General Technology Articles to get you through the day.

Spam

Spam

Spam. Long gone are the days of this word simply referring to a food item; A canned meat product made mainly from ham.

Now Spam invades our privacy, offends, annoys, and seems to be almost unstoppable.

We find it in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), we find it as torrential rain in our email inboxes, we find it in our forums, we find it as personal messages and comments in our networking sites, and we find it as comments to our blog posts.

Today we find Spam everywhere, and it finds us.

What is Spam?

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.

Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services.

Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

What is Blog Comment Spam?

Spam in blogs (also called simply blog spam or comment spam is a form of spamdexing. (Note that blogspam has another, more common meaning, namely the post of a blogger who creates no-value-added posts to submit them to other sites.)

It is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services to blogs, wikis, guestbooks, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards.

Any web application that accepts and displays hyperlinks submitted by visitors may be a target.

Read more in Wikipedia’s "Spam in Blogs" article.

How to Spot Blog Comment Spam

As the administrator, webmaster, author, etc. of your site, your comment settings should definitely be set to require your approval before being published. You personally and manually need to decide if it should go up.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have some automated help via plug-ins, etc. to auto-detect (and delete) obvious spam comments; You Should!

However, some comments in your moderation queue may look a bit convincing. Here’s some tips to help identify common Comment Spam patterns (These are just a few – some use some or none; some use all):

  • First Name Only
    Spammers are vague.
  • All single-case
    All upper or lower case.
  • Comments are on Old Posts
    Usually at least 6 months old.
  • Short message
    The pattern use to be long messages, packed with links – but the pattern has changed.
  • Grammar & Spelling
    Most are not native English speakers, so you’ll see glaring mistakes.
  • Scraped Content
    These guys will often scrape content right off your blog and re-paste it as part of their comment!
  • Nonsense
    The "comment" usually makes little to no sense whatsoever.
  • Titles
    Commonly they’ll use the title of your blog post, site, article, etc. within the comment, like "I always Spotting SPAM Comments in your Blog so thanks"
  • High-Traffic Links
    The links will be going to sites that require high traffic to make a profit. Porn, Gambling, Shoes, Jewelry, etc. are common.

Hope this helps in keeping your site Spam-Free and if you have any other tips on spotting Blog Comment Spam, shoot me a note and let me know!

newspaper

Hot Content Ideas

Fresh, new and magnetic content is good for SEO and good for conversions. Finding inspiration for this content, however, can be a chore.

Google, the search engine, is one of the main entities that we want to take notice of our content. But Google, the monster engine of intent, is one of the main entities that we can use for the inspiration we seek.

Google News and Information Services

As we learned in The SEO of Search Trends, knowing what hot topics people are actually searching for can be extremely helpful for marketing in general, and SEO in particular.

Enter Google News and Information Services.

When someone hears a buzz or reads a headline that’s interesting in a newsworthy way, they’ll usually turn to a search engine like Google to find out more about it. Why not jump on the bandwagon and be one of the search results?

These Google Search services will help point you in the right direction of hot topics, provide citeable sources, and more.

  • Google News
    News from all over the web, collected into clusters; different perspectives on hot news topics. It’s really pretty cool.
  • Google Scholar
    Search Scholarly Journals, Articles & Patents, Legal Opinions & Journals and more for your research and citing.
  • Google Finance
    Google’s One-Stop shop for market analysis, business news, personal investment portfolio tracking and much more.
  • Google’s Knol
    Basically this is Google’s version of Wikipedia; a user-centered reference site. However the site has taken some strong criticisms for not being properly monitored.

Have a Google News and Information Service you think should be added to the list? Let me know.

RSS to Email

RSS to Email

The Problem with RSS

You really love your favorite RSS Reader / Feed Reader / Aggregator / etc., but it’s starting to get hairy; you’ve subscribed to so many of them that simply checking in with your reader seems to daunting a task these days.

Or perhaps you don’t use a feed reader; you prefer to sign up for Email newsletters instead. And you’re coming across cool websites that you’d like to subscribe to, but only see links for RSS.

Sound familiar? I know it does for me. Personally, I use to use Google Reader as my preferred online RSS Feed Reader, but it was discontinued back on July 1st, 2013, but they also provided a nice list of alternatives.

