Great read over on Wired about Facebook’s slightly creepy but insanely cool Graph Search…

How Facebook Builds a Digital Signature for You (And Your World) | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com: “Until around 2010, the information now mapped by the Entities Graph lived in your Facebook profiles, as plain text, and these strings of text weren’t linked to any additional information — information that would describe, say, what a school is or which of your friends may have gone there. But then Facebook rolled out object pages, the Like button, and check-ins, making it possible for people to interact and connect with things much the same way they did with people.”

Interesting…

The History of App Pricing, And Why Most Apps Are Free: “Each time we download an app, we reveal a little bit about ourselves. A glance at the apps on your phone can indicate whether you are a fan of sports, gaming, or public radio, and whether you love to hike or cook or travel. But our choices of apps also reveal our individual tolerance for advertising, and how we feel about the trade-off between paying for content directly, or paying indirectly by (implicitly) agreeing to view ads.”

I’d have to disagree with this…

Blogging is Dead – But Long Live the Blogosphere – exploreB2B: “While the thought process remains the same today (‘Here is what I think, read my blog’) – the effect is minimal, if anything at all. A viewer may read an article on your blog, maybe even find it interesting, but then never return. Memory of the author, ideas in the post (and certainly the URL), are long forgotten amongst the array of activity online.”

The main reason I would disagree with the sentiment that “blogging is dead” is because it isn’t. Sure, the concept, tools, and way we write our blogs today have changed since the inception of blogging back in the late 90s and early 2000s, but blogging is far from dead.

Even though people aren’t doing the type of hyper-personal blogging which they were doing back in the late 90s and early 2000s anymore, blogging as a medium is still very valid and a great way to carve out your own space on the web. Blogging is a key part of what we consider the open web since it uses “old-school” components like RSS and a blog isn’t a walled garden you have to log into. The type of trade-offs you have with walled gardens such as Facebook are nonexistent when you start your own site given that you run it on your own server, etc. It’s a geeky process and takes a little bit of heavy lifting here and there, but it’s worth it considering that you keep control over what you do.

I started my first blog (and I still write there) on a whim back in July 2011 and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done on the web. The magnificent thing about writing your own site is that you can learn so much from others and yourself. You practice and become a better writer and as you devote a little more time to it here and there, you learn about a few other things too (like design, SEO, moving things around on a server, and what you should and shouldn’t put on a site). Looking back at some posts I wrote in 2011 and last year, I have to cringe and scratch my head a great deal, but that’s part of the learning process that comes with anything on the web.

I’ve learned a ton and continue to learn from writing my own site and writing here on MarketingTrends. I’ve blogged elsewhere in the past, but there’s something about writing your own blog that’s so satisfying and in a way, fulfilling to yourself as a writer and user of the internet. While folks who say that blogging is dead have a point because the way we view blogs and publishing in 2013 has changed and adapted a lot over the years, declaring blogging “dead” isn’t justified. Blogging, while old-school (also see email marketing and RSS, neither of which are “dead”), is still one of the best ways to build a solid reputation and name for yourself on the web.

I’d say the feeds that I’m subscribed to in my RSS reader of choice (currently ReadKit) are a solid 50/50 split between bigger sites and smaller blogs written by folks in the industry or just people whose stuff I enjoy reading.

One of the first things I tell anyone looking to go beyond the walled garden principle on the web is for them to go buy a domain name. It’s dead simple and pretty inexpensive. If they want to go beyond that, I’d tell them to go get their hands dirty with a hosted solution first (Tumblr is great for this and I also love Shareist) and eventually move their stuff over to a self-hosted WordPress site (or Movable Type if you’re into that). With all the things we have at hand in 2013 (Squarespace, WordPress, etc), there’s no excuse for why you shouldn’t have your own space on the web.

“And if your words are good, people will read them.”

Thanks for reading our blog.

Devin

This is a pivotal time for the understanding of citizenship in our country (based on wisdom and legalities at least):

Judge Challenges White House Claims on Authority in Drone Killings – NYTimes.com:‘Are you saying that a U.S. citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?’ she asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general. ‘How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?’

Why I’m blogging back here in this format and in this template. Words matter.

Words: “We’ve become obsessed with fancy designs, responsive layouts, and scripts that do magical things.

But the most powerful tool on the web is still words.”

Worth your time to read Pres Obama’s remarks on not just the Trayvon Martin case but how he views the race situation in the US at the present. This reminds me a great deal of the type of candor we heard out of Obama in 2006-2007 that made him so likable by so many:

Remarks by the President on Trayvon Martin | The White House: “But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.”

Great post that basically lays out the Harrelson Agency philosophy:

How I Earned A Lot More on Projects by Changing My Pricing Strategy: “Most clients want to know what your prices are up front, and a lot of service providers feel obliged to give an answer.

But I found that starting the conversation with the price leads you down a bad road.

Why? It puts my needs ahead of the client’s. It emphasizes what I want out of the relationship, not what they want.”

Just as every client is different, every client relationship (and the investment involved) should be different. That means building trust and taking away the expectation that hiring a marketing agency is just one more business expense rather than a problem solving relationship.

Really not sure what I would do without Transmit.

Well, of course I do. I’d use a less featured and elegant solution like Cyberduck or one of the many other FTP clients out there that work across platforms.

But when I’m on my Mac, Transmit is normally one of my top 3 used apps for sure.

Well, this is really creepy (but an easy fix):

New Gmail Inbox Features Ads That Look Like Emails, Above Promotional Email Subscriptions | MarketingLand: “If you’ve converted to the new Gmail inbox, you may have noticed in-line ads that resemble regular emails at the top of  your Promotions tab. These new native-style ads function as paid-for-placement email messages, and essentially circumvent standard email marketing practices. The ads do have a shaded background and ad symbol to differentiate them from the other promotional emails and newsletters users have to actually opt-in to (theoretically, at least).”

I hadn’t noticed these new ads since I don’t have the “new inbox” enabled, but it’s super creepy. GMail is just a business and I know they have to make money somehow, but there’s better ways to do it than placing CPC ads directly in your users’ inboxes. It’s basically spam.

Good for advertisers though… Wonder what kind of click-through rate they’re getting though (I presume a lot of people overlook the “Ad” sticker on them a few times)?

Strange days indeed.

Mobify has a great post with a few informative links and stats about mobile traffic and its implications for marketing on the web in 2013…

13 Stats to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Mobile in 2013 | Mobify: “To help you pitch your boss and frame the situation from their perspective, we’ve prepared a collection of the most exciting numbers around the mobile web. It will help you get the attention of any skeptic, be it your manager, your client, or your mom.”

Mobile has been a massive traffic source since Android, iPhone, etc came along and that trend only continues to grow. However, a lot of our industry has been slow to adapt to that change and is still catching up. If you’re not analyzing where your traffic comes from on your sites (things like Google Analytics are great for this) and optimizing accordingly, you’re missing out on important traffic that can ultimately lead to conversions. In other words, if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, you’re losing money.

Affiliates need to stay on top of their game and be optimizing their sites and apps for mobile. Responsive design (we love Squarespace for this) is a great way to optimize your sites. iPads, Android tablets, and smartphones (think iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) are accounting for an increasing number of pageviews across the web. Especially if you rely on referred traffic from social media, you need to be thinking about and making changes as needed to make sure your site works well on mobile.

In 2013, there’s no excuse for horrible mobile themes or having to pinch-and-zoom a million times. Also, you’re probably losing some search traffic to sites with optimized designs.

Mobify’s slide deck also has some good pointers and excellent statistics that elaborate on what mobile means and why you should be optimizing your sites accordingly: