Technology News Briefs — Feb. 19, 2013

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European Data Protection Watchdog Ready to Crack Down on Google

European data protection regulators say they will crack down on Google by this summer for a privacy policy that enables the company to collect user information.

Regulators say Google’s policy, which was changed last March, is a high risk to users’ privacy, Reuters is reporting.

Google merged 60 privacy policies into one last year so user information would be accumulated on all its services, including YouTube, Gmail and Google+. Users are unable to opt out.

Europe’s 27 data regulators last October gave Google 12 recommendations on how to change its policy. The search engine firm was given four months to do so.

The French privacy regulator said Feb. 18 it would set up a further inquiry because Google had not yet addressed their concerns.

“Google did not provide any precise and effective answers,” the French regulator CNIL is quoted by Reuters. “In this context, the EU data protection authorities are committed to act and continue their investigations. Therefore, they propose to set up a working group, led by the CNIL, in order to coordinate their reaction, which should take place before summer.”

Google, however, says it gave the CNIL on Jan. 8 a list of steps it has taken to address the groups’ concerns.

Microsoft Raises Price of Office Software for Mac OS

Microsoft has upped the price of its Mac OS Office software.

Office for Mac Home and Students has risen from $120 to $140, a 16.7 percent hike. Office for Mac Home and Business rose 10 percent, from $200 to $220.

The increase puts the Mac OS software at the same price as Office 2013 for Windows. The price increase appears also to be accompanied by an end to Microsoft’s multi-license products. It is being speculated by various media outlets that the move is a bid to up consumption of the firm’s Office 365 subscription service.

Customers can pay $99.99 per household annually or $9.99 a month for a subscription to Home Premium version. Users download the software and it is regularly updated from a Microsoft data center.

The license lets the buyer install the suite on up to five Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs or tablets, and Mac OS computers. Multiple people in the household can use the suite, each with his or her own account.

Microsoft did not announce the price increase, but Computer World is speculating the price change was implemented the same day the firm launched Office 2013 and Office 365: Jan. 29.

Burger King Twitter Account Hacked

Burger King’s official Twitter feed was hit Feb. 18 by hackers with a love for McDonald’s.

Every item on Burger King’s Twitter page: logo, header and photo, was changed to reflect that of arch rival McDonald’s.

The background picture of Burger King’s account featured a picture of Fish McBites accompanied by McDonald’s logo.

The hacker also posted a number of tweets:

“We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you,” one post read, adding the sale occurred “because the whopper flopped.”

Yet other tweets made derogatory remarks about the restaurant chain’s employees.

Burger King pulled the plug on its account about an hour after the hack occurred — just before 12:30 p.m.

“It has come to our attention that the Twitter account of the BURGER KING® brand has been hacked,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to the media. “We have worked directly with administrators to suspend the account until we are able to re-establish our legitimate site and authentic postings. We apologize to our fans and followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics.”


Burger King's Twitter account was hacked Feb. 18 to make it look like the chain had been sold to McDonald's.

Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked Feb. 18 to make it look like the chain had been sold to McDonald’s.


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Technology News Briefs — Feb. 19, 2013

How to Build an Active List Using Social Media

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Social media and e-mail marketing are two powerful business tools and, if you bring them together, you could greatly improve your marketing response.  It was once thought that social media might replace e-mail as a marketing medium, but people soon began to realize combining the two could bring greater results for their marketing efforts.

Social media marketing and e-mail marketing are similar in that they both give you the opportunity to build relationships with your subscribers and/or followers.
As we know, building relationships is the foundation of a successful business.

But how do we most effectively combine the two power tools to achieve the desired outcome?

Below are some tips and ideas on how to use social media to build a strong, active and profitable e-mail list.

1. Subscription Form — Be sure to add subscription forms when possible to your social pages.  Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up.

2.  Incentive for Subscribing — Always offer people an incentive for subscribing to your mailing list.  A free report, free eBook or gift of some sort will help guide and encourage people to sign up for your newsletter.

3. Interact with Your Social Contacts — Always respond promptly to comments, questions and likes. Ask for people’s opinions and ideas.  Making people feel important and appreciated will go a long way.

4. Post Teasers — Post little teasers for upcoming issues such as “Coming tomorrow,” or “Releasing soon.”   Snippets like this will heighten anticipation and generate more interest in your newsletter.

5. Sample Issues — Let your followers know they can read a sample issue.  Post and tweet links to one of your best issues.  Do this on a regular basis, not just once.

6. Has Been Sent Notification — Let your followers know when your newsletter has been sent.  Announce this to your network as well.

