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Archive for November, 2010

Businesses with blogs get 55% more website visitors

November 30, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Customer Service, Dr Search, Facebook, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

New research has shown that websites with blogs get considerably more traffic, links and credibility than static business sites that don’t interact with social media- and potential customers.

If you have a blog, you know that it’s good for your business. But just how good– and how much?

To answer to those questions, HubSpot looked at data from 1,531 of their customers- mostly small- and medium-sized businesses. 795 of the businesses in their sample blogged and a roughly equal amount 736 didn’t.

The data was crystal clear- companies that blog have far better marketing results.

Specifically, the average company that blogs has:
* 55% more visitors
* 97% more inbound links
* 434% more indexed pages

Please, just take a look for yourself in the graphs below:
Businesses with blogs get 55% more website visitorsWhy are website visitors important? Because more visitors mean more people to convert to leads and sales.
blogs get 97% more inbound linksWhy are inbound links important? Because they signal authority to search engines, thus increasing your chances of getting found in those search engines.

sites with blogs get 434% more indexed pagesWhy are indexed pages important? The more pages you have on your site, the more chances you have of getting found in search engines.

For more information on HubSpot’s blogs improve your business report please click here now.

Dr Search asks if you have a blog for your business? If not what are you waiting for- your competitors may well have one- how long do you want them to steal your potential customers and sales?

For a free chat why not contact the Search Clinic NOW?

Mega Monday- £22 million spent online each hour in the UK

November 29, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Online Marketing, Uncategorized

Hard on the heels of the US’s Black Friday- today will be the busiest shopping day ever experienced on the internet, as UK consumers start buying Christmas presents in earnest.Mega Monday- £22 million spent online each hour in the UKSome leading retail experts believe that today, Monday November 29, will see £22 million an hour spent online by British consumers, most of who will have just received their final monthly pay packet before Christmas.

The peak trading is predicted to be boosted by many retailers launching their Christmas sales over the weekend and consumers increasing desire to budget for Christmas by spreading out their spending throughout the weeks running up to the big day.

Kelkoo, a price comparison site, in conjunction with the Centre for Retail Research, calculated that consumers are likely to spend £537 million online today, nicknamed by some retailers as Mega or Manic Monday, up 29 per cent on the equivalent day last year.

Visa, the credit card company, said it would handle 3.8 million card transactions during the day with consumers are increasingly comfortable buying goods on the internet.

However, many others including IMRG, the online retailers trade body predicted trading will peak between midday and 1pm on December 6, as office workers use their lunch hour to click and buy.

Traditionally consumers window shop and do their research over the weekend, before using the internet access at work on the Monday to order their goods.

All experts, however, agree that this year will see a significant increase in the number of transactions taking place over the internet, thanks to better quality retail websites and a greater number of households with access to fast broadband connections. So though retail spending is likely to tick ahead by just 1 per cent or so, online spending is expected to jump by at least 25 per cent.

According to Ofcom, the proportion of households with a broadband connection has jumped from 52 per cent three years ago to 71 per cent.

Some of the purchases on Monday are likely to be large items, such as furniture or large televisions, being bought by consumers now, rather than in the post-Christmas sales in an attempt to avoid the increase in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent in January.

Business experts have warned that employers will see a drop in productivity as workers spend time at their desk searching for gifts.

Richard Stables, the chief executive of Kelkoo, added: “Trading conditions remain challenging on the high street, and in a bid to entice consumers to shop now and drive up sales in the run up to Christmas, a number of retailers have already announced early discounts. The impending VAT increase is also expected to provide an additional catalyst for consumer spending this Christmas, with every household in the country facing a steeper VAT bill, amounting to an additional £1.16 per day.”

Black Friday videos to get you in the shopping mood

November 26, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Online Marketing, Uncategorized, Website Design

Christmas may be a month away but the real fun begins today on Black Friday.

Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Amazon all post offers on their websites and open their doors at dawn to hoards of stark raving mad consumers, ready to battle it out for your money.

Here are six YouTube videos to get you ready for the best Black Friday of your life. Get ready to shop ‘til you drop!

