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Friday, September 30, 2011

Forecast says recession is imminent

Posted from CNN News Today

Forecast says recession is imminent: The U.S. economy is staring down another recession, according to a forecast from the Economic Cycle Research Institute.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One of my Favorite Quotes, and Oh so very true!

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Climate Change is Causing Species to Shift Faster Towards Poles, Says New Study

Climate Change is Causing Species to Shift Faster Towards Poles, Says New Study:

A new study published in Science magazine, shows that species are moving toward the poles three times faster and climbing higher twice as fast as previously reported in 2003. The study looks at how over 1,500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and insects have responded to a warming climate over the past 40 years.

read more

NASA Reports Third Warmest June-August on Record Globally as Dramatic Videos are Released Showing Consequences for Walruses

NASA Reports Third Warmest June-August on Record Globally as Dramatic Videos are Released Showing Consequences for Walruses:

NASA has just released global temperature data for June-August 2011, showing that it was the third warmest June-August on record, with the largest temperature departures from normal concentrated at the poles. In the Arctic, where sea surface temperatures in some areas reached record levels in August, sea ice declined to record or near-record levels. The U.S. Geological Survey and videographer Dan Zatz released today (13 September 2011) dramatic videos of walruses hauled-out along the Alaska shoreline of the Chukchi Sea -- leaving little doubt of the epic proportions of the disruption being felt in the region as it rapidly warms.

read more

Number of Walruses Hauled Out near Point Lay, Alaska, Swells to over 20,000

Number of Walruses Hauled Out near Point Lay, Alaska, Swells to over 20,000:

Just weeks before Arctic sea ice extent reaches a record or near-record annual low, observers estimate that over 20,000 walruses have hauled-out near Point Lay, Alaska. The aerial observers also have spotted dead walruses on their flights over the Chukchi Sea.

read more

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Can We Learn From Policies That Spurred The Industrial Revolution?

What Can We Learn From Policies That Spurred The Industrial Revolution?:

england coal(Rick Bookstaber is a senior policy adviser at the SEC. This guest post represents personal opinion from his blog.)

Some of the dominant policy issues of today – immigration, energy, the emergence of China – have their analogues in the great Industrial Revolution.

The key government policies that laid the foundation for the Industrial Revolution in England include supporting the immigration of skilled workers, allowing for private ownership of farm land, weakening the unions of the day (the guilds), and addressing the energy crisis (in charcoal). And contrary policies in Italy and Spain – countries that were far wealthier and advanced than was per-Industrial Revolution England – derailed a similar revolution from occurring in continental Europe.

England would not have been anyone's first bet as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. When compared to the developed countries of the time, such as Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany, sixteenth century England was an also-ran, and had fewer than 4 million inhabitants, compared to 15 million in France, 11 million in Italy, and 7 million in Spain.

We all know the key innovations and developments that sparked the Industrial Revolution:

Textiles. For centuries preceding the Industrial Revolution England produced the best wool in Europe, and from the fourteenth century onward she moved more and more into the production of woolen cloth. Wool and woolen cloth represented the bulk of English exports. Four inventions mechanized textile manufacturing and ushered in the Industrial Revolution: the spinning-jenny, patented by Hargreaves in 1770; the water frame, invented by Arkwright in 1769; Crompton's mule introduced in 1779; and the self-acting mule, which was brought into use till Roberts improved it in 1825. The most famous invention of all, patented by Cartwright in 1785, was the power-loom. And add to these a critical one from America: the cotton gin.

Coal and Iron. Meanwhile, the iron industry had been equally revolutionized by the invention of smelting by pit-coal brought into use between 1740 and 1750, and by the application in 1788 of the steam-engine to blast furnaces. In the eight years which followed this later date, the amount of iron manufactured nearly doubled. Improvements were introduced in puddling, rolling, and other processes. The production of coal increased more than proportionately. The smelting of iron and the use of the steam-engine created fresh demand for coal, so capital and innovation extended to mining, leading to steam pumps, timber roof supports, and safety lamps.

The factory system. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was organized according to the "domestic system". Manufacturing was carried on in houses by a master working with a few journeymen and apprentices, usually in country villages. The implements of manufacture belonged to the master. The raw material—wool, linen, metal, or whatever —was the property of a town merchant or capitalist, who distributed it to the manufacturers in their houses in the villages, paying them for the product and then selling or exporting it. The power spinning machines were too large to be used in a house and required a powerplant of large scale. As a result, the Industrial Revolution led to an increase in the size of plants and a resulting concentration of labor and capital into centralized production centers. Shipbuilding, textile manufacture and the like required plants worth millions of pounds with hundreds of workers. Manufacturing thus moved from the traditional domestic or guild system to what became known as the factory system. The factory system brought with is capital-intensive production methods, power, and laborers into tightly run plants.