7. Social Link Access — To establish the connection between e-mail and social media be sure to publish your social links in your newsletter. You want to connect your e-mail with your social pages as much as possible.

8. Host Events — Host regular events on your Facebook page and other social sites to increase awareness and interest for your newsletter.  Offer exclusive gifts and incentives for people attending your event to subscribe to your newsletter.

9. Games and Prizes — Run a weekly contest or game in your newsletter and offer a prize.  Keep your followers and fans posted on this game as well to get their attention focused on your newsletter.

10. Read More Link — Post helpful content on your social pages and add a quick subscribe link with a “Read more helpful information here.” Let your network know your newsletter contains useful information and resources.

Developing a deep connection with your social sites and mailing list can have a substantial effect on your business success. Use the ideas above but also try to expand on them to come up with more fun and creative ways to get your social network interested in and signed up for your e-mail list.

Always be raising awareness of your mailing list and what you have to offer.  You cannot assume people from your social sites will go visit your business site so bring the best of your business to them!

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How to Build an Active List Using Social Media

Expert Marketing Irritates Seniors Insulted by SEO

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

The doorbell rings. It’s 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. At the door is the mailman with a registered letter.

In my experience, this is usually bad news. But I have to admit, this one took me completely by surprise.

Let me explain.

About six months ago, our local paper had printed a story about a writing award I had won. As a result, I had received a phone call from an older professional gentleman who represented a group of senior citizens in need of marketing. He told me that, due to internal strife, the governing body could no longer make objective decisions concerning the organization’s future and failure seemed likely. He said the group desperately needed a marketing expert to take the helm and lead the way forward.

I responded with a comprehensive marketing proposal which included a number of painfully candid suggestions, the brunt of which mentioned the need for a new name, logo, website and overall marketing plan. Not only did they agree to all, they added the need for a series of ads as well. A deposit arrived within days and I got started immediately.

Doomed from the Beginning

While initial negotiations and payment were handled by the member of the board who had first contacted me, he quickly declined further participation, delegating responsibility to the group’s president.

Our first discussion included an overview of her expectations, some websites to review and a vision of their future that left me with a distinct impression of her chilly reception to my involvement. Apparently, resentment about the board’s criticism of her management skills was a thorn in her side, something of which I was a constant reminder.

Although the members of this group are a handful of rather affluent seniors who had banded together to create a non-profit, “aging-in-place” organization, funds for marketing were quite limited. As part of a national trend, such groups enable members to live independently in their own homes despite the impediments of age. With such services as transportation, social outings, help around the house, and medical referrals mostly provided by volunteers, they expected this entity to address their own long-term needs at a very economical rate. Despite plans for costs to be covered by other members, their management decisions were rife with errors. First, they constrained their service area to a very small region conveniently close to where they lived. Then, they restricted their hours of operation to just a short time on irregular days. Clearly, serving the needs of members other than themselves was not part of the game plan.

The Mistakes They Made

To this point, their rather questionable accomplishments included a misguided name, an amateurishly designed logo and a poorly conceived website devoid of any SEO, all of which had brought in no new members. Disgruntled by the need to spend money on marketing, group leaders responded to my comprehensive marketing plan along with a free list of possible name replacements with cantankerous roadblocks. Since I sensed that most of these older people were highly defensive about their lack of familiarity with today’s complicated technology, there was little understanding regarding my very simplistic explanation of SEO. Furthermore, many seemed to feel marketing was best handled by those holding the purse strings.

Too Close to the Subject to be Objective

With no consensus about a suitable name replacement, the original name was retained despite its failure to define the group’s purpose. My criticism that it seemed more suitable for a real estate or home improvement company was well documented, so I relented. The customer is always right. Ha!

However, I developed several logo redesigns for their review using the original name, attempting to clarify the group’s goal through graphics. Again, uncharacteristic of my entire career where my work is normally embraced with accolades, I met with obstinacy and rancor. Incensed by my use of a rocking chair as a suggested trademark, they said I failed to understand their objectives.

Ironically, probably several decades older than I, they surely must have lived through the era of President John F. Kennedy, who had affectionately embraced the use of a rocking chair during his term to comfort a sore back. Soon, every home in America boasted a rocking chair, including that of my parents.

As one of the youngest presidents of our time, he changed the image of that piece of furniture to one appropriate for any age group, particularly those in middle age. And, that is exactly the target of this senior group, age 50 and up. Yet, they apparently cling to a biased opinion of its symbolism, taking such deep insult from its use.

