How to Create a Twitter List

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 25 January 2012
in Social Media

On Twitter, when you find a number of people who are good sources of news or who post interesting and valuable information on specific topics, you can group them together in a “list.”

This allows you to isolate individual members’ posts from the general mass of tweets, which makes it easier to follow posts on subjects you care about—such as online marketing, social media, SEO, developments in your field, and what your competitors are doing and saying.

However, like many things on Twitter, how to create a list is neither apparent nor intuitive.

To create a list, locate your "List" tab on either your Home or Profile view. On your Profile view, it is on a menu line that includes Favorites, Following, Followers, and Lists. On your Home view, it is on a menu line that includes your Twitter name, Activities, Searches, and Lists.

To create a list, click on the List tab, which brings up a menu that contains three items: Create a List, Lists You Follow, and Lists Following You.

Click on Create a List to bring up a form that allows you to enter a list name, list description, and the option to make the list public or private.

To add a person to your list, click on that member's generic person icon with the downward pointing black triangle (Twitter calls it a “shadowy figure”), which is located just to the right of the Following or Not Following tab. A menu pops up that allows you to “Add to list.”

Click on “Add to list” and a “Your lists” menu appears. A list of your lists appears, and you can add a person to an existing list by checking it off.

You also have the option of creating a new list for that person. Click on “Create a list” and the menu appears to fill in a name, description, and public or private setting.

Your Lists tab will now contain all the lists you have created under “Lists by you.”

To remove a person from a list, click on the list, bring up that person, click on his or her profile picture, and the full profile will appear at the right. Click on the generic person icon, and when the menu appears, click on “Add to list.” In the box that appears for that list’s name, uncheck the person and he or she is removed.

Once you’ve created a list, you can edit its settings or delete the list by clicking the Edit and Delete icons. You can mention and link to a list in a tweet by preceding the name of the list with a forward slash (/).

Also be aware that Twitter has placed the following limitations on lists:

  • 20 lists permitted per user
  • 500 users permitted per list
  • List names cannot exceed 25 characters
  • List names cannot begin with a numerical character

As Twitter informs us, it is currently not possible to add yourself to a list. Also, there is no feature that enables users or list owners to send a message to every user on a list.

Tags: Untagged

Software to Drive Your Online Community

Posted by Karen D. Schwartz
Karen D. Schwartz
With over 25 years of technology writing experience, Karen has worked at leading publications including CIO an...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 25 January 2012
in Your Website

Social Engine is a company determined to stay on the cutting edge. The web-based software powers more than 8,000 community sites (social networks, online communities or websites). But the company’s philosophy goes much further than just being the community software development platform of choice. It’s based on the philosophy that the community is the best arbiter of what’s useful and relevant, and it backs up that claim by allowing any developers to manipulate the source code or even the front end code.
 
“Our platform is 100% customizable. We don’t limit third-party developers as to how they can customize our software,” explains Community Manager Jasper Aguila.
 
And developers are taking advantage of it. Out of all of the social networking software on the market, Social Engine boasts the most plug-ins—nearly 600 and counting. Some of them are very creative, such as Social DNA/OpenID Connect, which allows users to create a social hub around a member’s social identity on a website. The Community Ads Plug-in lets users create targeted ad campaigns on their sites that include classified ads, events and videos, and it integrate with Social Engine’s payment system, so it can charge users for ads based on clicks, views or days, with different pricing models. Then there is the Directory/Pages plug-in, which lets you create a directory system for businesses, products, activities, etc., with navigation and search engine optimized pages. And that’s just three of nearly 600.
 
Social Engine is doing well in its category, but it plans to continue innovating. Up next, Aguila says, is finding a way to get on the curation bandwagon. Curation—a way of filtering content effectively based on user preferences and other factors—is a hot concept right now. In January, for example, Twitter acquired Summify, which helps user filter their social media streams. Twitter surely plans to use some aspects of Summify’s technology in its own site.
 
“We’re committed to keep evolving with the web, and since Web 3.0 will be all about curating content, that’s where we want to be,” Aguila said.

Tags: Untagged

Expensify vs. Concur Breeze for Small Biz Expense Management

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 23 January 2012
in Management

Tracking and managing monthly expenses is a tedious task that many small businesses perform manually.

Two of the leading solutions that have emerged to automate the expense management process are Expensify and Concur Breeze.

Both products are aimed at small businesses with less than 100 employees and both are relatively new (Expensify launched in 2008, Concur Breeze in 2010).

However, the heritage, and personas, of the two solutions differ. As with a number of innovative, next-generation SaaS products (such as Xero for accounting and BatchBlue for CRM), Expensify was built from the ground up as a modern SaaS expense management solutions for small businesses.

Concur, on the other hand, is the established enterprise market leader, its market-leading enterprise product having launched in 1993, and it has come down-market to field a product for small businesses.  

Both Expensify and Concur Breeze offer a similar checklist of features, including importing credit card charges and managing the expense reporting process online. However, the manner in which the applications enable you to perform these tasks differs.

As with the best of the new applications, Expensify’s user interface is friendly and setup is incredibly easy: just type your e-mail address or connect with your Google account and you’re ready to roll.

As one Expensify reviewer remarked in response to a Comparz.com survey, “What setup process? I just logged in with my Google account.” 

Concur’s setup and configuration, which can be previewed in an online demo, is more involved.  The demo also gives you a feel for the larger organization roots and functionality of the product. 

And indeed, user reviews reflect a feeling of older-generation technology for Concur Breeze—with some users reporting slower performance and more manual operations required.

As one user reported, “After evaluating both options we went with Expensify because of its cleaner design—much easier to set up and use.”

Expensify CEO David Barett is on record as saying that Concur Breeze is handcuffed in its effort to compete with Expensify because it cannot incorporate too many good features and “risk cannibalizing their high-margin customers.”

Pricewise, Expensify is free for up to two users. After that, it is $4 per users per month. Concur is priced at $8 per user per month.

Both companies offer a free trial, so take a look and see which one fits your needs and preferences.

