Tag: shop

What's Newsified Today December 29, 2011

What's Newsified Today December 29, 2011

Here’s the top recent articles from my favourite blogs and news sites:

H&M Caught Using Fake (CG) Models

H&M Caught Using Fake (CG) Models

H&M CGI Models

Whether you never thought it would happen or maybe thought it’s long overdue: Swedish fashion chain H&M admitted to using computer-generated models to display a range of collections on its website.

They look completely human. However, if you examine them closely, they all have exactly the same body shape and pose.

Read More Read More

8 Tips for Using Social Blogging to Grow Your Business

8 Tips for Using Social Blogging to Grow Your Business

Quick takeaways:
1. Position yourself as an expert.
2. Share experiences and information.
3. Keep it fresh and mix it up.
4. Encourage interaction and feedback.
5. Use schedulers and update apps.
6. Make your blog the central hub.
7. Link back to your website.
8. Use a personal touch.

Amplify’d from www.inc.com

Use continuous updates and punchy messages to heighten interest and keep your customers informed about products or services which in turn can boost sales.

Social networking. The big corporations have bought into it. Smaller companies, too. Even independent consultants use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to do business. It is a great way to get the word out about your product or service. It boosts brand awareness, it builds loyalty, and it attracts and retains customers.

But more companies are exploring ways to get a bigger pay off with social media. The next frontier of social networking and weblogging is social blogging. This ever-changing construct represents a way of communicating for people who like to inform each other about their daily activities and share common points of interest, according to Wikipedia authors Lambert M. Surhone, Mariam T. Tennoe, and Susan F. Henssonow. This is usually done through continual updates that often include text, pictures, audio, or video.

In general, you want to use social media to increase your visibility, improve your search engine results, and drive more traffic to your company’s website, which stands a good chance of increasing sales and growing the business. Social blogging is simply another tool to add to your overall social media strategic toolkit.

Business owners whose companies are at all levels of growth, from promising start-ups to established and mature firms, are looking for effective promotional tools that are also cost-effective, says Gail Z. Martin, author of 30 Days To Social Media Success. “Though social media is one of the most exciting new communications tools to emerge in the last twenty years and can provide cost effective marketing, it’s one of the most misunderstood mediums,” says Martin.

Social media, be it weblogging, microblogging (i.e., Twitter), or posting status updates, is a different kind of marketing. It’s not about creating a sales pitch for your product or service. Instead, it’s about generating interest and keeping your audience current on news, events, and the latest product developments. A social blog is essentially a form or combination of microblogs (short posts) and status updates. Users post content such as short sentences, images, or video links to large groups of friends, followers, or co-workers. As with traditional weblogging, users can write messages on topics that range from “what am I doing right now” to thematic ones such as “best places to eat sushi.” These messages can be transmitted via posting, text messaging, or e-mailing.

Businesses can use the concept of social blogging to provide up-to-the-minute news as they will find the need for quicker, current, and condensed information far more useful to their audiences, say social media gurus. But social blogs and status updates on Twitter and Facebook, for instance, aren’t just limited to news content, businesses also can use these as effective forms of communication to reach large groups of consumers and associates instantaneously to learn about their needs and wants.

Starbucks Corporation is a social media giant when it comes to engagement, including incorporating blogs, status updates, tweets, and forums. When the trendy Seattle-based coffeehouse chain realized that its sales were stagnating and that competition was becoming fierce, it had to find ways to solidify and expand its market share. In 2009, Starbucks launched the interactive MyStarbucksIdea website and corporate blog. While some industry analysts doubted whether the site would catch on, well over 100,000 internet users had visited the site by the end of its first week online. The site allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, even store designs. Suggestions are voted on by Starbucks consumers with the most popular ones getting highlighted.

But Starbucks took it a step further, adding an “Ideas in Action” blog that gives updates to users on the status of suggested changes. Starbucks doesn’t just communicate news and business developments with its audience, but it also lets them know which of their suggestions the company has really taken to heart. Starbucks also has fully embraced Twitter beyond notifying consumers about bargains; @Starbucks focuses on sharing interesting events and music information or brand- and charity-related topics the company would like to address. It’s not a one-way monologue. Followers are not just entertained. They are being engaged in a brand and conversations around it.

