Archive for category Rantings

Facebook – a place for the old and boring

A few weeks ago, I decided to go cold turkey with Facebook and removed the app from my phone. And I can honestly say that I haven’t missed it one bit.

I guess, like a large majority people, that without even noticing, Facebook had become a big part of my life. Every bored minute I had, would without doubt end up with me looking at Facebook. Whether I was sitting in traffic, waiting on a bus or sitting in a cafe, I would have without doubt navigated my way to Facebook.

To this day I’m still unsure what the draw was for me. Was it that I felt I would miss out on something or that prior wood gear about something before me – I’m really not sure.

What’s probably more surprising is that I’m not the only one tuning out of Facebook. It turns out that teenagers are also no longer interested in being part of the Facebook world. One such teenager recently wrote an article about how she and none of her friends have joined the Facebook revolution.

But this is no surprise to the People at Facebook, they know all about this trend amongst teenagers apparently. Yes, they however believe it is easy to explain. Teenagers they say, are more interested in being easily able to share content via apps such as Snapchat and instagram, and the restrictions imposed by Facebook for teen users is just making it harder for them to share.

I’m not convinced at this response at all. Facebook for me has become a place of utter dribble from middle aged men and women who want to share information to make their dull lives look amazing to people they hardly know.

If I think back to that time long ago when I was a teenager, the last place I’d want to be, is around adults. I certainly wouldn’t want to be around people who like to broadcast to the world how great their other half is, or a long story on the latest, saddest story they can find on the internet. Nor would I want to be bombarded with the type of music my Mam or Dad danced to when they were teenagers.

No, I would want to be as far away from an adult as I possibly could so that I could say what I want, when I want and without a judging adult looking over my shoulder.

Teenagers see Facebook as somewhere their Mam, Dad, aunties, uncles and even their grandparents hang out, hence they turn to somewhere that the old generation have yet to hear of. Facebook just isn’t cool anymore.

How Facebook will fix this is hard to see. It could spell disaster for them in the future of they don’t figure something out.

Facebook is a long way from dying, but could the writing be on the wall? Only time will tell I guess…

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1 Million free books give away – the music industry should take note

We’re all aware of how the Internet is apparently ripping the life and soul of the music industry. It’s as if every day there is a new news item about how the music rights organisations are chasing the little man for downloading a few copyright tracks from one of the many pirated websites.

I’ve always had a problem with how the main records labels, music rights organisations and lately some famous artists have come out complaining about how downloading music is killing their livelihood. The bottom line is that they don’t want or have the drive to change how the music industry works.

But music isn’t the only industry that is being threatened by the web and the easy nature of spreading copyrighted material through the Internet. With the massive growth in smart phones and other reading devices, it has become pretty much as easy to download illegal copies of some of the bestselling books.

Most people know that the book publishing industry has been pretty much on its knees for many years. Unless you are selling one of the top 10 best selling books, you’ll find it hard to make a fraction of what these so called musicians or record company directors are making. That of course is for a number of factors, but rather than rest on their laurels those in the book publishing industry has decided to make a concerted effort to come up with innovative ideas to help promote their industry.

The latest effort is the co-ordinated plan to offer 1 million free books to a select few people. The idea is simple, 20,000 pationate readers in Ireland and the UK will be given 48 books to give to their friends, family members or anyone they wish.

The idea is that if someone is given a book for free, they will recommend the book on to their peers and in turn this should increase the number of book sales. But the books won’t be any old books and certainly won’t include any books that are out of copyright. All books involved will be books that are still in copyright so that they can maximise the amount of money they can make back from the expected increase of sales.

What a great idea. Let’s transport that to the music industry. We can think of many examples of how the web brought acts such as the Artic Monkeys into mainstream pop. A band that, in fairness would probably never have got a break without the Internet. They’re the type of band that you see everywhere in the world in your local community centre, practising to be the next big thing.