Tags: Untagged

SEO Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Combat Google's Blocked Keywords

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 20 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

SEO Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Combat Google's Blocked Keywords

 

Google’s new keyword blocking policy has created roadblocks and headaches for SEOs.  As Internet marketer Ian Lurie writes, “I’d promised myself I’d stop ranting about Google’s ongoing analytics assassination. But I checked my data for this blog, today, and I’m missing 19.5% of my keyword data:”

 

Spurred into action by the keyword blockages, Ian and a number of other industrious souls have formulated workarounds to regain their lost data.

Avinash Kaushik on his Occam’s Razor blog was among the first to offer a solution to locate the missing Google keywords, using a rather involved technique he calls “smarter data analysis.”

 

Also offering workaround suggestions is Cyrus Shepard, whose “7 Best SEO Tips for (not provided) Keywords” references Kaushik’s solution and offers several more approaches, including one that many critics believe is Google's aim in instituting the policy—to pressure marketers into buying the missing data.

 

Adam Audette, who offers three solutions for regaining lost SEO query data, exudes a positive, can-do attitude about conquering the problem.

“First of all, don’t panic!” says Audette. “Let me reassure those of you who are legitimately concerned about this: it’s not a severe problem, and we can work through it. Yes, it’s not at all ideal, and it does make our work harder. But it is not impossible to work around.”

 

Also taking a stiff-upper-lip approach is AJ Kohn, who offers encouragement and a technique for teasing out the missing referral data on his Blind Five Year Old blog.

 

“Don’t get me wrong,” says Kohn, “I’m not happy about the missing data, nor the double standard between paid and organic clicks.”

 

Adam Heitzman in “How to Address Google’s ‘Not Provided’ Keywords” offers approaches for extracting the missing data from landing pages and cites a new module Google has added to Google Analytics in “response to the backlash against this new policy.”

 

As Heitzman notes, the tool is limited to only 1,000 queries per day and 1,000 of the most visited landing pages over a 30-day period. “Even worse,” he says, “the reports aren’t actually tied to specific landing pages.”

 

Also offering a solution for what she calls the “Not Provided Conundrum” is Lisa King of CDG Interactive. Lisa’s solution relies on having a comprehensive history of analytics data in order to make comparisons.

 

Dan Barker at eConsultancy in a post entitled “How to steal some 'not provided' data back from Google” offers a hack he devised to retrieve some of the lost data.

 

In another approach, Ian Lurie uses Google’s Webmaster Tools to attempt to uncover the missing data. Recapturing the lost data is not an easy exercise, says Lurie, who writes, “Compared to digging keyword data out of Google’s lovely (not provided) statistic, lead into gold woulda been a cinch.”


The workaround techniques that Lurie and others have devised tend to be work intensive, which points to an obvious need for an off-the-shelf solution to counter the problem. This is where gShift Labs has stepped in, adding a “Not Provided” reporting capability to its Web Presence Optimizer product.

 

Commenting on Lurie’s approach, Chris Adams, founder and CTO of gShift Labs, describes the technique used in Web Presence Optimizer to obtain the missing keywords. Adams says Lurie’s technique is promising and that he will investigate whether it might be incorporated into gShift’s solution.

 

As we see, there is a lot of effort being put into attacking this problem. If you’re among those frustrated by the loss of your Google keyword referral data, try these techniques and join the enterprising band in their mission to take back the missing keyword data.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged
Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • InnomaxMediaLLP
    InnomaxMediaLLP says #
    A big thanks to the writers of this information. I think it is totally up to date and clear some important issues of people. http...

Google's Keyword Blocking Taking a Toll on SEO

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 18 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

Since Google began blocking keywords from web analytics tools, the SEO community has watched keenly to see how much data was being withheld and how the changes would impact their ability to perform their jobs.

 

Reports from the field show that the amount of data being blocked is serious—in the 20% to 50% range—and is much larger than the estimate of “single-digit percentages” that Google spokesperson Matt Cutts said would be blocked.

 

As Rand Fishkin reports in a detailed survey on the SEOmoz blog, the amount of blocked data rose above 10% in November and has risen into the 20%+ range on many sites, with blockages on a number sites as high as 50%.

Others also are reporting Google keyword blockages in the 20% to 30% to 50% range. Nick Stamoulis, for example, reports that he as seen keyword blockages “up as high as 40%!”

 

As Rachelle King writes, “If you’ve been reading about the numerous complaints on huge amounts of lost keyword knowledge based on Google’s new encrypted search for logged in users, you’re not the only one.”

The keywords being blocked are the referral data that lead visitors to a site, and are valuable for optimizing an organization’s search engine strategy. The missing keywords, which are showing up in analytics tools as “not provided,” can be detrimental to an organization’s SEO and marketing efforts.

 

As Louis Camassa writes, “When working to increase your search engine visibility, it is critical to know the value of the keywords/phrases you are targeting….With Google’s new move to block this feedback, we are losing out on valuable information needed to make critical business decisions.”

 

In a blog post entitled “Google Creates a Keyword Black Hole Negatively Impacting SEO,”Mark Plumb writes, “As someone who creates Internet content, I believe hiding keyword search referral data from unpaid search results impairs my ability to deliver high quality content to my audience and my clients’ target markets.”

 

Plumb’s sentiments are echoed by many others, including Josh Braaten, who, in an open letter on the SEOmoz blog, chides Google for its actions and writes, “I want my data back.”

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged
Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • InnomaxMediaLLP
    InnomaxMediaLLP says #
    Latest and up to date information, well I like it. Please share similar information with people. http://www.innomaxmedia.org/onlin...

Online Recruiting Apps: MaxHire vs. Sendouts

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 17 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

MaxHire and Sendouts are among the top-rated online applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that automate the hiring process for recruiters.  

How do they compare?

 

Both MaxHire and Sendouts enable HR workers to pull candidates’ resumes from job sites and other sources, parse and search resumes, and track candidates’ online activities. They both include workflow for structuring the data gathering, calendaring, interviewing, and hiring process.

 

Both tools integrate sales, recruiting, and marketing functions and provide their own proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) system as part of their package.

 

Pricewise, they both start at $99 per user. Both integrate with assorted third-party applications and both are customizable. Both provide e-mail and phone support. 

 

Although the programs are similar in many respects, their particular tools and capabilities vary, as do the add-ons and third-party products to which they link. For example, while both provide communication capabilities via e-mail, mobile devices, and texting, Sendouts has voice over IP (VoIP) integration, while MaxHire lacks this function.