Less discussed are the government policies that provided the foundation and then nurtured these innovations:

Investing in infrastructure

The roads in England were in terrible condition at the start of the Industrial Revolution. It took a week or more for a coach to go from London to Edinburgh. Ruts were four feet deep, hardly a mile could be passed without seeing carts broken down.

Infrastructure projects, both by private turnpike companies and by public authorities, covered England with good roads. And even more important that the roads was the development of the infrastructure of the waterways. The first canal was completed in 1761, and within a few years a system of canals gave ready transportation for goods through all parts of the country. The investment in infrastructure, augmented by the introduction of steam engines for both rail and boats, was one of the most critical foundations for expansion of the Industrial Revolution, and indeed for the nineteenth century in general.

Opening immigration for skilled workers

Another policy that enhanced England’s position for industrialization was the influx of skilled immigrant. Persecution in France and Spain and economic difficulties in Spain and elsewhere drove people to more hospitable countries, with England at the top of the list. This immigration was not merely an infusion of labor, but of skilled labor that brought with it new methods of production: Flemish cloth; Walloon weavers, thread-makers and iron smiths; French Huguenots silk-weavers; clocks and metal goods from Normandy and Brittany; Spanish needles; Venetian glass; fine milled paper from Germany.

Not surprisingly, the immigrants were frequently harassed by English craftsmen, who saw in them as potentially dangerous competitors. But the Crown had policies to protect them, and ultimately the English craftsmen learned their techniques and often went on to improve them.

Weakening the guilds

The influx of immigrants could only benefit England to the extent they were allowed to ply their trades. The English government put policies in place that assured this. In England the government – through the action of the Crown – did not permit restrictive practices of the crafts guilds In the cities, guilds also weakened because of the domination of the mercantile class, which controlled the market and the raw material of the craftsmen. Many immigrants did not stay in the cities, because once in the countryside the power of the guilds was dampened further.

In contrast to England, where manufacturing escaped from the controls of the city guilds, thereby allowing skilled immigrant, in Italy the guilds remained dominant, thwarting the few attempts to introduce innovations. Manufacturing remained stagnant in Italy, entrenched in the past. The result was a gradual replacement of Italian goods and services by foreign ones because the English – along with the Dutch and the French – could offer lower prices due to their innovations in production. Italian products were of a higher quality, but Italian manufacturers were constrained by guild regulations to use less efficient, traditional methods. The English and the Dutch swamped the textile market. Their products were inferior, lighter and less durable than the Italian products, but they cost a good deal less.

And not only did Italy lag in efficiencies of production. The guilds led to higher labor costs. Competition lowered wages outside Italy; while within Italy the guild organization kept wages up. Everything points to the fact that, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Italian wages were out of step with wages in other countries. As a result there was a marked decline in Italian exports along with reduced investment in manufacturing and shipping.

Establishing private agricultural land

Traditionally the agricultural land in England was largely held in commons. Towards the late 1600's the government enacted laws that permitted enclosures, effectively privatizing land. Enclosing agricultural lands provided a scale of production and a level of control by the owners that led the to radically improved the efficiency of agricultural production. Rotation of crops, better fertilizers, drainage, breeding of better livestock (by one contemporary estimate, between the early and late 1700s black cattle increased from 370 pounds to 800 pounds, and sheep from 28 pounds to 80 pounds), were among the characteristics of the new farming, and these were practicable only to those who had some capital, knowledge, and enterprise – all of which came more naturally to larger tracts of land under private ownership.

These improvements led to a cascade of further consolidation because those who continued to work the small farms could not compete and so sold them to neighboring landowners who had already created a production edge through earlier consolidation.

As with most of the other policies, enclosures came with its social costs. A popular piece of doggerel declared that:

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common;
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

Nonetheless, the resulting agricultural revolution played a large part in the industrial revolution.Not only in terms of the production of food to fuel the labor, but in the flow of farmers into the industrial sector.

Overcoming the energy crisis by forcing a move to new energy sources

The Industrial Revolution can be viewed as the control and redirection of energy toward production. But early on this was stymied because of deforestation and the resulting shortage of the primary fuel of the time: charcoal. To give an idea of the shortage, as early as the 1500's and into the 1600's the price of oak (primarily used in shipbuilding) rose twelve-fold, and the price of timber for charcoal increased five-fold.

In the sixteenth century England ordered a governmental inquiry into timber wastage and deforestation and then instituted a number of Acts of Parliament to suppress the cutting of timber for industrial purposes.