Like Starbucks, Zappos embraces microblogging to manage customer relations. Tweets @Zappos are used to highlight interesting facts, and to talk to customers in a way that is friendly, helpful, funny and trustworthy. The Brooklyn Kitchen keeps foodies up to date on events from notices about the new book club in full swing to the next skills knife class kicking off. Amateur chefs Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum opened The Brooklyn Kitchen in 2006 after scouring the neighborhood for kitchenware and coming up empty-handed. Today, their homegrown shop is crammed wall to wall with tools for both serious cooks and hobbyists. The duo focuses on providing useful and targeted information in their posts whether it’s through their website, weblog, or twitter account. From videos on how to shuck oysters or saber a champagne bottle, Erkkinen and Rosenblum always provide real value for enthusiastic cooking fans.

Dig Deeper: 5 Ways to Actually Make Money on Twitter

This type of added-value and engagement translates to increased brand awareness and direct sales. These companies demonstrate the effective use of compelling and condensed content aligned with ta
ngible business objectives. Here are some tips to help you make the most of social blogging:

1. Position yourself as an expert. When people are looking for a product or service, oftentimes they will first look for information about the subject on the Internet. In general, blogging is about having conversations in a public space that position you as a subject matter expert. “The type of discussions you ideally should have ought to be answering questions that people out there on the Internet are searching for,” says Adria Richards, Organic Technology Consultant and blogger. “For me, social blogging is a way to have conversations with potential customers and to draw traffic to your site.” For instance, you can answer questions from consumers via Twitter, which is a popular thing to do.

2. Share experiences and information. Social blogging is often used to share experiences in addition to business ideas and concepts. Always seek unique opportunities to share your ideas and offerings with not only your readers, but their associates as well, which will eventually bring in more prospects. Announce upcoming events, awards, and other news. But do it in a conversational tone. Hopefully, your target audience will retweet or share your story. Don’t overlook Tunmblr, which is popular in the microblogging realm. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, dialogues, audio, video, slideshows and “Tumble” other posts. Tumblr provides the option of custom domains. You can auto-syndicate to Facebook and Twitter. Users can track stats with Google Analytics.

Read more at www.inc.com

 

The uncanny valley of advertising. Ads too-targeted, not targeted enough, or just poorly targeted.

The uncanny valley of advertising. Ads too-targeted, not targeted enough, or just poorly targeted.

Amplify’d from blogs.reuters.com

The uncanny valley of advertising

From an economic point of view, improvements in ad-targeting technology seem as though they’re pretty obviously Pareto-optimal: everybody benefits. Advertisers get to waste fewer of their ad dollars putting messages in front of people they don’t want to reach; publishers get to charge more money; and consumers get to see only things which are germane and relevant to them.

So why is it that many people hate ad targeting, and hate being served targeted ads?

Part of the reason, I think, is just that targeted ads are better at getting our attention than non-targeted ads — but they’re still an unwelcome distraction from whatever it is we’re wanting to read. Most of us have become pretty good at unconsciously ignoring advertising, especially online. (Often I find myself looking hard for a big special report on a website, because it’s presented on the home page in much the same way as an ad might be, and so I ignore it, in much the same way as it’s easy to miss the big letters spelling out continent names on a world map.) Every time there’s an improvement in targeted advertising, it cuts through that wall and annoys us anew before we slowly learn to ignore it over time.

Eventually, advertisers will be able to get much smarter than they are right now, and the ad-serving algorithms will stop being dumb things based on keyword searches, and will start being able to construct a much more well-rounded idea of who we are and what kind of advertising we’re likely to be interested in. At that point, when the ads we see are targeted to us based on much more than the content of our emails or the goods that we shop for online, they probably won’t feel nearly as creepy or intrusive as they do now. But for the time being, a lot of people are going to continue to get freaked out by these ads, and are going to think that the answer is greater “online privacy”. When I’m not really convinced that’s the problem at all.

Read more at blogs.reuters.com

 

Google Product Search launched in Australia

Google Product Search launched in Australia

Google secretly launched their shopping comparison site here in Australia: http://www.google.com.au/prdhp
http://google-au.blogspot.com/2011/05/google-shopping-arrives-in-australia.html

Merchant Center, advertisers need to list their products: http://www.google.com.au/merchants/default

Getting Started: http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=188493

Be interesting to see how this goes down under.

Consumers want a car. TV studios give pogo sticks. Doesn’t turn us into pogo-stick fanciers…

Consumers want a car. TV studios give pogo sticks. Doesn’t turn us into pogo-stick fanciers…

Great article about apples new line up, particularly this part about IPTV.

Amplify’d from www.suntimes.com

Digital music stores work because it’s one-stop shopping, whether you shop at iTunes, Amazon’s MP3 Store, or Rhapsody. If I want a specific album, I don’t have to first ask “What label was that recorded under?” and then “Which one of the following thirteen incompatible music stores is partially owned by that label?”

