Users Outraged Over Proposed New Facebook Data Guidelines

In case you’ve ever wondered how Facebook might use your data in ads, a court settlement recently shed some light on proposed changes of those policies and procedures:

Facebook clarifies how ads are using your data | Digital Trends: “Instead of giving users the opportunity to use their privacy settings to control how their name and profile picture is used to advertise a brand they Liked on Facebook, the social network is now proposing that by using the site, users automatically give the company permission to use any personal information associated to their profiles for advertising purposes. This means that if you happen to like Downy’s Facebook page on the site, Downy can pay Facebook to use your profile details as an ad on the site without having to pay you.”

While there’s always been a lack of transparency regarding Facebook’s use of our “stuff,” this goes to a whole new level for many people. From a marketer’s perspective, this is a great opportunity. The ability to tie stories which originated from a user’s own circles to a brand would likely create a new level/sense of trust amongst many users (if your friend likes it and posts about it, it’s probably good).

However, I’m not sure this change is one that Facebook will ultimately be able to implement since there are big privacy implications and issues at hand. Reading through some of the comments on the original announcement shows that users don’t approve and are more than willing to move off of Facebook if this change goes through. If Facebook doesn’t listen to its users and embraces a dictatorship as opposed to a democratized services where users still have a voice, it will lose traction and eventually see its demise (which I think is inevitable anyway).

Always important to remember that nothing is free and in turn, there’s a cost associated with everything.


5 Tips and 3 Tools to Get You Engaged On Multiple Social Networks

One of the most frequent questions I get during talks on social media marketing have to do with the never ending (and seemingly always expanding) situation of having to post your content to the variety of social networks that currently exist and continue to pop into existence like mini galaxies.

My normal stream of advice goes something like this…

1) Don’t post your content to every social network.

2) Pick the social networks where you want to focus and do your homework. This requires time. However, much like my 7th grade science teacher always said, “proper preparation prevents poor production.” Figure out your intended audience within that network, what your goals are and develop a timeline so that you don’t suffer “two week fatigue” when you don’t see the results you think you should be having.

3) Engage and don’t just post links. There’s an old social media guideline that goes something like 70-75% of your content should be comments, plus 1’s, retweets, replies or likes. Only 20-25% of your actual business social networking should be you broadcasting and posting (and even that is sliding further down towards the 15% range in 2013-2014).

4) Be entertaining. Social media is not TV or radio or a PDF brochure. Social media is for personalities. Even if you’re selling paper products for Dunder Mifflin, there’s space for a company personality. Be quirky and let the kimono open up a little.

5) Try not to automate your posts. There are many good reasons for this but the best is that in a time of a national or international event and/or crisis when everyone turns to Twitter or Facebook, NO ONE wants to see your latest coupon offer. Plus, real-time marketing is red hot. Oreo got it right at last year’s Superbowl.

I always recommend three tools if you do want to participate in multiple social networks with yoru business or marketing campaign… IFTTT, Buffer, and ShareThis.

Briefly, IFTTT is a fascinating tool for moving your content from one place to another on the social web. While not every “recipe” (their nomenclature for instructions on how to move data from one place to another) might be applicable to you or your business, there are some really valuable and time-saving recipes available. Even Twitter has come back to IFTTT. Here are a few of the recipes I use personally and professionally (there are others, but you can choose what to make public and private).

Second, Buffer is a more traditional broadcasting tool that includes nifty features including apps and connections to multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. There are analytics included but for a quick and easy way to get your word out on multiple networks in a free (or cheap with their paid plans) way. There are more heavy duty social media dashboard services or WordPress plugins that do all of this, but in my experienced opinion, Buffer does it much nicer and without the overhead that plagues many of its competitors.

When you’re ready to do real analytics and measuring of your social media engagements, look at ShareThis and their SQI tool. ShareThis makes it incredibly simple to include sharing links on your site (whatever platform you’re using from WordPress to Drupal to Joomla to Tumblr etc). That allows for more organic sharing and ties directly into your efforts. However, once you are sharing and engaging via organic networking, IFTTT and Buffer, a tool like ShareThis is indispensable and you shouldn’t discount its powerful analytics-of-the-share potential.

So, follow those five points then get rolling with IFTTT and Buffer and top it all off with ShareThis. You’ll be happy you did as the social web continues to drive not just traffic but qualified leads to your site.