After a few more generic artistic rejections, it was suggested that we use no symbol and merely retain the harmless typography I had designed for them as their logo. Fine.

A Comedy of Errors

Although the website was in my opinion a more pressing matter, they insisted that I next attack the series of three ads for their use in the local newspaper. Having extensively researched other leading national organizations for suitable content and priorities, I designed six striking ads for them using my own award-winning photographs of handsome seniors I had taken some years prior, all of which I owned full rights to use. Since this group would never approve expenditures for the use of comparable, high-quality stock photos, I generously donated all of my images for their campaign, a value easily worth thousands.

These ads were sized to run in color on Sundays in our large local newspaper. I advocated on their behalf to negotiate a discounted net rate they could pay directly so they would know no commission would be coming my way.

Their first reaction was to inquire about making the ads smaller to reduce the cost. As a second cost-saving suggestion, they asked about eliminating color until they learned that color was thrown in for free. Finally, after finding nothing further to complain about, they suddenly realized the ad needed to include upcoming events with multiple dates and locations.

A small space to begin with, this ad could hardly accommodate such a huge last-minute revision. But, I reworked the six ads to incorporate their event schedule at no extra charge, making sure to retain the integrity of the impressive, original design.

Without any acknowledgement about my donations, media cost savings or excellent work, three ads were selected and I submitted them to the paper. During a period of stormy weather, one Sunday paper could not print in color and their ad ran on Monday instead. I intervened by getting them an additional free run on a Sunday to make up for that. Another ad appeared with color off register and again I was able to get them an additional free Sunday run.

Embarking on the Final Frontier

After much deliberation, feet-dragging and trepidation, they notified me that they were ready to proceed into the website project. However, they didn’t want to give me access to their precious current website for fear I might alter it in some way. I suggested that I register a new domain name and set up new hosting for the site I would develop before replacing their original, once approved. Their website deposit arrived with a note that they would not be ready for further payments for several months. That gave me free rein to provide them with a cutting-edge site using the latest technology I would teach myself at a relaxed pace during its development. My career has often been enriched in this way, where I am paid to gain a hands-on technological education for the benefit of all, now and in the future.

And in this day and age of self-taught geeks, I am probably not alone.

True to my word, I created a website that would surely gain page-one ranking while thrilling visitors of all ages. Brimming over with not just an encyclopedic breadth of information, it offered wonderful interactive graphics to delight the inquisitive as well as the demure, to awaken the timid and satisfy the bold. Every concern was addressed from a spam-deterring contact form, to a way to join or donate online, to registrations with Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics.

The Path to a Client’s Heart is Clearly Not Through Insult

With the goal of capturing as many online searches through Google’s need for pertinent keywords, I included a number of appropriate terms within interesting on-page text to entertain and inform the reader. Knowing that the adult children of seniors would be as much a part of this group as the seniors

themselves, I used such words as “aging,” “elderly,” “older,” and similar synonyms to try to second-guess how they would search. Unfortunately, my due diligence backfired.

The registered letter laid me out in lavender, the gist of which was that I should be ashamed of myself.

Not only had they spent the good part of two months reviewing this proposed website, which they could not accept, nor could they tell me one detail about how it should be changed, they were insisting on a total refund. What?

Does advanced age contribute to a failure to comprehend a contract that clearly stipulates if a client specifically orders work, payment for such work is expected? This, from supposed professional people now in their retirement years?

My take on this was they had found someone who would do the job for less money and they wanted to be rid of me as quickly as possible. While I had put my heart and soul into trying to give them a website designed to provide the success they so desperately needed, I know some things just don’t work out as planned and ultimately are a lost cause. As they say, “the chemistry wasn’t right.”

Unfortunately, this client was incapable of seeing the value of my efforts and the sincerity of my concerns — misconstruing my motivations and misunderstanding my goals. Luckily, with a long list of active, appreciative and totally respectful clients to keep me busy, I chalk this one up to a mere blip on the radar and am happily moving on.

Marilyn Bontempo, president of Mid-Hudson Marketing, based in Marilyn Bontempo, president of Mid-Hudson Marketing, based in Holmes, New York, has been developing strategies for business success for more than 36 years. A professional writer and graduate of Bard College, she has won numerous awards for excellence in marketing, photography, graphics, writing and web design. As a specialist in branding, she assists many of her clients with management of their social media and public relations initiatives. In addition, she handles e-commerce for a number of online merchants not only on their own websites but also through eBay, Amazon and others. View her work at Connect with Marilyn Bontempo on Google+.

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Expert Marketing Irritates Seniors Insulted by SEO