Chaos inside Walmart during Black Friday 2009

Black Friday is the single most insane shopping day of the year, with customers running around, screaming, and fighting over that last $100 computer.

Check out the video below of Walmart on Black Friday last year. The quality isn’t great, but you can see what type of chaos ensues on Black Friday, so strap on your kneepads and your helmet and try to stay calm, collected and safe this  year.

First Person: Already Camping for Black Friday

Many stores offer deals for the first customer (or first 10, 20 or even 100 customers) that walk through the doors on Black Friday. For this reason, a lot of people camp out in store parking lots the night before. Lori Davenport of St. Petersburg, Florida has taken camping out for Black Friday to a whole new level.

The first in the nation to start camping out for Black Friday, she has been waiting in front of Best Buy since Monday, November 22. Who needs Thanksgiving dinner when you can shop, right?

Target Black Friday Montage

This hilarious Black Friday training montage for Target’s 2-day sale is a hilarious take on the attitude of many shoppers, getting ready for the day after Thanksgiving.

If you liked Target’s commercial spot, check out this Target-lover’s parody.

Maria Bamford: Target Commercial (2010)

Target has been on a roll with its crazy Black Friday shopper commercials this year. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’, but there is an ‘I’ in ‘WIN’ and in ‘CHRSTMAS!!’

Black Friday Shopping Tips

If you are new to the Black Friday shopping mayhem then here are a few tips if you want to make your shopping experience a success. Here’s Cotter Cunningham, CEO of Whale Shark Media, with some tips on finding the best deals this Black Friday!

CNET Tech Review: Black Friday buying guide

Not sure what to buy tomorrow? Here’s a great Tech Review from CNET to update you on all the best holiday gadgets and tech gifts for all your friends and family.

So Good luck shopping! Please feel free to tell us at the Search Clinic all about your Black Friday experiences in the comments box below!

Data Commissioner starts to get tough- but not with Google

November 25, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: data security, Uncategorized

A county council that faxed details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public is fined £100,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act.
Data Commissioner starts to get tough- but not with GoogleHertfordshire County Council is one of two bodies fined by the Information Commissioner – both have apologised.

Sheffield-based A4e was fined £60,000 for losing an unencrypted laptop with the details of thousands of people.

The commissioner said the fines – the first he has issued – would “send a strong message” to those handling data.

Commissioner Christopher Graham was granted the authority to serve financial penalties for data protection breaches in April of this year.

The breaches at Hertfordshire County Council occurred in June, when employees in the childcare litigation unit accidentally sent two faxes to the wrong recipients on two separate occasions. The council reported both breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The first misdirected fax was meant for a barristers’ chambers but was sent instead to a member of the public.

The council subsequently obtained a court injunction prohibiting any disclosure of the facts of the court case or circumstances of the data breach.

The second misdirected fax, sent 13 days later, contained information relating to the care proceedings of three children, the previous convictions of two individuals, domestic violence records and care professionals’ opinions on the cases.

The fax was intended for Watford County Court but was mistakenly sent to a barristers’ chambers unconnected with the case.

Mr Graham said: “It is difficult to imagine information more sensitive than that relating to a child sex abuse case. I am concerned at this breach – not least because the local authority allowed it to happen twice within two weeks.”

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said it accepted the commissioner’s findings.

“We are sorry that these mistakes happened and have put processes in place to try and prevent any recurrence,” he added.

The A4e data breach also occurred in June, after the company – which provides information on employment and starting a business – issued an unencrypted laptop to an employee so he or she could work at home.

The computer contained personal information relating to 24,000 people who had used community legal advice centres in Hull and Leicester.

But it was later stolen from the employee’s house and an unsuccessful attempt to access the data was made shortly afterwards.

Personal details recorded on the system included full names, dates of birth, postcodes, employment status, income level, information about alleged criminal activity and whether an individual had been a victim of violence.

A4e reported the incident to the ICO and the company subsequently notified the people whose data could have been accessed.