But that’s the problem we face with Internet TV. Which might kill the whole thing before it even gets on its feet. iTunes and Hulu’s strongest competition comes in the form of apps that make it trivially simple to locate the latest episodes of every TV show ever broadcast, posted on any filesharing site or service.

You want last week’s episode of “Dancing With The 19 Kids Of Cake Decorators?” You got it.

It’s illegal, sure. But it’s free and more importantly: it works.

Consumers want a car. The TV studios give us a pogo stick. It doesn’t turn us into pogo-stick fanciers. It turns us into car thieves. Please CC this comment to anybody you know in the television industry.

Read more at www.suntimes.com

 

Back in Syd with new contact info and looking for work!

Back in Syd with new contact info and looking for work!

Greetings one and all!

I am now living back in Sydney, looking for work and possibly doing graduate studies.

At the moment I am living with my folks in Narrabeen for a couple of weeks before moving into an apartment in Alexandria.

As you may know, I’ve recently finished my Bachelor of Media at Macquarie (Sydney) and spent time in Vancouver completing my Communication Honours at Simon Fraser University.

Our apartment is close to downtown Sydney (very close to the Redfern train station, one stop from Central) – a short work from the University of Sydney. If you’re ever in Sydney or Australia, we are maybe a 10 minute drive from the airport, so don’t hesitate to get in touch! Consider yourself as having a standing invitation to come visit any time–neither Joni nor I will be back in Canada for a while, so it’d be great to see some familiar faces.

As far as keeping track of me, please add me on facebook (facebook.com/lukefreeman), follow me on twitter (twitter.com/lukefreeman) or read my blog (lukefreeman.com.au).

I am also looking for work so please, please, PLEASE let me know if you hear of any work going either in my field (communicaiton/marketing/PR) or just in general (from admin to hospitality). Joni will also be looking for work when she arrives here on October 13th.

My resume is available at http://www.lukefreeman.com.au/resume

I am also back on the road with web designing – anything from simple “pamphlet/brochure” websites to dynamic, database driven, eCommerce solutions with content management & customer relationship management facilities. I work using: PHP, (X)HTML, XML, RSS, CSS, C++, JavaScript, MySQL, Automator and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere, Flash).

So, I think that is it!

Look forward to hearing from and/or seeing you all!

Updated: Thanks to @ andrewfergusson for reminding me to websafe it! Contact me if you want my address / phone etc…

Picture 12

Paris '08

Paris '08

Monday morning we load up in the car with our bags and head to the train station, say our good byes and jump on the train to London to meet Ben (who left with Zoe on Sunday arvo). Corbs and I arrived in London to use the free wireless in McDonalds to catch up on things. I end up on the phone to Mastercard and the Commonwealth bank to find out why my cards aren’t working. So now I have my parents posting me 3 cards to Vancouver!

We meet Ben at the train station and jump on the train to Paris!

On the train Ben & I watched most of Summer Heights High (they had power on that train!). After a pretty fast train ride we find our way to our accommodation in Paris only to discover its just outside of the red light district… down the road from the Moulin Rouge! Paris… crawling in sex shops and strip joints :/

We legged it around for ages before deciding to eat at the cheapest place possible… a Buffalo Grill for 9.50 eruo.

Tuesday
After hardly sleeping because of all the noise outside (it sounded like gang warfare, people were getting beaten up and sirens etc) Ben started knocking on our door at 8:30am until I let him in.

[us eating crossiants]

We surfaced and grabbed some croissants. We went straight to the Eurail office to reserve our seats… we waited for hours and ended up paying 59 euros (after already spending over $200 on our Eurail pass) for the first leg (Paris to Interlarken) only to find out that we can’t book our German legs until we arrive in Germany.

So after being terribly annoyed, we sucked it up and made our way to the Eiffel Tower (and looked at everything on the way). We ended up waiting in line next to two Australian journalism students (from QUT… gosh Paris is crawling with Aussie tourists). We spent the rest of the day with the girls from QUT (the boys were let down after discovereing that one was married and the other engaged… it was good for me because I could have a good conversation with them without stepping in their way :D). The Eiffel Tower was very nice, and very worthwhile, after walking so far to get there (at least 6km) and viewing the city from the top I can now tell you that Paris is a MASSIVE city, very crowded and widespread… all the buildings actually look the same.

After getting dinner (baguette, cold baked beans, cold meat, warm beer) we decided to head across to the Moulin Rouge.