As a result, foundries were forced to reduce their activities and England began to use coal for heating and in industrial processes. People were wary of the toxic fumes, but had no alternative. The transport of coal by sea from Newcastle to London increased from 35,000 is 1550 to 560,000 tons a century late. By 1738 a French traveler wrote that coal was "the soul of all English Industries."  As it turned out, this energy crisis, by forcing a move toward coal (and helped in that regard by the fact that England was relatively sparsely populated by forests in the first place butr abundant in coal), ended up helping to push England down the road towards industrialization.

Bringing in capital

Capital had not existed in any large amounts in medieval England, and even in the later centuries there was no group that focused on investing capital into industry. Agriculture and manufacturing were carried on with very small capital and usually with the capital each farmer, artisan, or merchant might have of his own. There was no use of credit either from individuals or from banks for industrial development.

But capital was required to buy the new machinery at the heart of the industrial age. These machines were far too expensive for the old cottage weavers. Capital therefore had to be brought into manufacturing. This capital came from various directions.

Capital from Privateering

Privateering, also known as commerce-raiding, was basically government-sanctioned piracy. Strange as it may seem, with the development of England's seafaring capability and the flow of precious cargo from the Americas, privateering became an important source of capital accumulation in England. Indeed, in the three years following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, over two hundred English ships were involved in privateering, and over three hundred foreign ships were captured.

Capital from Spain

Meanwhile, Spain, which had an early lead on capital because of the influx of American treasure, enjoyed a period of splendor and economic superiority but lacked the human capital due to a cultural antipathy, even prejudice toward productive labor, to put that capital to good use.

So Spanish merchants turned to foreign producers and provided their capital to the foreign enterprises. A Venetian ambassador remarked, "Spain cannot exist unless relieved by others, nor can the rest of the world exist without the money of Spain."

The capital from the Americas thus provided Spain with purchasing power but ultimately stimulated the development of Holland, England, France, and other European countries.This prosperity, easily funded but inevitably of limited duration, led many to abandon farming and to regard craft and mercantile activities as menial occupations. Instead resources poured into the academies, whose product occupied the clergy and the increasingly bloated government bureaucracy rather than productive industry – and disguised structural unemployment as well.

In 1675 Alfonso Nuñez de Castro wrote:
Let London manufacture those fabrics of hers to her heart's content; Holland her chambrays; Florence her cloth; the Indies their beaver and vicuna; Milan her brocades; Italy and Flanders their linens, so long as our capital can enjoy them; the only thing it proves is that all nations train journeymen for Madrid and that Madrid is the queen of Parliaments, for all the world serves her and she serves nobody.

In short, seventeenth century Spain lacked entrepreneurs and artisans but had an overabundance of bureaucrats, lawyers. As England was building the foundation for the industrial revolution, easy-come-easy-go Spain provided capital even as it sank into decline.

Capital from rescinding primogeniture

The economic way of life in medieval England was framed by two economic realities: Virtually all wealth was in the form of land, and the land could not be sold. Wealth was held in land even up to the seventeenth century it was the universal outlet for savings in England-primarily because there were not many alternative investments.

As late as the sixteenth century, more than 80 percent of production was based on agriculture. What limited industry there was bore little resemblance to the Industrial Age that would follow centuries later. Some towns had specialized industry-brewing, salt making, iron working, paper mills-but this was still not characteristic of the economy as a whole. And because land was the preponderant store of wealth, it was also the source of social stature and political power.

A large landed estate gave its owner great local influence in controlling elections and sharing in patronage and opened the door for him to join the gentry.  As early as the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, land could not be sold or even used as collateral for a loan because feudal lords exchanged it for a knight's military service. A knight could no more transfer his land than he could pass on his military obligation. This this limitation on the right to transfer land carried the weight of law because of another import into England: primogeniture.

Landholders had a right to their land only for the course of their lives, after which the deed was transferred according to the rules of primogeniture, which meant it generally passed to the oldest son. The cost of having capital be literally land-locked capital became increasingly apparent on a practical level as new avenues for wealth and investment opened up. The development of overseas commerce and the increasing involvement of leading merchants in the lucrative business of lending money to the government expanded investment opportunities.

Finally, there were prospects for building fortunes apart from land ownership. The landed gentry had an incentive to extract the wealth from their land to pursue other opportunities, so various artifices were used to circumvent primogeniture.`

The new-found liquidity in the land progressed during the Tudor and early Stuart reigns, resulting in the rapid growth and independence of the English gentry and their servants. Now that land could be used as collateral, it opened up new possibilities for borrowing and lending. An embryonic capital market developed in London, and by the seventeenth century in other cites as well. The end of primogeniture thus helped allow capital to find its way into financing the emerging opportunities of the Industrial Revolution.