The commissioner ruled that A4e did not take reasonable steps to avoid the loss of the data but said the incident was “less shocking” than the council’s security breaches.

Nevertheless, he said it “also warranted nothing less than a monetary penalty as thousands of people’s privacy was potentially compromised by the company’s failure to take the simple step of encrypting the data”.

He added: “These first monetary penalties send a strong message to all organisations handling personal information – get it wrong and you do substantial harm to individuals and the reputation of your business. You could also be fined up to half a million pounds.”

A4e chief executive Andrew Dutton apologised, adding: “We acted very swiftly after the incident in June, including making a voluntary report to the ICO. We alerted all customers, partners and relevant authorities affected and continue to update them.

Meanwhile, a survey has found that four out of five people want to see the introduction of a law which would force companies to publicly declare any data breaches.

Such legislation already exists in the United States but in the UK, disclosure is currently voluntary.

The ICO however declined to fine Google even though they deliberately gathered peoples’ passwords and personal information.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticises Facebook’s walled garden

November 24, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, LinkedIn, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has criticised social networking sites, such as Facebook, for limiting the web’s openness, ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the first webpage.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticises Facebook’s walled gardenWriting an article on the Scientific American journal, entitled Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, Berners-Lee sought to remind people of the power of the open and democratic web.

He said: “The web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, universities and companies have worked, both independently and together as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities based on those principles.”

However, he went onto say that the web’s democratic nature and universality was being threatened by some of its “most successful inhabitants” of late.

He specifically criticised Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster, for limiting the flowing of the freely available information across the web.

“Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster and others typically provide value by capturing information as you enter it: your birthday, your email address, your likes, and links indicating who is friends with whom and who is in which photograph,” he writes.

“The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site.”

“Each site is a silo, walled off from the others.”

“Yes, your site’s pages are on the web, but your data are not. You can access a web page about a list of people you have created in one site, but you cannot send that list, or items from it, to another site.”

Facebook is coming under increasing pressure to open up access to its social graph, arguably its most powerful asset. The site’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, resisted these calls at the Web 2.0 Summit, refusing to commit to a date when Facebook would open up its data set to the rest of the web.

Earlier this month Google banned Facebook, and other companies, from extracting Gmail user data, unless they make their own data available to Google. Facebook has so far refused to cooperate.

Berners-Lee, in his piece, also warned against cable companies which may also prevent information flowing freely on the web.

He writes: “Cable television companies that sell internet connectivity are considering whether to limit their internet users to downloading only the company’s mix of entertainment.”

Stress caused by Facebook may have triggered asthma attack

November 23, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, Social Media, Uncategorized

Logging on to Facebook triggered asthma attacks in a teenager who could not cope with seeing pictures of his ex-girlfriend, doctors have said, as they warned of the stress that can be caused by social networking.Stress caused by Facebook may have triggered asthma attackFive doctors have written to The Lancet to document the case of an 18-year-old asthmatic man whose condition was stable until he split up with his girlfriend and she erased him from her Facebook page.

They said the split left him depressed and he changed his Facebook name in order to become ‘friends’ with her again.

However the sight of her picture brought on breathlessness.

His mother took measurements which showed that after logging on to the site, his maximum breath force was reduced, a sign of his asthma worsening.

Doctors seeing unexplainable asthma attacks in patients should consider the stress brought on through social networking sites as a possible trigger, especially in younger patients who spend more time online, the doctors said.

Lead author Dr Gennaro D’Amato, from the Department of Respiratory Diseases, High Speciality Hospital A Cardarelli, in Napoli, Italy, wrote: “The temporal relation with onset of symptoms suggests that Facebook login was the trigger of asthma exacerbations, in which hyperventilation might play a key role.

“Other possible environmental and infectious factors were excluded with a thorough history and physical examination.

“This case indicates that Facebook, and social networks in general, could be a new source of psychological stress, representing a triggering factor for exacerbations in depressed asthmatic individuals. Considering the high prevalence of asthma, especially among young people, we suggest that this type of trigger be considered in the assessment of asthma exacerbations.”

