My Review of Google’s New “Search By Image” Feature

For best viewing, full screen the video.


My Review Of Firefox 4.0


CORRECTION: Chrome’s “Home” icon is located on the left side. Not the right like I said in this video.

Oh and it looks like CK Chung comes to the rescue!


Dear SEOs, Please Shut Up

Ok, so this post will probably make me the odd man out. But honestly I am having a hard time staying quiet any longer.

I have noticed a recent trend with in the SEO community to push Google to take action in several areas that I believe have an adverse effect on SEO. In many cases I see very well respected SEOs pushing Google to in effect make their jobs (and everyone else’s) harder. Here are two examples:

Exact Match Domains So you are upset that some domain that has exact match, ranks higher than you. I get that. What I don’t get is pushing Google to do something about it. Buying exact match domains has to be one of the best ways to aggressively take over a niche. But guess what? If you keep complaining about it, they will do something about it! So shut up already and buy your own!

Content Farms This one completely boggles my mind. Content farms exist because they are highly lucrative. I know that you are tired of seeing them out rank you at every turn. But how about instead of complaining publicly about it, you build your own! I am not saying that you need to spam the results with low quality content. But you can learn a lot about content development, content monetization, and syndication by mimicking content farms. And the greatest thing is that they are cheap to get started, and maintain. Google will even help you monetize them!

There are a whole host of other things SEOs complain publicly about that I wish they would just shut up about. I understand the desire to hold Google to a higher standard, and make sure they deliver on what they promise. But why do that at the expense of making your job/income harder to achieve?? Just shut up already!


Does Google Sell Ads To Other Search Engine SERPs?

Today I did a Google query for “equal housing logo requirements” and a funny looking ad caught my eye.

As you can see from the screen shot, Ask.com is buying ad space for the term “equal housing logo requirements”. When I saw this I thought, I wonder if Ask is getting into the real estate design business. But, I was curious, so I clicked the ad and found that it points to an Ask.com SERP.

Sure, I have seen ads in Google to other search engines, but never to another SERP. Google has always had a long standing policy about including other SERP’s in their organic listings, even if Ask.com has found a way around that as well. So is this something new? Or is Ask.com’s dieing effort to stay relevant?


I Love NameSake.com But, Probably Won’t Use it Much.

namesake

 

The amazing Tony Adam sent me an invite to the private beta of NameSake.com last night, and I will admit, I was planning on being disappointed. Maybe it was my recent troubles with Quora that made me skeptical, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting much.

Boy was I wrong.

NameSake.com is a beautifully crafted social networking site that from the beginning has a warm almost cozy like community going on. Shortly after I got my account active, founder and product development lead, Brian Norgard, welcomed me to the community and even gave me some personalized tips on how to better communicate with other users. Instantly I met other users and engaged them in almost real time conversation.

The UI is probably one of the best aspects of this network, its clean and free of obstacles. As a result it creates a space that is both easy to use and a pleasure to engage in. In an industry that is hell bent on widgets, pokes, and other obnoxious features, NameSake.com is free of all that and strives to create a stress free space to engage, and for that I love it.

However, I do see one tiny problem with the service. I don’t have a reason to use it. Don’t get me wrong, I can see why many folks would use this everyday. But, for me I don’t see getting the same value from it that I do Twitter. And because I am becoming insanely more busy, its highly unlikely I am going to be able to appropriate more time away from things that provide real value.

My three wishes for NameSake.com:

  • A sizable amount of my clients start using it, so I can find value in using it too.
  • Other social media power houses take a page from NameSake.com’s play book and start building interfaces that are a joy to use.
  • All the good Karma that folks like Brian Norgard is spreading, pays off in the end. :)

When NameSake.com finally launches to the public, be sure to join and connect with me!


The Probability of Blogging Every Day

Probability theory is a branch of mathematics that attempts to understand random events and predicts them so they aren’t that random anymore. For example, some will use probability theory to guess lottery numbers, others will use it to guess flu outbreaks. Some will use it to increase their chances at a desired outcome.

They do this by identifying all of the random variables in a given environment and predicting the outcome based on their relationship to other variables such as size of the environment.