We also have more successful acts such as Kings of Leon, who admit they probably would have been dropped by their record label if they weren’t so successful in the UK. Their success can’t be totally attributed to the web, but it was definitely used as a quicker route to the UK market and in effect kept them going.

I know from my own experience that there are a number of bands I listen to, that don’t ever bother visiting Ireland or the UK because they simply don’t have the following here – yet, I would buy their music. I would never have heard of them if I didn’t have the Internet available. Record companies seem to constantly overlook this fact.

Then of course the way we digest music has greatly changed over the years. I don’t particularly like buying CDs anymore, because the only place I use them is in my car. The first thing I do with any album I buy, is rip it to mp3 files so that I can listen to them on MP3 player, copy it onto my PS3 which I use for my sound system at home and the list goes on.

Yes, we have a number of sites that sell MP3s, but I can’t always find what I’m looking for as my taste is shall we say, a little underground. My only hope of getting my hands on some of the music I listen to is by listening online or ordering from the US.

Record companies seriously need to take a leaf out of the book industries book, if you pardon the pun, and come up with some innovative ideas that will help the “referral” nature of people to increase sales. Stop whinging about what’s going on and start to use your brains – although you probably lost them many years ago while living off your millions that you didn’t have to do to much to acquire.

For more information on the Free 1 million books – visit : www.worldbooknight.org

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Would the Real Taoiseach Please Stand Up!

Edited version of Brian Cowen.jpg, an image in...
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I have to say, I’m really amazed that there isn’t a much bigger reaction to the latest admission from An Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Mr. Cowen finally admitted today that the efforts to save the economy had failed and the government were in fact in talks with the IMF and the ECB about a possible bailout. Only last night he was totally denying that the governments talks with the IMF and the ECB were simply discussions on possible rescue packages should the need arise.

I was moved last night for the first time in years by any politician and unfortunately that was in the shape of Mr. Pat Rabbitte, who showed more passion about our country than I’ve seen in my entire live. I instantly respected Mr. Rabbitte, not necessarily for what he was saying, but just for his passion.

Anyway, at this stage I’m totally fed up with this government and the state they’ve brought us to. How we can all sit back and deny the obvious is clearly down to the crap we’ve been peddled for years by our government. Yes that government that tell us a different story every day.

My good friend Francie Conway felt strong enough about the whole situation that he wrote a little tune about it – Would the Real Taoiseach Please Stand Up

Listen to: Francie Conway - Would the Real Taoiseach Please Stand Up

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Online Marketing has gone to the dogs

It’s been nearly 8 years now since I started online marketing company 2bscene. At the time, there weren’t many dedicated online marketing companies around. Most companies offering online marketing services were either web design or advertising agencies trying to cash in on what was clearly going to be a massive growth area of business.

Search Engine Optimisation was still pretty much in it’s infancy and I had built up 4 years experience of search engine optimisation of websites before I started 2bscene. God, in those days it was a hell of a lot easier to rank than it is today.

Of course, Google Adwords wasn’t around then, so there were fewer online marketing opportunities. We did have a number of online advertising options, but they were limited generally to banner advertisements and advertorials.

There was nothing as popular, nor as effective as Google Adwords is today. Banner advertisements were beginning their steep decline in click through rates and search engine optimisation was hardly heard of.

In fact organic search engine optimisation was the only real option for many businesses to get found online, yet little knew about this little secret never mind recognise it’s potential.

I have to admit, I didn’t come from a marketing background when I started 2bscene. I naively opted to study music and live my dream rather than contemplate choosing a college course that would enhance my career! However marketing was something that always interested me greatly.

I had gained significant marketing experience (and interest) in the companies I had worked with before setting up 2bscene and felt I could effectively build and grow a company selling online marketing services. Online marketing was a new and exciting way for businesses to promote their brand and there were very few companies offering the service in Ireland. Therefore the only thing I could be judged on was the results I achieved.