Tim Storm on Building a Team

Good read from industry legend Tim Storm on the ShareASale blog…

FatWallet started when there were already a number of coupon sites to be found on the internet (and hundreds more yet to be started).  One of the great differentiators early on was that I hired employees to help build and operate the site, where many of my competitors clung fiercely to going it alone.

via #Lessons Learned: A Guest Post from Legend Award Winner Tim Storm | ShareASale Blog.

Tim is one of those people that I’ve always looked up to. Reading his thoughts about building a great team and finding the right people is so important for the affiliate industry. Let’s face it, we’re a group of hard-nosed folks who do like to go it alone. That works sometimes, but often you need a team around you to challenge and compliment your talents.

Twitter’s New Conversations Spark Internet Outrage

Today, Twitter rolled out an updated interface for iOS, Android and the website that makes a major change to how tweeted conversations are viewed:

Today we’re updating our iPhone and Android apps, as well as, to make it easier to discover and follow conversations in your home timeline. From buzz about the VMAs to debates around upcoming football games, people come to Twitter to take part in these real-time, global, public conversations.

via Keep up with conversations on Twitter | Twitter Blogs.

And the internet is not happy:







However, we’re all missing the point with the twitter-rage (click to go read the search query).

Will Oremus writing on Slate nails the point of this (and why I think it’s a good move for the platform of Twitter):

For all its virtues as an RSS reader, real-time news board, and virtual water cooler, Twitter has never excelled as a platform for connecting with family and friends. The new emphasis on conversations could help to change that. If nothing else, it will privilege tweets that spark discussion over those that don’t.

Twitter, in its ongoing mission to boldly explore the zeitgeist and find a way to make that attractive to marketers, wants to be the center of conversations about twerking at the VMA’s, the next huge 3rd down conversion or that hideously ugly dress at the Emmy’s. It knows that its place is a protocol of conversation that allows for not only operability but also discovery.

Good move, Twitter.

Yoast SEO Plugin and Modified Headers


I’ve used Yoast’s SEO WordPress plugin a great deal in the past when I needed a “set it and tinker when necessary” on a client site or affiliate site we’ve developed. I decided to give it a go with the fresh WordPress install we’re using for CostPerNews and discovered something that I’ve heard others complain about in the past… dual sitename titles both in the browser and in the meta.

So, a little googling turned this up:

I have taken a liking lately to Yoast’s SEO plugin.  So far, it just plain works.  Now I am not the type of guy to worry too much about this stuff.  I apply little tweaks here and there and maybe it helps.  But the plugin offers a lot of things I like, like bread crumbs, and easy access to my .htaccess file, and robots.txt.  Only a few things have to change to enjoy this plugin.  Let’s dig in to this.

via Modify Header.php to Get the Most Out of Yoast’s SEO Plugin in a TwentyTen Child Theme – VoodooPress

Basically, clean up your site’s title tags and you’re good to go.

Again, Yoast isn’t for everyone (interesting discussion in the comments if you’re into this type of thing). However, it’s free and is a nice helper when you’re looking for an optimization plugin for your affiliate site that is quick, generates clean sitemaps (necessary for hooking your site up to Google Webmaster Tools, which you should do regardless) or even optimizing your breadcrumbs (always good for SEO!) and cleaning up rel=author issues.

Google Hall of Famer Wayne Porter

CostPerNews owes a great deal to one of its original backers Wayne Porter, even though he is evidently a spook…

Keeping Internet users safe is more than just making sure Google’s products are secure. Google engineers also contribute to improving the security of non-Google software that our products and users rely on.

Provided below is a list of software vulnerabilities discovered or fixed by Googlers, along with presentations we’ve given at industry security conferences. You can also find publications about security, cryptography, and privacy work in Google’s main research portal.

via Vulnerabilities – Application Security – Google.

Thanks for all you did  and do, Wayne 🙂

Google’s Nexus 4 Sale; Nexus 5 Coming Soon?

If you’ve been wanting to switch over to Android but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, Google dropped the prices on their (fantastic) Nexus 4 phones (off-contract/unlocked) today:

Nexus 4 price drops by $100 on Google Play to $199 or $249 [updated] | Android Central: “The official Google Play Twitter account has just confirmed the ‘25% off or more’ sale for the Nexus 4 is active in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Korea, US and UK.”

Nexus 5 coming soon then? I think so…

Google Keyword Tool Replacements

Google has removed access for its Keyword Tool that was a part of its AdWords platform. So now what do you do?