I think a lot about probability theory. In fact I use it to make most of my decisions. Yes, I am crazy like that. Sure, I often am able to throw caution at the wind and take risk. But, isn’t it better if those risk are calculated, first?

Being a good entrepreneur many times means just taking calculated risk. And, probability theory tells us, that the more risks you take the higher probability for success. Which is why there are so many “serial entrepreneurs” out there. They understand that the more risk they take, the more likely they will succeed.

The same goes for blogging. Here is a list of some of the desired outcome that I want from this blog.

  • More direct backlinks.
  • More Page Views.
  • Larger personal brand awareness.
  • More engagement.
  • More opportunities.

So how do I get all of those things? I take more risk. Or in other words, I blog more often. I used to believe that it was smarter to only blog when you have something really valuable to say. That way your best work stands out the most. But then I looked at some of my favorite bloggers and realized that they have everything that’s listed above because they take more risk.

Sure some of their post aren’t the best out there, but because they took the risk they are closer to being outstanding.

So, because of that, I have decided that I am going to start and take more risk with my blogging. For starters, I am going to try and blog here more often. In a perfect world I would blog everyday, but I don’t think my duties with the company I run will allow for that. But, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Remember a few days ago I mentioned that to be productive you need to work your “get things done” items into your “work flow”. Well blogging is no exception. To help me blog more I am now using BlogDesk. BlogDesk is a desktop application for Windows users that allows you to tie in all your blogs and write and post all from one application. Its great because I don’t have to login to my blog to write, I just click the icon in my task menu and start writing and it automatically publishes when I am ready. I have tied all my blogs into it and its been working great. Oh and its free, so that’s cool too!

Next time you are faced with taking a risk, don’t shy away from it. Instead use probability theory to calculate the risk, and go for it. Because risk taking is the path to success.

[photo credit]


Why Quora Is A Dead Man Walking

Let me begin by saying that I have only used Quora briefly. Mostly because I don’t see the value. I understand the concept of crowd sourcing. But crowd sourcing only works if you have a large diverse crowd to draw from. That’s the underlying premise, pull the best answers from a large diverse group of opinions and ideas. Compared to other question and answer sites, Quora isn’t large or diverse.

I have only posted one question and that will probably be my last. Here’s why: Earlier today I posted: “Is Quora an appropriate place to ask silly questions for comedic value?” I then posted it to Twitter and one of my twitter followers responded. Then a few minutes later I get a status message that says someone has redirected my question to “Is Quora only for ‘serious’ questions?” At first I was thinking, Well that’s cool they are trying to help by pointing out an already existing thread.

But then I realized that no, they are actually 301ing my original question thread! Meaning that if you go to my original question you will now be redirected to another user’s question instead.

So here we have a site that completely thrives off of user submitted content and they think its OK to highjack that content whenever they want.

I know what many of you are thinking, But, Joe, its the same question. They are trying to help. I don’t care if its the same question. Its not the question that I even care about, its the answers. Just because someone else has posted the same question, doesn’t mean we are going to have the same dialog as well.

So why do I think this means the end of Quora? Because, users don’t like to have their conversations high jacked, and Quora killing their own content mill.

Can you imagine a moderator at Twitter redirecting similar tweets from different users, completely derailing their user’s dialog? I was looking forward to continuing my dialog with my twitter follower that posted a question, but that conversation was cut short (or off rather).

If you ask any web entrepreneur what’s the biggest value in question and answer sites they will tell you, content generation. These types of sites churn out very high quality content that works very well in search engines. But, if your content is riddled with 301′s and redirects then you can kiss that value goodbye. I know what you are thinking, what about duplicate content? aren’t they doing the right thing cutting down on duplicate content? This isn’t duplicate content, because it would take nothing less than a miracle for similar questions to create identical answers and dialog!

Which is where the real value is to begin with! In the dialog! Which in my case no longer exist.


No New Years Resolutions For 2011

One of the things that I learned in 2010 was that to get things done, many times you have to work them into your “work flow”. For example, I started responding to support issues faster and more often after I piped them into Thunderbird. I just started using Evernote and I can already see a giant increase in productivity as a result of being able to enteract with all of my notes in a well organized system accross different platforms. Freshbooks competely transformed the way I invoice clients in 2010 and as a result I made a bunch more money because it integrates into my work flow well.