 

Their mobile capabilities also differ. MaxHire’s mobile support is a portal for applicants to apply for jobs, while Sendouts enables recruiters to access its database of candidates via mobile devices.

 

The programs also provide different sets of tools to make it easier for recruiters to access and visualize information. Sendouts offers a Dashboard and Mini Profiles to enable workers to assess candidates, campaigns, and other factors at a glance rather than accessing and scrolling through many sites and records. A Recon tool is offered as an add-on to target and score candidates.

 

MaxHire provides dashboards and assessment tools aimed at monitoring and refining the recruitment, sales, and marketing processes, including key-performance metrics.

 

With social media becoming more integral to the recruiting process, the vendors have incorporated social functions into their products. Two new social features Sendouts has added are a Social Bar that provides access to candidates’ social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google from their Sendout profiles, and a Social Share feature that enables recruiters to post job opportunities to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

MaxHire provides one-click access to candidates’ social network profiles, linking profiles on more than 45 social networks to each person in its database. It also provides built-in LinkedIn searching to search and import LinkedIn profiles without leaving the program.  

 

Among the new features Sendouts has introduced are integration with voice-mail systems (VMSs), a business rules engine, a custom reporting engine, and a new API (application programming interface) for custom integration.

In response to a Comparz.com survey, MaxHire and Sendouts each had a strong showing of user advocates that professed to be highly satisfied with the setup, support, customization, and overall functionality of the programs. These responses jibe with those of users on LinkedIn and elsewhere.


Bottom Line: It’s good to have these kinds of choices—two strong programs with similar prices. There are differences, so you should evaluate each program to determine which features, functionality, and user interface best meet your particular needs.

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged
Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    I used Sendouts for 2 years and MaxHire for roughly 1 year. Both are matched fairly evenly with add-ons and the ability to source ...

How to Buy a New Facebook Sponsored Ad

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 12 January 2012
in Social Media

Facebook’s sponsored News Feed ads have gone live. These ads (now called "Featured") enable you to link an advertisement to what a Facebook member has indicated he or she likes. If you are interested in buying a Facebook sponsored ad for your business, the process is fairly simple.

Begin by accessing the Facebook Ads page. 

 

Click on the “Create an Ad” button in the upper right and a form appears that allows you to choose the type and design of your ad via menu options. You can select either “Sponsored Stories” or normal “Facebook Ads.”

 

When you choose Sponsored Stories, a screen appears that enables you to select targeting information—the location of where your ad will appear and demographic data, including age, sex, relationship status, education, interests, etc.

 

You can input any specific interests of your target audience or choose from a "Broad Category Targeting" menu. Clicking a broad category on the left column—such as Music, Movie/film, or Family Status—gives you a number of finer-grain options on the right for that category.

 

You also select who will see the ad among fans and the general public.

Another portion of the form enables you to choose your ad scheduling and spending options—including your currency, time zone, and your ad’s start time. You can select the default “Run my campaign continuously starting today” or click on the calendar options and choose dates and times.

 

Lower down, you select your campaign budget and input a dollar amount to spend per day or over the lifetime of the ad.

 

You also select a bid amount. The form provides a field for you to input your maximum bid, and the tool offers a suggested bid. You are given the option of clicking on “Use Suggested Bid,” which inputs the bid amount the tool suggests.

 

Here's an example of a suggested bid: 

 

"Based on your targeting options, Facebook suggests a bid of $0.99 per click. You may pay up to this much per click, but you will likely pay less.

 

Note: Tax is not included in the bids, budgets and other amounts shown."

Clicking on “Set a Different Bid (Advanced Mode)” allows you to specify a different bid amount and gives you the option of paying per number of impressions (CPM), which is the cost per thousands of times the ad loads, or paying per click (CPC).

 

Facebook also gives you an Estimated Reach for your ad, which appears in the upper right corner of your screen, based on the demographics you have chosen.

 

Finally, a ”Review Ad” button at the bottom brings up a screen summarizing your order. You can hit “Edit” to change the parameters or “Place Order” to set the ad in motion.

 

For help, a button in the form of an envelope appears at the bottom of the

page labeled “Questions about your ad?” This link brings up a form you can fill in and send to the Facebook Help Center.


A “Design Your Ad” FAQ provides answers and details about the process. For example, your ad must include an image and must include a title and body, and is limited to 25 characters for the title and 135 characters for the body.


Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Zen Cart for e-Commerce for Small Businesses: A Mixed Blessing

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 11 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

With online commerce booming, many small businesses are looking for an inexpensive way to set up shop and sell online. However, selecting an e-commerce solution can be a difficult exercise.

 

Among the free open-source offerings often considered is Zen Cart, which bills itself as “the art for e-commerce.” Zen Cart is spinoff of osCommerce, an earlier open source product.

 

Zen Cart’s selling points are that it is free, rich in functionality, and has a vibrant community of supporters. While Zen Cart has its devotees, mastering the product seems to require a compatible personality, strong constitution, and tenacity.

 

Many developers find Zen Cart complex, confusing, and difficult to customize.

Typical is Justin, who writes, “having tried to customize Zen Cart for a small business client recently, I have to be honest and say that I found the current version of the system well nigh unusable. The admin interface is extremely complex, very difficult for non-technical clients to understand, with far too many options.”

 

Similarly, writes Deborah, "I have been using Zen Cart for a year now. Didn't know it would be so confusing,”

 

A good number of developers also complain about the difficulty of getting support, which is limited to online forums. Says Ma128, “"I set up my shop using Zen Cart. It wasn't easy and like others have said already the Zen Cart forums help you but i often had to ask questions multiple times because they gave answers in tech talk when i wanted help in newbie terms."

 

A common complaint is the difficulty changing the look and feel of Zen Cart’s skins. Almost all Zen Cart critics agree that the solution is unattractive out of the box and requires customization, but the effort required to change the look and feel has soured many users on the product.

 

Said Luciano, "I have been trying to build a webshop with this for weeks. I can honestly say I hate Zen Cart. It probably works fine if you use it out of the box with no extras and don't care about how it looks." 

 

The development time and cost required to configure and customize a solution is the gotcha of open-source software in general. If Zen Cart stumps professional developers, a small business owner with limited technical expertise or resources will also be challenged.

 

In that case, hiring a consultant to configure and support the system is required, which can be expensive. If you do hire a consultant, look beyond the installation cost. These solutions tend to require upgrading and revisions, so be prepared to shell out a continual stream of cash in consulting fees.

 

Also be wary of consultants who promote Zen Cart as simple and easy with no drawbacks or weaknesses. They likely have a vested interest in selling you their services to configure Zen Cart.


Bottom Line: Zen Cart boasts many satisfied and dissatisfied users. It may be worth considering if you are willing to accept it as is, have the constitution to learn the program and wrangle with it, or have the budget to hire a consultant to help configure and support the solution.

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Identifying Your Business's Key Influencers on Twitter – Should You Care?

Posted by Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak works at PTC, a major Boston-based software company focusing on product lifecycle management, as ...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 10 January 2012
in Social Media

No doubt there are people online who can make or break a product or service with a review or comment.  Conversely, a chorus of tiny screams might not even get noticed.  Yet they are all important to some degree.  After all, these are your customers. 

 

The reality is that all the opinions matter.  But they matter to varying degrees.  And what confounds that is the employees of a brand have a fairly fixed bandwidth.  The looming question for many brand managers and business owners is this: How can I pay the right amount of attention, the right kind of attention, to the right audience, to have the best (not necessarily the largest) impact on my business?

 

Enter the notion of influencer identification.  In a nutshell, these tools do what we’ve all been trying to do manually for a long time: find the people who matter and who people seem to seek.  Many of these tools are digital and track some form of social footprint to see where these people are online, who pays attention, who shares their content, what they talk about, how much juice they have, and the like.  Each of these tools computes these scores a bit differently, and that’s frankly what sets apart one tool from another.

 

I won’t review them all here. David Strom of ReadWriteWeb did a nice job of this back in October 2011 in "17 Alternatives to Klout."  If you include Klout, you have 18 options.  And I can’t stress enough what David emphasizes in item 1 of his issues list: “There is no single number that can really be universally useful.“

 

That is, use these tools with a shaker of salt. Which is not to say that they are not to be trusted. But PR and communications professionals performed the task of influencer management long before these tools were around. That type of sleuthing work doesn’t stop because there are some new digital kids on the block. 

 

Instead, look for ways to take the output of these tools and augment what you, as a PR pro, communications pro, or business owner are already doing: listening, reading, identifying, reaching out, forging relationships, long before the ask and long before any sale.

 

A tool I like to use is called FollowerWonk. See tip #5 here from Christopher Penn on how (and why) to use FollowerWonk. It’s a bit manual, but the mathematics behind it are transparent. As in, there’s no guessing why so and so ranks higher in influence for such and such than someone else.

 

Another powerful Twitter search tool is Topsy (not 100 percent squarely focused on influencer management, but it flags influencers). Topsy is just Twitter search on steroids, but if you squint a little, you can use the results in a different way to help you uncover some insights. It just takes a little work.

 

So, if you have money, go with one of the paid tools. If you have time (instead of money), use some of the free tools.  In addition, comment here, or find a discussion group on LinkedIn for others who are using free tools and techniques to identify and dissect influencers. 

 

And if you have both time and money, I suggest you do both. Digging in manually and then comparing what you find to what the tools discover will be immensely valuable.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Unfollowed on Twitter: Feelings and Phobias

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 09 January 2012
in Social Media

In the process of researching and reviewing Twitter unfollower tracking tools, I discovered that being unfollowed arouses a good deal of passion, reflection, and conflict. I’m sure the issue would make a fascinating psychological study.

To a sensitive soul, a Twitter unfollow can be a devastating blow.

 

As Jamie Hahn writes, “Getting unfollowed on Twitter hurts. Even after almost a year in the Twitterverse, I still feel the sharp sting of rejection each time my follower count drops.”

 

Similarly, Jeannie Moon writes, “It is like middle school with all the cliques and royalty and the unexplained dumpings. I like to think I’m past it, but I do wonder what I did wrong when I’m unfollowed. Still insecure after all these years.”

 

Similarly, says John Bolyard, “If someone unfollows me it just means they are looking for information not related to my tweets. Nothing personal.”

Very adult and reasonable attitudes. (Are they in denial?)

 

Others are not so sanguine, however, and for those who see being unfollowed as an affront, how to deal with unfollowers is a charged issue. Eye-for-an-eye retaliation often is deemed an appropriate response.

 

Among those who see it this way is Loralee Choate, who writes, “I have a policy…if you don’t follow me, I don’t follow you. Plain and simple.”

Scary Mommy Jill Smokler in her Twitter etiquette guide also takes a hard-line, tit-for-tat view on unfollowers: “Have you ever been followed by someone only to follow them back to be unfollowed? How rude is that? Two can play that game, so consider yourself dumped.”

 

Moving beyond feelings of inadequacy, shame, and retribution is another common theme. Under the guise of coming out of the unfollowed closet, Liz Strauss explores her feelings and ultimately looks to transcend them, writing that:

 

"I don’t ‘get’ all the reasons people have for why they follow and unfollow folks. I suspect that some are as irrational as the reasons we buy things, sell things, and marry the people we do. Contrary to urban legend I don’t know anyone who’s died of ‘unfollow embarrassment.’ ”

 

A very mature perspective.

 

How about you? Been unfollowed? (Does a woodchuck chuck wood?) How do you feel about it?

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Stop Wasting Your Time with Outdated SEO Tactics

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 06 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

Many organizations and SEO practitioners are wasting their time, and money, by using outmoded SEO practices, according to experts.

 

As web strategist John-Henry Scherck informs us: “There are a ton of SEO strategies and tactics that used to work well, but now have little to no value.”

 

The problem, Scherck explains, is that “SEO changes on a constant basis, and what worked even as little as six months ago might be completely useless today.”

 

SEO practices that Scherck cites as valueless today include:

  • Link Exchanges
  • Search Engine Submission
  • Meta Keywords
  • Alt Tag Stuffing
  • Title Attribute in Links
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Hidden Text
  • Online Press Releases

Scherck says further that Google’s Panda update “shook up the SEO world,” with the result that “the emphasis of SEO changed from creating links to providing value – it was a major shift for the entire industry.”

 

Three SEO practices that Google’s Panda updates made obsolete, says Scherck, are:

  • Blog Commenting (only for the sake of a link)
  • Article Marketing Directories
  • Publishing Thin Content

 

In “6 SEO Tactics That Will Waste Your Time” the Reciprocal Consulting blog informs us that, “Many SEOs are still optimizing websites as if they are living in 1997. And they’re teaching their clients to do it too.”

 

The six common practices Reciprocal Consulting lists says are outmoded include:

  • Keyword Stuffing 
  • Meta Keywords 
  • Search Engine Submission 
  • Header Tags 
  • Multiple Pages for Similar Keywords 
  • Nofollow Attributes 

“No serious SEO will tell you these tactics work,” says Reciprocal Consulting. “If you hear it, run the other way.”

 

Similar lists of outdated SEO tactics are offered by Charles Sipe in “5 Ways To Waste Your Time On SEO” and Danielle Buffardi in “8 SEO Tactics You No Longer Need.”

 

“Since your time is money, there’s no need to waste it on SEO practices that really aren’t going to help you out in the long run,” says Buffardi. 

 

A list of 12 obsolete SEO practices also is provided The Razors Edge in “SEO Tactics That Are a Waste of Your Time.” These tactics are “either outdated, over abused, or never really worked that well to begin with,” says the author.

 

Finally, web marketing consultant Jon-Mikel Bailey in “Stop Trying to Game the System” advises organizations to quit relying on SEO “tricks” for showing up higher in the search results. Instead, he says, the secret to success is to produce “a quality website that offers quality information, correctly and effectively.” 

Tags: Untagged

Marketo Spark vs. Pardot: Comparison of Top Marketing Automation Providers

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 04 January 2012
in Comparz Blog

With its new Spark offering, Marketo has taken aim at marketing automation competitors in the small business space, among them Pardot.

 

How do Marketo Spark and Pardot compare?

 

As analyst David Raab notes, “the news here is price.” Spark starts at $750 per month for 30,000 emails per month, and is obviously positioned to undercut Pardot’s entry-level Professional edition, which is priced at $1,000 per month for the same 30,000 emails per month.

 

Pardot has carved out a niche by providing an all-in-one marketing automation solution for companies of about 20 to 200 employees that want to move away from standalone email marketing, lead management, and web analytics to a single comprehensive solution. Pardot’s main selling points are competitive pricing, easier setup and learning curve, and very good support.


Marketo, meanwhile, has made its name as a leader in the higher end of the market (its flagship Professional Edition is $2,000 per month), offering enterprise solutions that are generally seen as relatively easier to deploy but less robust than solutions from Eloqua.

 

With Spark, Marketo has made setup and configuration easier through online tutorials. Marketo also includes one-on-one mentoring sessions with marketing experts as part of Spark subscriptions. However, enterprises often hire consultants to configure these types of marketing automation systems, and smaller businesses with limited resources may still find Spark challenging.

 

A feature-by-feature comparison shows that Marketo  Spark and Pardot offer essentially the same basic menu of marketing automation capabilities—email marketing, landing pages and forms, lead nurturing, lead grading and scoring, integration with leading CRM systems, social media features, and reporting and analytics.

 

With Spark, Marketo has made its low-end offering more attractive by discontinuing its $1,200 per month Small Business Edition and adding features that the older offering lacked.

 

In assessing Marketo Spark, Raab finds that “the bottom line is that similar capabilities were already available at a similar price point from Marketo and others. Spark just doesn't change much.”
 

However, a $250 per month savings may be enough to sway price-conscious small business users towards Marketo Spark.


Bottom Line: As Raab points out, there is a surprisingly wide variation in the specific features available in different products, and the best way to choose a system is to identify your particular requirements, then evaluate and select the system that best meets those needs. 

Tags: Untagged

Has Facebook Crossed the Line into Creepy?

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 27 December 2011
in Social Media

Eric Schmidt of Google, at the Washington Ideas Forum last October, in a widely reported comment said, “There is what I call the creepy line. The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

Has Facebook crossed the creepy line?

Commenting on the amount of personal data that Facebook presents in its new Timeline, Lakatoo CTO Ben Werdmuller said that “it's undeniably, pervasively creepy, to a level we've hitherto been unprepared for in human society.”

Similarly, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, discussing Facebook's new frictionless sharing feature that divulges more information about members publicly, said, “There's a big problem, however: Users may be 'creeped out' by all this automated sharing of their Web activity and grow suspicious of the apps using it.”

Even more disturbing to many critics is Facebook’s selling its members’ data to third parties without the members’ knowledge or consent.

As The Wall Street Journal reported last October, “Many of the most popular applications, or ‘apps,’ on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies,”

As Robert X. Cringely and others describe it, selling members’ data, denying it, promising to stop when caught red handed, and then doing it again is Facebook’s modus operandi.

Repeatedly changing members’ privacy settings is part of the process, according to critics and privacy advocates.

As Valerie Helmbreck reported in "How Facebook sells your personal info—and gets away with it," the message from Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online, is that "each time Facebook touts a re-design or a new format, you can bet your last nickel that it’s being done as an excuse to re-set your privacy controls to a Facebook-designated default that lets the site’s owners peddle your info and activities far and wide.”

Helmbreck notes that more than a dozen privacy and consumer protection organizations have filed a complaint with the FCC claiming Facebook plays with privacy settings intentionally to make users’ personal info fair game for commercial use.

Facebook, meanwhile, continues to be caught tracking its members’ activities off the Facebook site, while continually denying that it is intentionally tracking them.

Said Bill Snyder in “Why Facebook is selling you out — and won't stop,” “Facebook has fooled us not just once, but over and over again, blithely exposing users' private information to any advertiser or creep who happens to get interested. It's a tired drama.”

In February 2011, Bianca Bosker reported that Facebook was moving forward with a plan to give third-party developers and external websites access to users' home addresses and cell phone numbers. 

The problem, as Bosker explained, was “Facebook's willingness to change the rules of play—first encouraging people to share personal information with a more limited group of friends, then allowing that data to be accessed in new, unexpected ways.”