Fast forward 8 years and oh how the landscape has changed.

I had many reasons for setting 2bscene up as a solely online marketing services company. One of the main reasons was to distinguish my business from other web design companies.

At the time web design companies were popping up all over the place, everyone you talked to knew someone who was a web designer. Of course, you could still only count the good ones on one hand, but the surge in growth of these cheap and nasty web design companies was rapidly helping to deteriorate the web design market. From students working from their parents bedroom to the fly by night web designers who have disappeared off the face of earth, they all did little to enhance the reputation of a “web designer”. In fact, they did the complete opposite.

I get it all the time from new clients “we had a falling out with our web designer” or “we can’t get in touch with our web designer”. The perception of a web designer followed through in many advertising campaigns with the likes of IBM featuring web designers off snowboarding while their was a disaster taking place at the office. Web designers became a breed of people who could simply not be trusted to be there in a time of need.

The student type web designer brought web design to a level where a lot of people expect web designers to work for free or next to free. In their naive approach to business, they’d undertake to do a job only to realise they would bore with the client and their requests quite rapidly. In some cases, they thought the best solution was to do a huge amount of work for free in order to get the client off their backs. And of course, there were those who simply said the job is too big for me and disappeared, never to be contacted again.

Now the same thing seems to be happening with the online marketing industry. In fact, everyone wants to be or claims to be a search engine optimisation expert nowadays. I’ve never in my life encountered so many people in any other industry I’ve worked in, that claim to know more than the expert they have hired to do the job for them.

A times it can be a major struggle to have a reasonable discussion with a client/potential client about how best to market their website. There are a lot who feel that they are near experts in search engine optimisation because they have done “a lot” of research on the subject. A little knowledge is probably the most disruptive of all.

It doesn’t help much when businesses like “Snap Printing” decide that they are all of a sudden web marketing and web design experts because they now offer these services to clients. Pretty much all of our clients have been approached by UK online marketing companies offering to get their site listed at the top of Google for €x per month which is clearly a total scam. Yet, clients still question and compare the work we do, to what these shower offer.

Look let’s face it, search engine optimisation is not rocket science and is not hugely difficult when you know what to do. Anyone who has done even the most basic research on search engine optimisation could possibly rank a site for a non competitive keyphrase, that’s fact. But there is one key skill to search engine optimisation that I feel is the most important strength and that is… experience. Because search engine optimisation is changing all the time, having the experience to notice the changes that have occurred and why makes the job a whole lot easier.

Google Adwords and other pay per click solutions are similar. Pretty much anyone can get an account set up and get your site listed in the top results, but the value add from a professional comes in when they help you get the most bang for your buck. Experience is what makes the pros stand out from the rest.

I find it incredibly sad that the industry has come to this as I feel like the bubble is about to burst on the whole industry. In the past, there was a massive burst bubble for the web design industry. Web designers admittedly charged well over the odds for a simple website that never had a chance of generating a return on the investment. This led to many businesses believing that having a website was not a worthy investment for their business and opted not to have one at all. Web designers in the past year saw a massive rush by the companies without websites finally realising that the web was the way to go, but again a lot opted for the cheap option rather than choosing a true professional to do the work.

When I look around at the new so called experts that are leading the industry today, I find it hard to see any real quality. It seems to be the same old faces who you can rely on and trust. The problem with that is that a lot of these are too busy to handle the smaller clients and therefore the smaller online marketing companies are picking up the pieces and doing a pretty woeful job.

A recession is no better time to weed out the poor companies, but I just hope it doesn’t take too long for these guys to get found out!

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European City Guide Scam Facebook Group & Petition

The fight against the scam artists behind the European City Guide has taken another step forward with the creation of a Facebook group to help support the victims of this scam.

Two new groups have been created on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118990614787626 and http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=132559920101662

If you’ve been affected by this scam, why not voice your story at both of these groups and lend your support to try eradicate this scumbag company.

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