With Keyword Planner, we’ve combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That’s why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns. We’ve also added several new features with Keyword Planner.

If you’ve done anything with keyword research for search campaigns, you are probably well aware that this isn’t too much of a bad thing (a la Google killing Reader) as Google is replacing Keyword Tool with Keyword Planner. The trick is that you have to sign in to your AdWords account to have access to the Keyword Planner. Again, that’s not a big hassle for anyone who has already done even the beginnings of a search campaign.

However, the removal of Keyword Tool has sparked a couple of interesting conversations on Twitter and in email today for me. Mostly, industry friends are using this as a chance to trade notes on their favorite keyword research tools beyond Google’s offerings.

I have my own personal favorites but let’s look at a few other suggestions.

For example, Bill Hartzer points to Bing Ads Intelligence, SEMrush and the veritable Keyword Discovery tool. All three are good tools but in my opinion SEMrush stands out here. Bing Ads Intelligence is definitely a nifty tool. However, it’s an .exe download that isn’t compatible with Mac OSX (yet). As a recently re-converted Windows user I do use Excel for keyword research, so BAI works well for me. However, I find that I do so much of my research and work in the browser that it’s one of those tools I just don’t use that often. Keyword Discovery is good at what it does, but I haven’t spent enough time there lately to have much of an opinion. In its heyday it did provide good insight. There are certainly lots of other great tools out there, so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments if you have any favorites.

For me the linchpin of keyword research at the moment is a blend of Google’s own Keyword Planner and SEMrush (in conjunction with WordTracker). From there, I use Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (subscription req’d but there’s a free trial). Then I top all of that off with a version of Seer’s Keyword Research Tool (a handy Google template they’ve created) that I’ve forked and made very custom for my own needs. I add in some extra variables like my own keyword difficulty ranking formula and that’s my finished product (usually in a set of Excel sheets).

It’s a convoluted system in an age when something like keyword research can (and maybe) should be drop dead easy to perform. Many of the agencies who I work with that focus on just social media like to poke fun at my setup and brag about how easy it is to do similar keyword or demographic buying on Facebook or Twitter. Nevertheless, I enjoy getting my hands dirty and having to do keyword research much like an archaeologist might work in a complicated Tell going cm by cm through the dirt. It’s slower than Indiana Jones style archaeology, but the results are usually better.

Welcome Back to CostPerNews

After a long day of yard work, I rushed into my office and registered the domain “” For some reason, mowing the lawn and trimming hedges always causes me to brainstorm about online marketing. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the site but only had a vague sense that it would be read by anyone. Initially, I saw CostPerNews as a bridge between the advancements that were happening in the online marketing world (primarily CPA networks, search and email) and the leaps that were being made by new companies such as Twitter and the soon-to-release Tumblr. It was an exciting time to be in tech.

Looking back on those first few months of posting in October, November and December of 2006 and January of 2007, I was averaging about 100 posts a month. That was while having a full time agency and also teaching as an adjunct professor. I was on fire and I remember those passionate days of micro-chunking, widgets and RSS delivery fondly.

Life happened and I eventually joined Wayne and Vinny in a group called incuBeta that rolled ReveNews and CPN into one entity. We had a great time and I came back to CPN full time after a while. Life continued to happen, CostPerNews grew and I decided it was time to go back to the classroom as a teacher. So in 2009 I left CostPerNews in the good hands of Evan Weber.

Seven years after this whole thing started, we’ve decided to reboot the site into something that both Evan and I really believe in… passionate and hard-hitting analysis combined with the ability for companies and affiliates to discover each other. We’re both excited and this is going to be a great step for the site.

So here’s the gameplan:

– CostPerNews will be both a blog (with the same type of content we were lovingly producing in the “good old days”) as well as a directory for networks and offers. You’ll be able to add your CPA, email, or coreg offer in the directory and have access to our still loyal and soon-t0-be growing readership. More on that later this week.

– My former marketing blog, (and its predecessor PayPerTrends) is now folded back into CostPerNews. So in a way, it’s oddly satisfying for me that the content I’ve been making and the comments you’ve been writing are finally back under one umbrella.

– Evan will be heading up the directory side of things and I’ll be focusing more on content. That will overlap some, of course, but we’re excited about the partnership and the possibilities that exist between those two parts.

I can’t tell you how happy we are to be back on the “front page” and front lines of performance marketing both in terms of blogging and what we’re doing with the directory.

Here’s to the next seven(teen) years-