We walked past the hundreds of sex stores, sex shows and strip joints etc to get there and wait in line. We didn’t know that we needed to make a reservation so the guy made us wait at the end of the line until he found out if there were any availabilities. We ended up being let in with two Australian girls (more Aussie tourists) from Melbourne. All of us were pretty stoked because we thought they’d let us in for free,,,until the bill came in for 89euro each… ouch! Nevertheless it was a fantastic night! The performances were very impressive – I wish I spoke French! Obviously there was too much partial nudity but you quickly see past that. There was some Cirques-esk stuff that was very impressive, this very talented man that played the drums by throwing ping pong balls from his mouth (that description hardly does him justice). Anyway, the long and short of it was that it was expensive, but well worthwhile – one of those things that you just have to “have done”.

Wednesday
After a few hours sleep, then laying around in bed for a while we surfaced to our usual breakfast of croissants as we trekked it to the Notre Dame and Louvre. They were very fascinating… that’s about all I can say – you have to see it for yourself, just be prepared to have sore feet and spend hours there.

After getting home we tried, yet again, to find the Paris night life. After having our 750ml Heineken’s and trekking it for a while, we found a Hostel with only a handful of people, but they were having a quiet one and were already pretty clicky and tipsy. So we ended up just heading home after a while.

Thursday
Ben left before Corbs and I woke up so we ended up “shopping in Paris” – as you do! We were feeling pretty poor, so that made it hard, but nonetheless we managed to buy some nice stuff. But the real thing was the browsing… wow! If I had heaps of money I’d exclusively buy suits from Paris! OMG!! Wow! Classy, pimped out suits everywhere! And heaps of cool streetwear and the best fitted shirts you’ll ever come across!

Friday
I’ve had my last French croissants, baguette and expressos… now sitting on a train to Interlarken (Switzerland) writing my blog entry to post when I get internet access and my battery is almost flat. I’m working on getting more photos up on facebook soon too… once I’ve got a good internet connection.

Au revior!

Henley '08 – Instalment I

Henley '08 – Instalment I

Yes, I have been very bad at updating this, I’m sorry.

So here’s the run down…

We flew out on Wed afternoon. Nanna, Pa, Auntie Jo and Angus took me to the airport to see me off (which was really nice). After stopping over in Bangkok and getting a Thai massage (Corbs had a guy massaging him and it was rather amusing) we arrived safely in London on Thursday morning GMT.

After waiting another 2 hours because Zoe’s plane was delayed, we located our car and drove to Henley (via Staines BC to pick up some gear). The car is the SMALLEST seven seater you will EVER see, by the time we arrived in Henley to drop off our gear at the accommodation many of us had numb body parts because the bags were packed in on top of us (I don’t think I can emphasise just how tightly we were packed).

Upon arriving at Sequia House, we were greeted by the lovely Odette Moss (and her large dog) who showed us to our rooms and made us feel comfortable. She has been the most helpful, wonderful, generous host and I am so thankful that we were lined up with her.

Quick change in to zooties and we made our way down to the course to rig up the boat and go for a training row.

The training row was tough, we were all so jet lagged and the crew lacked concentration, but this was to be expected after the flight – thank God we didn’t have to qualify on the Friday!

We picked up a bit of shopping and then I cooked us some nice burritos. After demolishing the burritos we all tried to stay awake to get over the jet lag and eventually hit the sack at about 9pm — in the 51 hours prior I had only 2 hours sleep.. zzz…

Friday morning came and we awoke to a fantastic breakfast prepared by Odette, scoffed it down and then ducked away to the course for a training row. It seemed to go all right, however you could still tell we were recovering from jet lag.

Again the process of “eat, sleep, row” carried on for the rest of Friday and Saturday until we had a day off on Sunday (first day off in at least a fortnight).

On Sunday we dropped Ben, Corbs and Zoe down to the train station so they could spend the day in London; Rob, Susanne and Cadeyrn went to Oxford and I hung in Henley for the day. My folks came down from London for the day to meet me which was great 😀 I hadn’t seen them for a few weeks. I took them for a tour of the course and then we ran in to big Philthy Matthews!! So we all went to the Catherine Wheel for lunch which became afternoon tea as well.

We talked with Philthy for hours about his time at Harvard, rowing, politics, Uni, family and all the usual sort. It was great to catch up with him! Ah, I love that kid!

When we all arrived back on the Sunday evening for a wonderful meal that Odette decided to make for us, Cadeyrn was starting to get sick. His sickness lasted through until Tuesday.

This meant that we had not trained as a crew between our last row on Saturday and Tuesday morning when we went for a very short training row.

So that brings me to today. We’re racing Cambridge University at 5:20pm GMT and we are far under-prepared. As Rob said in our crew meeting yesterday, “the only way we can win this first race is with passion, and we’re going to need a heck load”.

Here’s hoping!