Read more »


While Tumblr Fails, Find Stability On Your Own Micro-Cloud!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, microblog, lifestream giant tumblr is down. And not just for a few hours, but at this point 18!! On the internet that’s a lifetime! The free service provides blogs to some top players in mainstream media and a few giants in social media. So you can see this is a serious issue!

One of the biggest advantages of utilizing the cloud is the ability to pretty much outsource the tech and management issues related with self hosting. But at the same time using the cloud leaves you vulnerable to companies that can and do experience massive outages. There has to be a middle ground.

There is! Using shared or grid based hosting services in conjunction with software like WordPress is the ideal solution. These “micro-clouds” allow for regular backups and complete control over your hosting environment. Which means that when you are hit with a outage or downtime, you can rebound much faster because you have direct access to the data you created and own.

If your company is using tumblr or a similar service, and you want to move to WordPress with a micro-cloud solution. Let us help you with that transition!


Digital Subjectivity, Explored

The image above is a screen shot of my Twitter. Yep, that’s right, I said “my” Twitter. You see no one else looks at Twitter the same way I do. No one else has the same follower/following formula. Sure many may have the same number of followers, but no one has the same followers and following. This is because no one else is @JoeHall. Social media is full of different humans (and robots) and each one of us experience it in a different way. Each one of us has a different social media reality. So, you have your own Twitter as well. Read more »


I’ll See You In 2011

I have some great news! 22 media is doing awesome. Since changing our name and adding a host different marketing services, we have acquired a handful of new clients and have seen growth in both traffic and conversions of several of our properties.

To put it simply, business is good.

And every entrepreneur knows that when business is good, you don’t take breaks. Because of that I’ve decided not to attend any more conferences in 2010. This includes the infamous Pubcon and my favorite BlueGlass Florida. As I write this I am already starting to regret this decision. After posting earlier in the year about my disability I was bombarded with a community of support. Much of that support came with promises of reconnecting in person at Pubcon or BlueGlass Florida. So you can see that this decision to sit the remainder of the year out, is incredibly hard for me. However I need to do whats best for my company so that I can make sure that 2011 is filled with action-packed fun.
Read more »


A Quick Review Of The New Twitter Interface

Well folks its finally here! We have the new Twitter.com and my initial reactions are good. Take a look at this video a let me hear your thoughts in the comments!


WordPress Easter Egg


Programmers are funny people. Really, they have a sense of humor if you look hard enough. The best proof of programming humor are Easter Eggs. No, I am not talking about dyed eggs that soon become egg salad. I am talking about hidden features or “events” that programmers purposely hide in their code for their own entertainment, and to the surprise of any user that finds them. Easter eggs have made popular appearances in more than just software, we sometimes see them in movies, art and literature.
Read more »


Introducing 22 Media LLC

It is my proud pleasure to present to you 22 Media LLC.  22 Media LLC is the new name of JOZSOFT, plus a bunch more exciting stuff! I will still be providing custom web programming and design, but we will also offer powerful marketing solutions for web startups and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Read more »


The Joe Hall Story

Hello there, my name is Joe Hall. I write a weekly column on a highly respected blog. My work has begun to gain more attention and momentum, and the company I founded a few years ago is building a strong brand with in its industry. I live an increasingly public life on-line, and I have a disability.

For the last several years I haven’t felt that my disability isn’t relevant to many of the things I do on the internet. Because of that I have tried to steer the dialog away from it. In short, I want folks to talk about me because of the code that I write, the brands that I build, and the stories that I tell. Not because of the 200 pounds of steel strapped to my ass.

Because of this I have been apprehensive about talking publicly about my disability in the last several years. Which quite honestly has been really hard and strange for me. You see, I used to do nothing but talk about my disability (more on that later). But now its time that I let the cat out of the bag and start talking honestly about my life with a disability. I hope by doing this I can share a different perspective on the things I do. Read more »


The Most Important Thing for New Entrepreneurs to Understand

What follows is a collaborative interview including some of the biggest minds in marketing online and off. I will admit that I am rather shocked at the folks that agreed to participate in this interview! But I am humbled and extremely gracious for their contribution. I hope to do more interviews like this one that includes other amazing people across the spectrum. Read more »