Aside from that, I also found myself commonly in both scenarios mentioned above.

RSS Readers: The Email Solution

Is there one? Yes indeed.

If you don’t have a feed aggregator, but are interested in learning more about them, check out this super-cool & super-detailed Compariosn of Feed Aggregators, by Wikipedia.

But if you’d simply like to Subscribe to a RSS Feed via Email, what to do? Some feeds are burned and hosted by Google’s FeedBurner, and sometimes there’s a link therein that allows you to do so. And often, there’s not.

Free RSS to Email Services

We’re talking about us – the end-user here; the ones who like to be notified of new articles or posts, etc. on our favorite websites. Not the email marketer trying to integrate RSS feeds into their newletters.

And believe it or not, there’s a few you can use for free!

Give ’em a shot!

SEO Page Speed

SEO and Page Speed Tools

Earlier I wrote that Google helps SEO via Speed, and several of you wrote to me asking if there were other tools around to help improve your SEO for speed.

Well, I’m happy to tell you all that, yes, there are several other ways to test your page speed.

As you may have guessed, Google’s web-based Page Speed Online PageSpeed Insights is not the only tool available. Here’s some other speed tools you may want to play with:

Good luck with your testing and hope ya pass! 😉 Seriously, though, people have a shorter attention span these days and it’s getting shorter by the second. They will click back and go to the next result in the search engine result pages if you aren’t quick enough.

So do yourself a favor, run the tests and work on the optimizations.

Zemanta

SEO with Zemanta

"Get the most out of your blogging time." That’s what the producers of a pretty cool tool says about their blogging add-on service, Zemanta (Acquired by Outbrain in 2017).

I’ve been looking into it, and Zemanta is indeed useful. Like the WP plug-in Insights, this nifty thing gives you all sorts of media suggestions, based on what you’ve written.

In-Text Links, Photos, Tags and related articles are all within a click’s reach! You can use it via Browser extensions, bookmarklets and Server-side Plug-ins (for WordPress or Joomla, for example).


Zemanta is a tool that looks over your shoulder while you blog and gives you tips and advice, suggests related content and pictures and makes sure your posts get promoted as they deserve to be. We at Zemanta are thinking hard to help make blogging easier for you. We’re engineering better creative tools to help you get the most out of your blogging time.

Zemanta for SEO

Not only that, but you can also sign up for Zemanta as a Content Publisher. And that means more SEO for you. CEO of SEOMoz (now just Moz), Rand Fishkin, says "Zemanta is, quite possibly, the most exciting company in the link building space today. You get direct links that send traffic and provide ranking value for SEO. In an average month using Zemanta, our site received dozens of links and many corresponding boosted rankings."

Check out these 5 Steps to SEO Success using the Zemanta Recommendation Engine:

  1. Zemanta indexes your images, articles, and content via full RSS feed
  2. When relevant, Zemanta recommends your content to 1000’s of Zemanta influencers
  3. Zemanta influencers can drop your content onto their site with a simple click
  4. The average Zemanta influencer has 700 Twitter followers and 1000 Facebook friends
  5. Your content continues to be shared, consumed, and linked to

Sounds good to me. What do you think?

Outbrain Acquires Native DSP Zemanta

SEO Page Speed

SEO Speeds for Google

If you’ve been under a rock or just haven’t heard, about a year ago Matt Cutts announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog that Site Speed is a factor in Search Ranking.

And about a year before that, Google posted a YouTube video hinting about this change, titled "Let’s make the Web Faster".


Let’s Make the Web Faster

As a matter of fact, an entire section of Google Code was dedicated to Making the Web Faster.


Making the Web Faster for SEO

So now it’s official – Page Speed definitely affects your pages search engine rankings & SEO efforts.

And Google’s released a new tool to help you with it: Google Page Speed Insights, wherein you give it a URL, and it will analyze the speed factors of the page, giving you a "Page Speed Score" out of 100.

Not to mention that you can also generate a Page Speed Mobile analysis, for mobile browser optimization!

The Page Speed Score indicates how much faster a page could be. A high score indicates little room for improvement, while a lower score indicates more room for improvement. The Page Speed Score does not measure the time it takes for a page to load.

