Google Chrome Frame

Today, Google released Google Chrome Frame, a plugin for Windows XP / Vista users to take advantage of richer javascript experiences. After installing a the plugin, you can specify a separate meta tag on your website, so users with the plugin installed can indentify themselves, and take advantage of the functionality.

I haven’t given Chrome Frame codes a go yet, but as much as I am excited about the possiblity of the new functionality, I also know in the back of my mind how long I’d have to wait for advanced web technologies like this to reach even 1% of a website’s audience (that especially if you are expecting a non tech savvy audience).

Back in 2005, Seth Godin posted about “stats that cannot be true“, and he mentions that its “inconceivable to me that 40% of the audience knows how to use their browser to erase their cookies.”

And what he says is true today, 4 years down the road.

Today, I see people in Singapore (a country with one of the highest Internet Penetration Rates in the world), still using Internet Explorer 6, Windows 98/95, and not knowing the difference between Microsoft Windows (the OS) and Microsoft Office (the applications suite).

So much for advanced web technologies.

Organic SEO and Building Marketing Assets

Just read another very thought provoking Seth Godin post on assets in marketers.

For a marketer, an asset is a tool or a platform, something you can use over and over without using it up. In fact, it’s something that gets better the more you invest… Running an ad is an expense. Building a brand people trust is an asset.

This is something traditional business owners have to realise when marketing online. Its easy to discount an organic SEO campaign by comparing the immediate ROI (or even if you consider the ROI of a project lasting 6-12 months, or longer). Afterall, when you pay to blast an ad out in the regular channels, you might get a reasonable return. SEO projects might take longer to get started, depending on how well the site has been performing.

What many people fail to realise is that having a well performing website in the organic results of SERPs is an asset built for your company. Your leads don’t stop coming in when the campaign is done. In fact, a well optimized site can continue to perform well in the search listings for a long time (years!) if your competitors are not SEO fanatics, and as long as you keep up with maintenance of the site – adding content and building links occassionally.

Organic SEO and CoffeeThink about it this way. An ad campaign is like going out to the cafe to get a cup of coffee. Doing organic SEO is like investing in a good expresso machine and then making your own coffee at home. It may be a huge investment upfront, and regular maintenance costs (getting the beans, electricity, water, your own time to make the coffee), but if you love coffee, you’ll know that over time that investment will pay off, and you can continue to enjoy you daily cup however you want it, whenever you want it.

WordPress Users, UPGRADE Your Blogs!

If you are running a self-hosted WordPress blog, please upgrade your WordPress installation NOW.

This warning from Lorelle shows how critical the issue is.

According to Lorelle’s post, old WordPress installations are being attacked (as you read this), and the number grows by the hour. The current version for WordPress is 2.8.4. Check yours. If its not 2.8.4, you are at risk.

How do you know if you’ve been attacked?

Lorelle also mentions two clues:

There are two clues that your WordPress site has been attacked.

There are strange additions to the pretty permalinks, such as$%7Beval(base64_decode($_SERVER%5BHTTP_REFERER%5D))%7D%7D|.+)&%/. The keywords are “eval” and “base64_decode.”

The second clue is that a “back door” was created by a “hidden” Administrator. Check your site users for “Administrator (2)” or a name you do not recognize.

Attacked or not, upgrade. NOW.

Thanks Stefan, for the hat tip!

Would You Bother?

This morning, as I was on my daily routine commenting on blogs, I got this when I submitted to one.

Would You Bother?

This message was the only thing that was shown in the page. So it seems I was detected to be surfing “behind a proxy”, and my comment was disallowed.

First, I’m lucky to be computer trained. I know what proxy servers are, and I wasn’t using one. But for the layman, they’ll probably have no idea.

Secondly, “contact the blog owner”. Yes. Through what means? Do I have to click back and find an email address. I would at least put an email address there – or a contact form.

Thirdly and finally, the question is… would you bother? To go through all the trouble of contacting someone just to post a comment? I’d rather surf to a different site and post another comment.

The point is: If you want comments on your blog, make it easy for people to comment. I’ve seen lots of blogs that require you to create and account and login, just to post a comment. While I understand the motivation behind that (to screen away spammy comments), it is a huge hindrance for people.

Steering Clear of Online Scams

Online Scam
Photo Credit: ToastyKen

Right on the Official Google Blog, a post was added today with regard to steering clear of online scams. I think the post is very timely, and it offers excellent advice with regard to how you can check if an opportunity is genuine.

In essence, here are the tips pointed out in the post:

  1. Do a web search first, looking for reviews. (Beware of reviews which are just affiliate sites too!)
  2. If there are upfront charges for things that are offered elsewhere for free, investigate further.
  3. Read the fine print.
  4. There is no such thing as guaranteed top placement in Google, whether is organic listings or advertising.
  5. Do further investigation in pyramid schemes. Are they sustainable?
  6. Ignore all you spam mails, or suspected spam mails. If they are too good to be true, they probably are.

Here is a line right out of the horse’s mouth:

Creating a successful website is hard work – successful sites earn their money by writing compelling content, developing useful applications and maintaining vibrant user communities. Any claim that you can skip all of that and make just as much money by posting links, using a secret system, or running a kit to generate websites should be treated with a heavy dose of skepticism.

Re-read this quoted paragraph twice. Or ten times if it is what it takes.

If you are promoting a product for someone else – whether its an affiliate product, or membership site, or a network marketing program, do your sums, and always think “Is there any value creation involved in this program?” No matter what business you are in, money come always as an exchange for value.