The patient was convinced not to go on to Facebook, with the help of a psychiatrist and the asthma attacks stopped.

Other experts said stress is a well known factor in asthma attacks.

Prof Jon Ayres, Professor of Environmental and Respiratory Medicine, at University of Birmingham, said: “The issue of psychological stress triggering asthma is as old as the hills.

“In Victorian times asthma was regarded as a “neurotic disease”. Asthma attacks induced by stressful situations are common and in the 1970s studies showed that in some people with asthma, attacks could be induced through the power of suggestion.

“We see people brought in with asthma attacks who have just come from funerals or other stressful situations; this is nothing new. I guess that Facebook simply provides another way in which susceptible people can be exposed to stressful situations.”

Now teachers blame social media for poor pupil results

November 22, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, Mobile Marketing, Search Clinic, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

Back in September Dr Search posted a blog Students using Facebook lower exam results by 20 per cent when research showed that students who use Facebook while studying for exams score significantly lower grades than those who do not.Now teachers blame social media for poor pupil resultsNow new research has found that  teachers blame Facebook and Twitter for pupils’ poor grades with seven in 10 British teachers believe children are becoming more and more obsessed with websites such as Facebook

Children who spend much of their time online find it harder to concentrate in class, are permanently distracted and have shorter attention spans, researchers found.

Many teachers are also unhappy at the increase in the number of children who are using text-speak or social networking chat – such as 2mor, msg, lol and bk – in place of English grammar.

The worrying stats emerged in a study of 500 teachers conducted by leading school trips provider JCA – which motivates personal and social development outside the classroom.

A spokeswoman for JCA said: “This research clearly demonstrates that students up and down the country are spending more and more time using social media.

“Rather than relying on life experiences, educational travel and face to face interaction with others, children are becoming obsessed with social networking and this is shaping their attitudes instead.

“And as the teachers spell out, it is this obsession which has a direct impact on the future of our children – affecting their grades because they fail to complete their homework on time or to the standard required, and being unable to concentrate in class.”

The report concludes that the children with the poorest grades at school are the ones who spent most time on social networking.

It is also claimed that children who are online at every available opportunity are less willing to communicate with adults.

And some teachers believe that despite schools banning mobile phones, many pupils secretly take smart phones to school and remain connected to social networking websites in class.

Abbreviations commonly used on sites such as Twitter and Facebook are also making it into coursework, essays and experiment write-ups.

And 35 per cent of children regularly use excuses such as ”my computer broke” and ”I couldn’t print it” to explain why they haven’t done their homework.

Teachers believe pupils don’t spend nearly enough time on their homework as they should – and 73 per cent believe parents should take responsibility and limit the amount of time their child is spending online.

Unfortunately, 58 per cent of teachers believe mobile phones and computers are responsible for children being unable to spell as well as previous generations.

And 54 per cent say children can’t write as well as they should because they are more used to keyboards and touch pads.

Reinforce the positive, don’t focus on the negative

November 19, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

Today being a Friday- Dr Search suggests that you focus on developing a positive behaviour by ignoring the easier negative option.
Reinforce the positive, don't focus on the negativeConversely, does a failure set you on a path to more failure?

This question may seem philosophical or even paradoxical, but in fact I think it gets to the heart of why some people succeed and others don’t. We can choose to create cycles that move us up or endure cycles that drag us down.

A sales call is going poorly because the prospect doesn’t perceive the salesperson is confident. He or she responds by becoming even less confident. Ergo, No Sale.

A mistake is made. The stakes go up. Rattled, another mistake is made, and then again, and again- until complete failure occurs…

James Bond is a hero because the tougher the world got, the cooler he got. Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t endure the pressure of his team’s performance, he thrives on it.

If being a little behind creates self pressure that leads to stress and then errors, it’s no wonder you frequently end up a lot behind.

If the way you manage your brand inevitably leads to a ceaseless race to the bottom, it’s no wonder that you are struggling.

A small bump gets magnified and repeated until it totally overwhelms.

Customer service falls apart when mutual escalation or non-understanding sets in. Management falls apart when power struggles or miscommunications escalate.