The results are broken down into four categories:

  1. High Priority
  2. Medium Priority
  3. Low Priority
  4. Rules without Suggestions

The great thing is that’s not where it stops. They actually give the details of where you can improve and HOW you can do it.

Go test a site and improve it – you’ll notice the difference.

Social Media Marketing or SMM

Social Media Marketing or SMM

Jeremiah Owyang, of the Customer Strategy group, Altimeter, will be teaming up with Social Media Solutions group, Social: IRL, on April 26th to lead the Social Business Summit.

Hosted at the Embassy Suites hotel near Kansas City International Airport, the event boasts a full day of interactive sessions, focused on social strategy and a business goal’s first approach to creating scalable social media programs.

Goals? Social: IRL says the goal of this day-long workshop is for attendees to learn from both Jeremiah and from fellow attendees and bring an actionable plan to their day jobs.

Wordpress Security

WordPress Security

WordPress has released an update to address close to thirty maintenance and security issues found in release 3.1.

Some of the notables:

  1. Some security hardening to media uploads
  2. Performance improvements
  3. Fixes for IIS6 support
  4. Fixes for taxonomy and PATHINFO (/index.php/) permalinks
  5. Fixes for various query and taxonomy edge cases that caused some plugin compatibility issues

I just finished an auto-upgrade and suggest you either Download WordPress 3.1.1 or do an auto-update from the Dashboard of your WordPress installation.

Only the geeks know
What half this stuff even means
Don’t worry — update

Disco Google

Google's new Disco

UPDATE:
Disco Discontinued.

Yesterday I posted about Facebook Acquiring Beluga to bolster to make use of their mobile group messaging technology.

Mobile Group Messaging War

Facebook is not the only contender in this space. Now that they’ve acquired one of their would-be competitors, they only have to deal with the applications like GroupMe, Groupflier, Celly, Fast Society and Kik, although Facebook will easily dominate the marketshare in my opinion.

Enter Google’s Disco

That’s right; now Google has entered the fray.

Their new service, Disco, is offered both as an online service and as an iPhone application. No Android download yet, due to the acquisition of Slide; yet this very same Slide acquisition gives Disco the ability to support Facebook integration in order to import your friends, etc.

Disco is extremely bare bones currently and I’m guessing Google just wanted to get into the competitive landscape ASAP.

Mobile, Online and Social Marketing

With such a landscape growing, it will be interesting to see a similar explosion happening for advertising and marketing service providers.

Updated

Google shutters Slide, founder Max Levchin moves to greener pastures

Beluga from Facebook

Facebook Catches Beluga (Whale)

UPDATE
Beluga no longer exists…

You’ve created a social Group on Facebook for the SMM (Social Media Marketing) in your Online Marketing campaign; yet you see very little activity… Sound familiar?

With smart phones all the rage of mobile and Facebook all the rage of social – brand interaction can happen at any time. Except within Facebook Groups; the technology hasn’t been integrated.

Well that’s about to change.

Beluga Whales are Social Critters

"Beluga whales are smart, social, and mobile. Just like our apps." That’s the Facebook tag line for Beluga, a company offering a mobile messaging service within groups they call "Pods". The nifty apps have been freely available for the iPhone & Android markets.

To skeptics of the reliability & technology of this young company, having only launched in late 2010, I point to the Beluga Team itself; Ben Davenport, Lucy Zhang and Jonathan Perlow are three ex-Google engineers – so you know it’s got to be good.

Beluga helps groups of friends stay in touch on the go. Use it to plan a night out or just share updates and photos. It’s instant, intimate and simple. Best of all, it’s completely free.

There’s an old simple marketing formula – "Identify a Problem & Present a Solution". So what if we plugged in Facebook’s mobile group messaging problem with Beluga’s solution?

Big Fish Facebook Chomps Beluga Whale and Marketers Win

Facebook took the bait, acquiring Beluga earlier this month. They took the team and the technology. And I bet they’ve got your attention too.

With Facebook’s preexisting oomph and Beluga’s mobile group messaging, location integration and photo-sharing, it looks like your Social Media Marketing campaigns might be getting the boosts they need – via Groups.

I think Social Media Marketing just got a little more interesting. What do you think?

Read the announcement on TechCrunch:
Facebook Acquires Group Messaging Service Beluga In A Talent AND Technology Deal