Breaking down class barriers for artisans and engineers

In the Middle Ages, science and technology were separate and distinct. Science was philosophy; technology was craft. Science had no interest in technological affairs, and technological developments were the fruits of uneducated artisans. For example, physicians viewed themselves as scientists and philosophers, and so had nothing to do with the surgeons, who were considered technicians and simple artisans.

But developments in ocean navigation, in the watch and clock industry, and in experimental science required increasing numbers of precision instruments which in turn led to a new, superior sort of technician who could interact with the scientists, with both the technician and the scientist engaged in similar problems. It required an elevation in the status of the artisans, engineers and skilled workers, and a partnership between these occupations and the more elite and lettered of science and philosophy. This interaction between the philosopher-scientist and the artisan was promoted by so august a body as The Royal Society of London, which charged some of its members with compiling a history of artisan trades and techniques.

This new attitude, an attitude toward science that placed pragmatism before idealism, that applied mathematics to explaining the real world, and that introduced experimentation and empiricism (along with statistical methods – the experimenters of the seventeenth century endlessly recorded, cataloged, and counted) as an integral part of the scientific process, underlies the inventions of the Industrial Revolution.

The willingness to have science deal with the practical rather than the philosophical, to solve the concrete problems of production, and to team up with the skilled artisans – a partnership across class lines that was unique to England -- was critical for the technological developments behind the Industrial Revolution.

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What Is More Powerful For Traffic: Twitter, Facebook Or Google+? [DATA]

What Is More Powerful For Traffic: Twitter, Facebook Or Google+? [DATA]:

Who ever thought that the 3 titans in Social Networking are stale and can’t adopt fast must have been quite surprised. Facebook continues to roll out changes rapidly and in such a disruptive manner any startup can learn from. Twitter, very similarly continues to innovate at a fast pace.

With Google + recent roll out of their API, they made sure to keep the ball rolling and keep us on the edge of our seats. But how does it all work out for your traffic? The most important question that we as users, marketers, small business or else would like to have answered is:

Which Networks Should You Post To, To Get The Most Out Of Your Time Spent?Buffer this

Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg, conducted a very interesting experiment recently. He posted the same message to Twitter, Facebook and Google+. This is interesting for many reasons. He has a huge following on all 3 networks, which means that a statistical analysis makes absolute sense I believe.

Kevin has:

  • 1.2 Million Followers on Twitter

  • 225,000 subscribers on Facebook

  • 129,000 followers on Google+


In The Short Run Facebook And Twitter Win, Google+ LosesBuffer this

About one hour after Kevin posted the link that he was testing, the results were the following:

So in a list again:

  • Twitter: 2,053 clicks (1.2M followers)

  • Facbook: 2,203 clicks (220K subscribers)

  • Google+: 350 clicks (129K followers)

This is interesting for many reasons. Both Facebook and Twitter drive enormous traffic for Kevin. Google+, whilst still driving great traffic leaps behind substantially, at least in the short run.

Also, Twitter proves its power of spreading fast and in a very short space of time. What surprises me a little here is that Facebook too had such strong engagement even after the first hour.

Get 200% more clicks on Tweets

By Buffering Tweets, they are posted at optimal times giving you 2x more exposure.


Comparing Results For Clicks On Twitter, Facebook and Google+ In The Long Run Buffer this

Then, about 17 hours later Kevin took another look to see how clicks have changed over time. Here are the updated stats:

Now, obviously the most interesting fact is that Google+ comes back strong and reaches a solid 2,500 clicks. It also shows that the life of a Tweet is a lot longer than I had expected.

Facebook ends up coming out on top with a staggering 8000 clicks. It clearly shows that Facebook has done something right with the new subscription system.



Is A Comparison Of Facebook Fan/Twitter Follower Per Click Appropriate? Buffer this

One comment from Kevin I found very interesting. He mentioned that Facebook gives him by far the best follower to click ratio. What I like to ponder here is whether the dynamics of a follower versus a fan/subscriber are the same.

With the analysis of Kevin’s post, he received this ration of click per person on all the people following him on Social Networks:

  • Twitter is 0.171%

  • Facebook is 1.001%

  • G+ is 0.271%

Now, this stresses his personal findings even further. Also, given that the new Facebook features have only been around for a few days and Google+ only for a few months we could say this will only get more.

Evidently, the dynamics of the various Social Networks are very different. And they are changing very fast too. Yet, here is one thought that would suggest a completely different conclusion of all of Kevin’s findings:


Twitter Sends More Traffic Than Facebook And Google+ Combined Buffer this

There I said it. Yes, indeed, I propose that given Kevin Rose’s analysis, this could and should be seen as his actual results. It is Twitter which drives the most absolute traffic, not Facebook or Google+. Why? The answer is very simple. The posting frequency is very different between the two networks. Twitter is a lot more agile here and you can post a lot more often.