Dan Fletcher in Time Magazine wrote that Facebook was on the path to become “the Web’s sketchy Big Brother, sucking up our identities into a massive Borg brain to slice, dice and categorize for advertisers.”

Fletcher noted that Facebook was not a philanthropic organization, rather, “It's a business, and there's a tremendous business opportunity around Facebook's member data. The more updates Facebook gets you to share and the more preferences it entreats you to make public, the more data it's able to pool for advertisers.” 

This behavior does not sit well with privacy advocates, however. As Brad Stone wrote in “How Facebook sells your friends,” the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) was among those who filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Stone quotes Marc Rotenberg, EPIC’s executive director, as saying that people join Facebook to share their lives with friends, yet the information they reveal "is being used by strangers for completely unrelated commercial purposes." That, he said, “is a little unsettling."

Many critics believe Facebook has gone too far, and has gone about its business in too deceptive a manner.

Said ZephyrP on Hacker News. “Facebook consistently disregards user privacy issues and doesn't work in a fashion many people believe to be ethical in any sense.”

Wrote Bill Snyder, “My buddy Robert X. Cringely wonders if Facebook is evil or merely incompetent. That's an easy one: both — not to mention arrogant and greedy.”

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

 

Tags: Untagged

In Tech Marketing, Truth Be Told, Size Makes a Difference

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 24 December 2011
in Comparz Blog

There is a thread on Focus.com that was sparked by the question, “Which technology vendors are doing a great job with their marketing and why?”

My answer was, “IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple. They have a lot of money, resources, experience, and can afford to hire armies of talented marketers.”

The plain truth is that, just as their size and market position give companies like Microsoft and Google immense market and monopolistic power, their money buys marketing and PR power that smaller companies cannot match.

While there are many innovative, well-executed,  energetic, and impressive technology marketing efforts by companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM, the big tech companies have advantages in the number of marketing people, resources, and money they can bring to bear.

The big guns can buy more banner ads, AdWords, and sponsorships. They can influence analysts, commission studies and whitepapers, and host media events, conferences, and spectacles. They can blanket stadiums with their names and logos, and they can buy expensive TV spots.

Besides large internal teams, these companies and their ilk have the funds to engage the most talented outside PR, communications, and ad agencies and have them devote their energies to their initiatives. They can fund internal teams and buy external market intelligence, competitive intelligence, and strategic marketing expertise.

Look at the companies that dominate the list of 2011 ITSMA Marketing Excellence Award Winners: IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, HP, SAP, Fujitsu, etc.

Just like their entrenched power and position enable the 1% oligarchy to control the economy and government, large tech companies are able to wield marketing power to their advantage. They also hire lobbyists, sway politicians, and practice their own brand of dirty tricks, smear campaigns, and black operations.

The good news for small businesses has been the Internet, social media, and SaaS CRM and marketing tools, which have leveled the playing field and enabled the Davids of the world to take on the Goliaths.

Like guerrilla rebels, small companies can be more lean, maneuverable, and clever in their guerrilla marketing initiatives.  

There will, of course, be the next  startup that fulfills its dream of becoming the next Microsoft, Google, or Facebook, propelling that fledgling firm into the elite ranks of those marketing behemoths.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

SEO Insurrection: Experts Up in Arms Over Google Changes

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 19 December 2011
in Online Marketing

There is a growing wave of anger and resentment towards Google by SEO experts incensed over Google’s recent decision to block what are known as “keyword referral data,” the search terms that lead a visitor to a website.

The outrage stems not only from the fact that the keyword data is being blocked, but that Google’s paying AdWords customers are able to see the data, which had been freely available to everyone previously.

Google claimed its motive for encrypting and blocking the keywords was to protect user privacy, but many in the SEO community see that as a not very convincing cover story.   

A more likely reason is that Google is trying to choke off access to the valuable keyword data to competing ad networks, said Aaron Wheeler of SEOmoz in an emergency blog post that analyzed the Google changes.

The net effect is that, for a percentage of searches, SEO practitioners will no longer be able to tell which keywords sent a logged-in Google visitor to a site. Instead of keywords appearing in their analytics dashboards, they see the words “Not Provided.” This, say SEO practitioners, affects their ability to perform their jobs.

When Google announced the change in October 2011, it said the number of blocked keywords would be insignificant, in the less than 10% range for most websites. However, SEO practitioners are reporting steadily climbing numbers in the 20% to 30% range.  Even low percentages of blocked keywords, some SEOs have said, can be detrimental to their efforts.

“What started as a minor inconvenience has turned into a nightmare for SEO companies that are now faced with the reality of inaccurate reporting and guessing games when it comes to analyzing their organic traffic,” wrote Will Gallahue on the Fahrenheit Marketing blog.

The issue is serious enough that SEOs are posting petitions and urging one another to speak to their representatives in Congress.

“There is a lot of, I think, fear and uncertainty right now in the analytics world,” wrote Aaron Wheeler of SEOmoz.

“This is a total abuse of Google's monopoly and I can't believe they would even think about this in the middle of their ongoing anti-trust investigation,” commented Drew Hammond on the SEOmoz blog.

“If Google starves white hat SEOs of the data we need to help them stay at the top, they may force us to help their competitors instead,” wrote the Stores Direct SEO practitioner on SEOmoz.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged
Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • Carrie Mezzie
    Carrie Mezzie says #
    Not everyone knows what SEO is. Can you provide some insight?

Twitter Unfollower Tracking Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 16 December 2011
in Social Media

It is a common and vexing issue for Twitter users: You notice that your follower count has declined, but you can’t tell who has unfollowed you. Twitter itself offers no tool to detect unfollowers. 

The desire to identify unfollowers is keen enough among Twitterers, however, that a good number of tools have been created that promise to uncover the treacherous souls who have abandoned you. 

While the promise is tantalizing, many of the tools deliver disappointing results.  In fact, some of the tools delivered no results, some only partial results, and none of the tools I tried was able to provide a complete historical record of those who had unfollowed me.

The tool that provided the purest and most direct unfollower hunting experience was who.unfollowed.me. It has a clean, simple interface and produces results quickly, but only shows you the most recent unfollowers—the past seven days. I was able to find and terminate 11 unfollowers in my first foray. Hasta la vista, baby! And two more unfollowers were delivered up later.