Someone who gets better whenever he or she fails will always outperform someone who responds to failure by getting worse.

This isn’t something in your DNA, it’s something you can learn or unlearn.

The appropriate response is not to try harder, to bear down and grind it out.

The response that works is to understand the nature of the cycle and to change it from the start.

You must not fight the cycle, you must transform it into a different cycle altogether.

It’s may be a lot of work, but less work than failing.

Dr Search
hopes that this post has raised your mental attitude and wishes that you enjoy the rest of the week!

When is a tweet not a joke- now China jails a tweeter

November 18, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Dr Search, Search Clinic, Social Media, Twitter

Hard on the heels of the row over the bombing threat to Robin Hood airport, now China has jailed a tweeter after she allegedly made a contentious joke on Twitter.When is a tweet not a joke- now China jails a tweeterRecently Search Clinic posted Twitter row over bomb threat joke when Tweeters joined forces to support Paul Chambers, the man convicted and fined for a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport.

Tweeters had joined forces to support Paul Chambers, the man convicted and fined for a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport.

Now a woman in China has been sentenced to a year in a labour camp after posting a message on Twitter.

The fiance of human rights activist Cheng Jianping she that had been accused of disrupting social order, but her message had been a joke.

She had repeated a Twitter comment urging nationalist protesters to smash Japan’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding the words “Charge, angry youth”.

Twitter is banned in China. However, many people use it by circumventing internet controls.

The offending online “tweet”, which has landed 46-year-old Cheng Jianping with a year of re-education through labour, was posted in the middle of last month.

At the time, China and Japan were embroiled in their worst diplomatic row in recent years over a group of uninhabited, but disputed, islands in the East China Sea.

Groups of young Chinese had been demonstrating against Japan, publicly smashing Japanese products.

Ten days later she was detained by police “for disrupting social order” and has now been sent to the Shibali River women’s labour camp in Zhengzhou city in Henan Province.

Mr Hua said his fiance had started a hunger strike and he was trying to get her released to undergo her re-education at home.

Another Twitter user has now tweeted that Ms Cheng should apply for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, because the five words she added to the message had cost her a year of freedom.

Her detention is a sign of how closely China’s government scrutinises comment on the internet as the authorities are fearful of the power of the internet to stir up discontent.

They are also wary of the way nationalist demonstrations like those targeting Japan have the potential to run out of control.

Facebook’s message service isn’t a Gmail Killer- but it may hasten it’s demise

November 17, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

Facebook’s new Social Inbox feature may not be a Gmail killer now, but it’s setting up the stage to eventually invalidate email.
Facebook’s message service isn't a Gmail Killer- but it may hasten it's demiseThis service is not a Gmail killer, and isn’t meant to replace your work email.  However, it is possible that Facebook is taking the first step towards changing the way we communicate on the web, and killing Gmail may actually just be part of the long term strategy.

The new Facebook Social Inbox will be the most efficient, most certain way of getting a message to a friend.

The reason for this is that it’s going to hit several different platforms, including Facebook, IM, Email and Facebook.

So if I send a message to Alex, and her Facebook, IM, Email and Facebook all ring at the same time, which means that if I’m planning an event tonight, I post to Facebook and can know that Alex got the message.

Now I’m sure many people will immediately say (as they always do before they get a little schooling) that “I don’t WANT to have all my inboxes ringing every time someone sends me a message.

Well it may be that you’ll be able to turn off forwarding if you want to.  That’s an important point.

You won’t be forced to have your SMS ring every time anybody sends you a Facebook message, and Facebook will soon add filters so that only message from certain friends go through.  Don’t worry, OK?

Another key element that people tend to forget about Facebook is that it has always made the sign up process fairly simple.

And most of it’s functions are already integrated.  So it is only a few two clicks betweens ervices.

Similarly, we all have a lot of our IM, Email and other types of information in Facebook.  I imagine they are just going to activate the social inbox, and we’ll start receiving alerts before we even know it.  And there will be a good chunk of users that find it useful.