On Facebook, Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist has found that optimal posting frequency is 0.5 updates per day. On Twitter, it isn’t. The optimal frequency for Twitter is 1-4 times per hour. Now say that Kevin would be very conservative and only post 10 times per day. This would be his actual results after one day:

Facebook: 4000 Clicks

Twitter: 50,000 Clicks

Now, how is that? The dynamics of Twitter are such that you can easily Tweet this many times and still see tremendous results. Using the power of Twitter more actively would give Kevin a huge return in overall traffic.


How To Make Twitter Your Most Powerful Social Network Buffer this

So having presented this, I believe Kevin could easily turn Twitter into his most powerful social network by far.

If Kevin were to have a routine of continually posting 10 great content Tweets with links every day, he would harness the 5,000 clicks per Tweet tenfold.

Without aiming to tell Kevin in any way how he should handle his Twitter account, I believe a routine of a fixed output of 10 daily Tweets with links would even increase clicks over time on each of them. One account that uses Twitter to its fullest power for this is @TweetSmarter. Dave Larson posts dozens of well researched and relevant Tweets each day and receives hundreds of clicks on each of them.

This doesn’t need to take long and can be done by just spending a few minutes each day.


This is the exact technique we are using for the Buffer Twitter account. Every day, we are posting 10 great Tweets and get now an average of 50-100 clicks per Tweet. This means about 500-1000 clicks per day at about 25,000 followers.

Over to you now. Do you think Kevin could actually make Twitter a lot more powerful than now? Could you also make Twitter more powerful with a different Twitter routine for yourself?


Keeping you Updated on the Score

Keeping you Updated on the Score:


Here at Klout, we process terabytes of data every day to help you understand and leverage your influence. We have our own internal metrics to verify that every network is being processed correctly and scoring runs smoothly. We know that processing this data correctly is part of what makes people trust Klout.

This weekend we experienced a bug with our pipeline for processing data for LinkedIn, and this resulted in a score drop for about 0.001% of our scored population which lasted approximately eight hours on Sunday. We know that even though the number of affected users isn’t large, it’s a big deal to anyone who is relying on the score and we take it very seriously.

We’re working to ensure we keep you, our users, updated about any issues we experience and work to resolve them quickly. We’ve setup a dedicated @KloutStatus twitter account, so you can follow the updates as they happen

We’re always working to improve our processes and we have big improvements coming very soon. If you think you can help, we’re hiring.

Finding Your Passion - But How?

Finding Your Passion - But How?:
I've done pretty well over the years I've been doing this. But my drive was always making money. Now that I'm pretty comfortable, I want to do something I'm super passionate about and something I'll love. Ironically I think this will result in even more money, but that's not 100% of my focus - I want to do something I love.

The weird thing is I really don't know what I'm passionate about. I've been doing this for as long as I can remember, I've tried many ways at making money online and ended up in the e-commerce business to make my money.

So I'm curious on your thoughts about passion, doing what you love, how to find it, etc

:stop: PS: If your going to post something negative or stupid, don't bother, let's keep it positive.

Member of the Day: cursiveart

Member of the Day: cursiveart:
Cursive Art started as original paintings (which I still do from time to time) but became mostly a card shop when I wanted to find a way to get my art out there in a way that was affordable and useful and stuck to my unique style of clean lines and simple colors. ~ cursiveart

Member of the Day: cursiveart - Handmade Spark

Member of the Day: cursiveart - Handmade Spark

Member of the Day: cursiveart - Handmade Spark

A Quality Score Rant Plus 3 Suggestions For The Engines To Improve It

A Quality Score Rant Plus 3 Suggestions For The Engines To Improve It: Far too much has been written about Quality Score already and I’m loathe to add to the pile, but I have some ideas that might help us all. The exact recipes for Quality Score on Google and Bing are unknown, and it is that uncertainty that creates so much room for mischief and blather....

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How To Create Content That Engages Your Audience

How To Create Content That Engages Your Audience:

More Engagement – Better Rankings

There are a whole list of benefits for creating content that engages your audience. You build relationships through interacting. Your links are shared more often through social media. People comment on your blog posts. Your follow-base will stay on your site longer. And above all, Google will start to rank you higher in the search engines; allowing you to expand to a larger audience. These are the most important, I feel. But what needs to take place for this to happen? I’m going to share with you a few tips that I find quite helpful!

Content Is King

Remember, without good content – your site will never go anywhere. You must start to develop and post new and informative information. Writing articles that answer questions and solve problems are key to your success. If you have solved someones problem or answered their exact question; chances are they will not only come back, but tell others about your site.