SocialBro also delivered up recent unfollowers in a satisfying manner, although the process was more involved and SocialBro's findings differed from who.unfollowed me's results.

SocialBro, a multifaceted twitter intelligence tool with a nice console, provides a lot of views and information, and "Recent Unfollows" is just one item on the "Your account" tab. You must press a synchronize button to sync your Twitter account with SocialBro, and a message tells you that unfollower tracking only works after your second synchronization. 

But voila! There they were, ferreted out and served up piping hot—nine fresh unfollowers. And SocialBro found six deserters who were different than those presented by who.unfollowed.me.  SocialBro also allows you to whack them back—check off each unfollower, hit an unfollow button, and SocialBro performs a mass automated unfollowing. Sweet. A yellow triangle with an exclamation point declares them unfollowed. Toast.

Like Friend or Follow, SocialBro also will show you who among those you follow is not reciprocating, and allow you to easily select multiple members and purge them en mass.

Other than who.unfollowed.me and SocialBro, nothing else came close to smoking out unfollowers.

Friend or Follow is a good-looking tool with a clean interface that delivers results quickly. However, it only shows you those who you follow and who are not following you back. It does not show you explicitly who has unfollowed you, or when. The functionality you get for free is limited, and a higher-level membership is $9.99 per month.

Your Tweeter Karma is similar to Friend or Follow but less slick. It delivers data fast and shows you those who you are following and who are not following you back, and gives you an easy way to unfollow them. But it does not show explicitly who unfollowed you. It’s free and offers a button for donations.

Goodbye, Buddy! bills itself as an unfollower detector, and it looks promising, but it came up empty. To use it, you simply go to the @goodbyebuddy Twitter page, hit follow, then visit the website. Goodbye, Buddy! presented a graph and stats, but produced zero unfollowers. Although it invited me to come back later, Goodbye, Buddy! gave me nothing, nada.

Twunfollow, a free e-mail alert unfollower service, was another disappointment. You sign up on the site, it verifies your e-mail address, and you select your alert options. However, it had no unfollower data initially for my account and provided no unfollower history. It later delivered an e-mail reporting that I had one unfollower, but did not identify the unfollower. Not an impressive showing.

Qwitter also failed to deliver a single unfollower, although it flashed a message on the screen that said, “We'll track your qwitters automatically from this moment on. In a week you can expect your first qwitter email notification.” I’ll be waiting.

All in all, the tools proved a motley collection that fell short in their ability to serve up unfollowers. Several of the tools will generate a complete list of who is not following you back, and the unfollowers will likely be among them. But for pinpointing unfollowers, a combination of who.unfollowed.me and SocialBro seems the best you can do.

Comparz has user reviews and ranking of social media management tools.  Click here to view Comparz' social media management software rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Social Media ROI: Still Chasing Its Tail

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 15 December 2011
in Social Media

I examined the controversial topic of social media ROI in depth in a series of articles in 2009. (See “Social Media’s Elusive ROI”). Two years later, social media ROI is still a nagging and hotly contested issue.

Olivier Blanchard has noticed this too, and is extremely frustrated, writing in a recent post:

“As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today, less than a month from 2012. We’ve talked about this topic how many times?” 

What’s the problem?

One key difficulty lies in the inability to trace or correlate, with any certainty, conversations that take place in social media networks about products with the eventual sale of products that may occur. 

Another impediment is that many marketers do not believe that social media’s aim should be to sell anything, or should be measured at all.

The argument basically pits two camps against one another—the moneybaggers and aura builders. The aura builders believe social media has obvious value to a business, like PR, but the value is not quantifiable and need not be quantified or justified.  

The moneybaggers believe no marketing should be undertaken without the goal of selling and making money and that all social media efforts should have a clear and justifiable ROI case. (See “ROI Is The Thing, The ONLY THING When It Comes to Social” by  Tim O’Connor.)

As Rick Curtis of Amaze said of this problem, “Social practitioners favor soft metrics, such as reputation, engagement and participation, whilst senior management prefer metrics that are very much at the hard end of the scale.”

Pressured to produce ROI figures for social media, a number of analysts and marketers in the moneybagger camp have put forward formulas and methodologies they say solve the problem—among them Olivier Blanchard.

That his formula has not been widely recognized and adopted is the root of Blanchard’s indignation. “At the very least,” he says, “they should have heard a rumor that the ‘question’ had been answered. Right?”

Curtis, meanwhile, cites an Altimeter Group report that showed that 74% of the corporate social strategists surveyed said their primary duty was to measure and report on return on investment of social media, with almost one-half saying the creation of ROI measurements was their top internal objective for the forthcoming year.

“But,” Curtis says, “developing a commonly agreed set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for social media is notoriously difficult.” 

Curtis and the corporate social media strategists he cites obviously don’t consider the ROI matter settled.

But Blanchard has no patience for them. “What will it take for the asshats pretending to be experts to stop talking about ROI as if it were some arcane mythical metric?” he asks.

Meanwhile, there are many marketers and metrics specialists who continue to scratch their heads while pronouncing social media ROI unclear, unanswered, and too difficult to formulate.  Among them is Nick Robinson, who in "Social Media ROI: Why the Status Quo Is Broken" wrote: 

“One of the hottest topics within the social media space is ROI or return on investment. The problem with the formula is that marketers don’t have the ability to connect 10 interactions on 10 different social networks to bottom line revenue or cost reduction.”

Santorini Simon is another puzzled marketer, writing in “Social Media ROI and being realistic” that social media ROI is not clear to him, and musing that "Leads generated via social media oriented destinations convert (sometimes, generally) to trackable website traffic which you then funnel to a sales transaction = Measurable ROI…It’s not that simple, though…" 

Among those who see ROI as irrelevant is Sherilynn Macale, who in "Social media ROI: It's not about immediate results" wrote:

“To borrow a phrase from Gary Vaynerchuk, the author of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller, Crush It!, measuring immediate return on investment in social media is like measuring the ROI of your mom and everything she’s done for you." 

Blanchard, however, is apoplectic over what he sees as the blindness of these marketers. "Seriously," he says, "you have to be either completely disconnected from the channels you claim to be an expert participant in, or purposely avoiding this stuff to still get it wrong." 

