20GB of corporate emails via doppelganger domains

Essentially, by taking advantage of typos, the researchers were able to intercept corporate emails, many containing sensitive information in them.  This is similar to someone registering a domain misspelling to grab free web traffic, and show advertising.  However, the email intercept puts a new twist on it.

Here’s the reason – you can intercept mis-typed emails “silently” – either discard them, or forward them on to the real intended recipient.  Nobody can tell what you are doing with the information you glean.  The sender / recipient may never realize the email was misdirected.

For example, you have a domain  Your Division in Germany is “” – so I email to my colleague overseas, using “” – however, I misspell it as “”.

Now, if some nefarious person has registered “” and set up a mailserver there to accept all incoming email, they have just intercepted that email.  If that email contained any passwords, or company secrets, well, it could be very damaging to the company.  Keep in mind that an external customer emailing a sales rep would be susceptible to the same mistake.

So, is your company at risk for this kind of attack?  If so, you should consider registering these alternate domains, and checking into any doppelganger domains that were already registered.

Comment » | E-commerce

Time to move your documents to the cloud? Not so fast…

September 8th, 2011 — 7:18am

There’s been a push over the past few years to move more and more applications “to the cloud”, and off of your desktop / laptop computer.  Google docs has been trying to convert MS Office users away from the traditional Word, Excel, etc. applications to use the online application.

The functionality is pretty good, and it’s neat to be able to store and share your documents online.  You can edit them from anywhere, right in your browser.   However, with all “cloud” applications, there is still the risk of downtime, as this article shows:

Google Docs Stumbles, Goes Down

I think google is trying to remedy this, but creating a hybrid approach, where you can store documents “offline” on your computer, and sync up with the online version.  This may be a solid approach that works in the long run.

However, it’s still a bit risky to store your documents online.  Security is another big issue.  If  someone hacks (that never happens, right?)  into the “cloud” where the documents are stored, your sensitive data could be at risk.  When so much data is centralized like that, it’s a huge target for hackers.  Also, since these platforms offer easy “sharing”, you need to be careful you don’t accidentally share a confidential document with the whole world.

In summary, I think Google Docs has its place, but for mission critical and confidential documents, I’m still sticking with local apps, and local storage.

Comment » | Social Media, Web Tools

Back to top