Good Titles Are Crucial!

Writing compelling titles are more crucial than you may think. Remember, these are the very first words a reader reads when visiting your latest post – if the headline isn’t enticing, they will just click the ‘back’ button in their browser and leave. It is also what a person reads when your link is floating around on social media -  your title should be designed to get a reader to click the link; if you fail to do this, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic!

Easy To Comment And Share

We are now living in a society where everybody wants everything right this moment – no waiting. If you want a better chance at readers sharing your link – you must make sharing simple. Install a Plugin on your blog that makes it easy. Shareaholic is one example; there are many others. Nobody wants to take the time to highlight, copy, and paste the URL to their social media page. Though this is simple, a reader many may avoid sharing just because it takes an extra 3 seconds. Get a Plugin and increase your odds.

Call To Action

If you really want someone to share your link – ask them! Most readers will not even think about sharing content unless you remind them. Hint at it or ask politely, but don’t demand it.

Build Relationships With Your Readers

This is the most crucial tip I can give you. Imagine going to a very well-known site and you happened to leave a comment. You were notified that someone left a comment on yours, through e-mail. You go back to the site to check the comment and it was the actual site that commented on your comment and they thanked you for doing so! Is that friendly or what? What are the odds that you will head back to that site in the near future just because of this reason alone? My guess is pretty good. Relationships are very effective. If you show your reader that you care – they will visit and participate more often!

In A Nutshell

The reality is, if you want to have a long-lasting site that is ranked high in the search engines and have a large follow-base; you are going to have to put a little bit of elbow grease in to it. Think of the sites that are not doing this – if you want to stand out from your competition in your niche market, you will need to work a little harder and smarter. Food for thought. Hope this helps!

Brock is the current CEO of Worldline Marketing and owner of How to Sponsor. The company focuses on assisting average people earn a healthy income working from home. He enjoys traveling, hiking, and meeting new people.

Google Analytics Webinar: Getting started with Multi-Channel Funnels

Google Analytics Webinar: Getting started with Multi-Channel Funnels:
A few weeks ago we launched Multi-Channel Funnels, a powerful tool to help you understand all the online interactions that lead your users to conversion. With five insightful reports, you can now measure the full conversion path, from first interaction to last click. More important, Multi-Channel Funnels provides actionable analysis about how your marketing channels work together, and answers key questions such as:
  • How much time does the average user take between first interaction and conversion?

  • How many interactions does it take to convert?

  • Which of my marketing channels are “assisting” conversions and which are “closers”?

To help you get the most out of this tool, we’ve scheduled a webinar to walk through the new reports and go over common uses with Bill Kee, the Product Manager for Multi-Channel Funnels.

Title: Getting started with Multi-Channel Funnels
Date: October 11, 2011
Time: 10am PST

Have questions about Multi-Channel Funnels? Send them to us ahead of the webinar so we can make sure to answer them. You can also vote for the questions you want to see answered most. You can submit your questions on our Google Moderator page.

If you can't attend the webinar, please check the Google Analytics YouTube Channel for a recording about a week after the live event. You can also read more from the initial announcement of Multi-Channel Funnels and watch a video about the tool.

We hope that you will be able to participate!

Posted by Sara Jablon Moked, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics team

Google Sandbox – How we scrambled out

Google Sandbox – How we scrambled out:



Recently we had one of our clients experience what some online professionals call, the Google Sandbox effect. Over the course of almost a month we researched our problem, and the problems of others online, to find out what it exactly was, and what, if anything, we could do about it.

What is the Sandbox Effect?

First there is a lot of debate as to if it exists at all. However we can clearly show, with one of our domains at least, that there was an instance of this phenomenon occurring. A website, with a new domain, in a highly competitive niche, first experienced relatively good rankings for a few weeks. Then, suddenly, the ranking dropped across the board to levels well below what would be expected. In the early stages not a single thing could be done about it. We focussed only on links from highly authoritative sources, but there was not a single movement in position for a few weeks. Matt Cutts has already said something cryptic on the matter;

Q: Does the sandbox exist? A: Matt said here comes the audience part? How many feel there is a sandbox? How many feel there is no such thing as a sandbox? SEOs normally split down the line. There are some things in the algorithm that may be perceived as a sandbox that doesn’t apply to all industries. He knows it works to keep some spam out.

Basically, from what we can tell, if you are in a very competitive industry, you will find some keywords are have built in mechanisms to stop a range of spam. These mechanisms kick in to stop “over optimised” sites from showing up in the early stages.

How long does it last?