What's the resolution? There is none. Both camps are right, and both ways of looking at ROI are valid—for different aspects of social media. Some social media initiatives and gains are measurable and some are not. Some benefits are hard and some are soft. There is no single, simple, general formula for measuring ROI across all forms, and forums, of social media.

The answer, as it often is, is “It depends.”

Tags: Untagged

Why SaaS Makes Sense for Small Business

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 14 December 2011
in SaaS

While businesses of every size can benefit from SaaS, the business case for small businesses is particularly strong, which is why SaaS use among small businesses is skyrocketing.

Small businesses typically lack the specialized IT staff and expertise of larger enterprises, as well as their hardware, software, and maintenance budgets.

SaaS allows a small business to deploy enterprise-level applications with no IT staff and no investment in hardware and software licenses, no support fees, no ongoing upgrade and security patch installation, and no system monitoring and crisis troubleshooting.   

There is no need to research and plan for hardware and software deployments for each application, no development costs, and no gnarly installation troubles.

SaaS is affordable, easy to deploy, scalable, and can be up and running quickly.

A small business can obtain all the essential applications it needs to conduct business, as online software services and at low monthly rates or for free—including accounting, payroll, customer relationship management, marketing automation, e-mail marketing, online data storage and backup, web conferencing, and website creation and hosting.

While ROI calculators and whitepapers explaining the ROI of SaaS abound, small businesses know intuitively that SaaS is an incredible option and a great deal.

How do you find SaaS applications for your small business? Start with a site like Comparz.com, which identifies the top products in each of the above categories and provides expert reviews and user reviews of the leading providers’ offerings, allowing you to compare and select the products that meet your needs.

Reviewers and users will tell you why leading-edge SaaS products like MailChimp, iContact, XeroZoho BooksBackBlaze, DropBox, BatchBlue, Highrise CRM, JitterJamOptifyHubSpot,  Raven ToolsJoin.meYolaNimble, Gist, and more are among the best, brightest, most popular, and most affordable choices for small businesses.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

SaaS CRM Is an Unstoppable Force, to Larry Ellison’s Chagrin

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 13 December 2011
in Contact & Lead Management

The benefits of SaaS CRM for businesses of all sizes is so compelling that the rapid pace of its adoption should be no surprise.

And indeed, recent survey data from AMI-Partners shows that SaaS CRM for SMBs will see double-digit year-over-year growth in the next five years, with spending on SaaS CRM exceeding on-premise CRM by a margin of nearly four to one over this period.

While this may be good news for SMBs, the success of SaaS and SaaS CRM in general is causing Oracle CEO Larry Ellison no small amount of consternation. If you haven’t been tuned in, Ellison has been fighting a long-running and rancorous battle against cloud computing, SaaS, and leading SaaS CRM vendor Salesforce.com.

One noteworthy assault occurred in a June 2008 earnings call in which Ellison dismissed the SaaS industry and Saleforce.com as over-hyped and failing to achieve enough profitability. Said Ellison, "If you look at the leader, Salesforce.com, they don't make very much money and they've been at it for almost 10 years," adding that, "it's hard to point to any software-as-a-service provider that's doing a good job of improving its profitability."

While Ellison has, over time, begrudgingly accepted the inevitability of SaaS and has presided over the launch of a variety of Oracle SaaS offerings, he continues to put down SaaS and Salesforce.com at every opportunity.

In the latest episode, Ellison’s public animosity towards SaaS and Salesforce reached a climax when Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote at October’s Oracle OpenWorld was abruptly canceled and Benioff held a makeshift keynote at a nearby hotel.

During his own address at Oracle OpenWorld, Ellison again slammed Salesforce, calling it “the Roach Motel of cloud services.”

Ellison’s rancor towards cloud computing and SaaS, while unseemly, is understandable. SaaS is Ellison’s worst nightmare, threatening to eliminate myriad Oracle on-premise enterprise database licenses and their support fees, a lucrative business he labored to build for the past 34 years.

Although Ellison appears to be tilting at windmills in his attacks on SaaS, his personal investments, as CRM analyst Bob Thompson points out, tell a different story. “He's the major investor behind NetSuite, which recently went public and earned him a tidy increase on his investment,” notes Thompson, adding, “If not a true believer in SaaS, at least he's hedging his bets!"

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Top Tools for Tracking Your Reach on Twitter

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 12 December 2011
in Social Media

For marketers, bloggers, PR practitioners, and others who want to track the reach and impact of their tweets, there are many tools out there that are freely available online, but only a few that are really useful.

Tweetreach is one of the best, a great tool that allows you to enter keywords and then presents in a clear and nicely organized format an analysis of the tweets that incorporate those keywords.  Type in a topic, title, or name, and Tweetreach will tell you who tweeted and retweeted the phrase and how many people it reached. 

The only downside to Tweetreach is that its results are ephemeral, lasting only for a few days and then disappearing, so you have to use it immediately to track results.  

A more permanent record is available through Topsy, an excellent tool that allows you to search for topics by keyword and gives you the source and a full trail of tweets for the topic, flagging those members it deems influential.

Another good way to track the reach of your tweets is to use Twitter’s own search feature. Enter keywords, and it provides a good record of the Twitter members who have tweeted those words and phrases.

Some people also like Monitter for real-time tracking, but its dark screen is difficult to read and navigate.

Collectively, these tools can give you a good idea of how well your topics are resonating.

In a different vein are tools such as Tweet Grader and Tweetlevel that give you a profile of your influence on Twitter, a personal snapshot with stats and scores that are amusing but fairly superficial.  

Tools like SocialBro and Twitalyzer also give you insights into your influence and the makeup and influence of other Twitter members and followers, and you may find the data they provide useful.

There are many more free Twitter tools available for dedicated and general purposes that you can discover on lists like The Ultimate Collection of Free Twitter Tools, Twenty-Six Twitter Tools to Track Tweets, 100 Top Twitter ToolsThe 18 Best Tools to Analyze Your Twitter Hotness, and The Only Twitter Applications List You'll Ever Need.

Sample them and see which ones work best for you.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

Tags: Untagged

Enter your email address below to get the best insights on how technology can help you grow your business.




contributor ad