In our experience, this only lasted about 3 weeks. Some people have claimed it can last months, but we guess this would happen with spammy sites, or sites that don’t have much content and are struggling with good quality links. The thing you have to remember with Google is that there are less than a handful of instances where a website has been singled out for punishment, or reprieve. If you are in the sandbox, normal SEO and website behaviour will get you out.

How did we get out?

Three key things to getting out;

  1. Time. If you are being blacklisted by Google, then time is the only thing you can rely on. If your content is good, and gets organic links, Google will not keep you in the dungeon for long.
  2. Organic Links. Normal linking behaviour from sites that have good quality signals are what it is all about. If you can get links that look natural, or maybe even actually are, then it is hard for any algorithm to keep punishing you.
  3. Good content. In this instance I am not even talking about a blog entry or two. Good content just means original information that Google can see is worth reading. Make your pages make sense to humans and you will be fine.

Related posts:

  1. The Fallout from Google Panda – Not Permanent
  2. What is Google Panda? (AKA Farmer Update)
  3. The Panda Fallout – Has Google Missed The Mark?

Banned By Google – The Many Possible Transgressions

Banned By Google – The Many Possible Transgressions:

There are many ways you can be punished by Google. The punishment usually involves your website being removed from the world’s largest Search Engine. Here are a list of ways that Google has found to punish sites either specifically or generally across the board. If your website is completely banned, you can submit your site for reconsideration, if you have addressed the problem.

  1. Not protecting yourself, or your website. If your website is hacked, and you find yourself at the wrong end of a Malware attack, Google will show little sympathy.
  2. Use hidden text or hidden links. It used to be fun in the old days to use white text on a white background. Or to use the CSS tag “Display:none”. But now it is an explicit no-no.
  3. Use cloaking or sneaky redirects. 301 redirects are generally the most widely accepted methods, because it is clear what you are doing to the browser. Using anything that sends users to one page, and search engines to another is a massive rule breaker.
  4. Send automated unauthorised queries to Google. You could easily fall foul of this if you set up a system to check the ranking of a website on Google, without protection against massive traffic using the system. Google Apps have an API you can use to do just this without actually affecting your IP address.
  5. Load pages with irrelevant keywords. This is sometimes called over optimisation, and can result in your website being punished. It basically falls under the banner of quality content.
  6. Create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content. Some systems allow you to create pages automatically based on certain search queries. If your WordPress website has a particular type of search bar, then it will do this. You have to be careful that the pages are marked correctly, and that there is enough content there to show the search robot, and the reader, that the page is either content or search information.
  7. Create duplicate content. If you have an automated content scraper, or you allow other authors onto your site, you may come across this. At the moment I have never seen this affect entire sites completely, but if you don’t have enough original content generally, then your domain quality signal could be reduced.
  8. Create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware. Again, you may do this by accident or even for fun. If you spoof the Google log in page (or any other page like a bank etc), even as a joke, if people could be confused, you are breaking the rules.
  9. Create affiliate programs with little or no original content. Affiliate programs are a popular way to sell products on the web. However you have to make sure that you are not copying the information across from the vendors website without adding any other information. You could add your own spin on why you are endorsing the product. You could build unique testimonials from other users.
  10. Dont add value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.
  11. Use words that are from a known ban list. Be careful when using words like “Joints” or “Sex” in the description of your business. Your whole website could be affected by being slapped with an “adult content” tag, or could be removed from Google Places.
  12. Overuse Adwords or other advertising. Google pushes its own platform, but only wants it to be used on quality sites. In the last Panda update, Google specifically singled out sites that have used Adwords heavily on their sites to drive revenue. In our post on the subject, the main question you should be asking yourself would be “Would you trust the information on this site?”.
  13. Link to bad places. If you are linking to site that can cause someone to download malicious content, or that might be seen as a site that breaks one of Google’s rules, then you can suffer too.
  14. Link out to too many irrelevant websites. This is known as a link farm, and is seen as offering no value.
  15. Try to manipulate your Page Rank. Even though PR is relatively meaningless, if you use “nofollow” “noindex”, and other particular internal linking methods in a way to manipulate your PR, then you could fall foul of this rule.
  16. Sell links. You can charge an admin fee for setting up a directory, but you cannot blanket sell links back to a website.
  17. Offer financial incentives for people to link to you. There was a recent story of a University Book store that offered a discount to people who provided a link to their site. Their website was quickly banned across all keywords. This was one of the few times one website was particularly targeted in this way.
  18. Don’t create systems that can manipulate outbound links in any way. If you give away a free services, such as templates or plugins that link back to you, don’t use those links to manipulate the system

Related posts:

  1. What is a link farm?
  2. Sitemaps And SEO – Do Sitemaps Help Your Google PageRank?
  3. Google sets sights on boring sites

Chat Info

Chat Info:
Mark your calenders! All four of us Royal House of Shadows authors (Gena Showalter, Jessica Andersen, Jill Monroe & me) will be chatting in The Knight Agency chatroom this Thursday. Details:

WHAT: Chat with Royal House of Shadows authors.
*WHEN: Thursday September 29th, 9PM ET
WHERE: The Knight Agency Chat Room
HOW TO CHAT: Enter any combination of user name and password. Login. Your computer must be Java enabled to chat!

*New Zealand time: Friday 30th Sep, 2pm
Berlin time: Friday 30th Sep, 3am (sorry!)
Bangkok time: Friday 30th Sep, 8am

If you'd like to work out the time of the chat in your timezone, check out the World Clock Meeting Planner.

Giveaway – HEART OF STEEL Advance Copies (and more)

Giveaway – HEART OF STEEL Advance Copies (and more):
Please note: If you are reading this somewhere other than Meljean's official blog, please go there to enter. Comments at other sites will not be counted as entries.

heart of steel coverIt's that time again! I have four (4) ARCs of HEART OF STEEL to give away on this blog. No hoops to jump through — you just have to comment before midnight on Sunday, September 25th to enter. But! there is a small catch.

These are advance review copies, and I'd really love it if they were used as such. So if you win one, please review it somewhere by the week of November 1st: on your blog, on an online bookseller's site, Goodreads or Library Thing, wherever. I'm not asking for positive reviews, or even detailed reviews — just reviews. If you don't think you can read it by November, please pass on these advance copies; I intend to give away several final copies when the book is released, so you can try again, then. (If you want to be reminded of the release, you can sign up for the Postcard Mailing List or the Email Newsletter.)

heart of steel

About the ARCs: these are the yellow-covered bound copies, and are copy-edited, but they haven't gone through that final proofreading pass. That means that there are more errors than in a final version, and that some dialogue, sentences, and descriptions are different than will be in the final version. There are no substantial differences in plot, characters, or any of the scenes. If you have any questions while reading, I'll be more than happy to answer and/or send you the corrected passage, if applicable.

About HEART OF STEEL: This is the second full-length novel in my steampunk romance series, The Iron Seas. To read a description and an excerpt, go here. To learn more about steampunk, click here, and you can read about the alternate history of the Iron Seas world here.

After you enter here, don't forget that there is also a five-copy ARC giveaway at Goodreads (currently still pending — it should be up later today!), and if you are a member of the author-editor chat group at Goodreads, you can also enter to win one of two Heart of Steel ARCs, one of two Angels of Darkness copies, or one of five sets of the complete Guardian novel backlist.
So, the rules: Comment by 11:59:59 PM Pacific time on 9/25/2011 for your chance to win. Four winners will be selected randomly using, and their names posted on this blog 9/26/2011. Winners must provide Meljean with their mailing address by October 5, 2011 or the winner will be re-drawn! Only one entry per ISP address. The contest is open to international readers. No purchase necessary to enter, but a good faith effort to review the book by the release date is deeply appreciated. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited.

posted by Meljean Brook on September, 26

The Most Widespread Ways To Get Web Traffic

The Most Widespread Ways To Get Web Traffic:

tt twitter big4 The Most Widespread Ways To Get Web Traffic

In fact, there are many different ways how you can actually get traffic online. But in this article we will certainly explore only some of the most widespread ways to get web traffic. And thus you can get this kind of traffic through paid advertising which is clearly known as pay-per-click advertising. Besides, when you actually have PPC advertising, you definitely pay money each time when some persons really click on your ad.

Of course, Google certainly has the most widespread paid advertising program. However, there are some other web sites which offer paid advertising. Well, besides PPC advertising, there are some other ways, for example such as CPI advertising. And with this type of advertising, you definitely pay for the cost per thousand impressions of the ad.

For sure, this is commonly reserved for larger advertisers, thus many various small businesses actually advertise their products and services through pay-per-click. Moreover, there is another way to really get traffic to your web site: through free traffic. And thus when doing a Google search, the white section of search results is free traffic. But it is also known as organic traffic.

In fact, Google certainly decides which pages exactly must appear in the search results based on some complicated Google formulas. In addition, many individuals obviously have no idea how particularly Google decides which results must appear. Well, for many different sites, it is quite essential to get as high in the search results as only possible.

However, a big part of all the searches for any special keyword will definitely come in the first three spots of Google. And finally, getting into those three spots of the search results is very important to the success of your business. Of course, this way you can really get free traffic from the major search engines without paying for it. You should remember this!

Small wonder that every site requires website traffic today as it directly influences one’s online business. There exist many ways to attract traffic and one can take advantage of free traffic which can be driven from this free traffic site.

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