Using Netvibes for your SMO

Ever since SMX Seattle LAST year (2007) it dawned on me that staying alive in any shape or form in the Social Media was going to either take huge amounts of time, huge amounts of talent, or… basically… a shortcut. I’m not sure if I was even ON facebook then, and certainly avoided blogging if I could pay someone else to do it. But the world was changing. Very fast.Towards the tail end of 2007 I came across Netvibes. Now I know everyone seems to be using all sorts of other tools to keep it all together, but Netvibes does a huge amount all in one place. It currently manages:My Facebook; My Twitter; Digg; Delicious; My images (Ask, Google, Flickr and Yahoo) all on one screen. On the second tab I can see my RSS feeds, and on a third tab I can see my Yahoo Emails, My Gmails, my Hotmails. Not that I NEED to lay it out that way. With a press of a few buttons I can drag and drop the layout or add all manner of modules. Here’s a screenshot of my main page.NetvibesIt’s clean and clear and makes all the modules easy to use. Although Rae is too short to look over the ledge there!Take the Twitter module, for example. Just being in my Netvibes I can see my Twitter conversations really easily, but if I was on Twitter itself, I have to refresh my whole page every few minutes if I want to see if anyone loves me. That’s really depressing, because usually I just get ignored. But here, life’s easy. I can update my Twitts or whatever they are called on the screen, or refresh the feed, without losing sight of my Facebook or other areas.Twitter on Netvibes

What I like about Netvibes:

  • It’s web based, so it works on my iPhone as well as my laptop or wherever I get connected.
  • As soon as I log on it retrieves all my online world at once.
  • You could use it for multple accounts (including multiple Twitter IDs if you are schizofrenic)
  • It is entirely adaptable with drag and drop functionality.

What I don’t like:

  • It’s a bit too slow to be my default home page, as it tries to log in to everything at once when it loads
  • It doesn’t appear to have Microsoft Exchange support.

So what other widgets can I bring in other than Twitter and RSS feeds? Well I am way off learning everything. I do have a day job you know! but here’s just a few…Weather; Craigslist; Calander; Facebook; Myspace; HTML pages; Ebay; Yahoo News; BBC stuff; Link Widgets; Alexa widget; Stocks; Hack a day; Url shorytener; Mashable; Forbes… and hundreds more.It’s certainly a time saver for the average SMO Joe! But it’s not the only one.

Here are a whole load of other reviews for Twitter timesavers:
Twitterfox Review
Review of the Twhirl Twitter Client
Review of TwitterTools to integrate WordPress and Twitter
Twittering and Twitterific – A Review
Review of the TwitterBerry app for BlackBerry and Twitter
Twitterfeed Review
Twitter and TwitBin – Microblogging Made Easy
The Guide to Being a Drunken, Debaucherous Twit

Personal Data Leaked to Big Business

 It had to happen. Someone has found a way to share personal data between websites without technically invading privacy laws. Microsoft is going to let Bebo, Facebook and LinkedIn all share their data, with others no doubt coming on fast. Facebook and Bebo are going live as I type.

 I was having dinner with Microsoft and Danny Sullivan last week and Danny laughed at my take on the whole privacy issue. He said, “hey -what are you gonna do? it’s going to happen anyway!” I had to agree that it would, but maybe he was a few days ahead of me knowing just how quickly the world would change upside down. So how have they got around the presumably significant invasions on out privacy that arise from swapping personal data between companies? Well it seems that the big winner here will be Microsoft… who will get more or less everyone’s data – and then individuals have to “opt” to let other Microsoft partners see the data. But… If you want your Facebook friends and your Bebo frienmds “in-sync” then you’ll probably find yourself opting out until the cows come home until you succumb to the new world order!

 Now – don’t get me wrong – I would MUCH rather let Microsoft be the custodians of my personal data that Google. They seem to have a bit more of an idea about the dangers of having it and a bit less of an idea about how to use it against me. Still – I think the days of “free-spirits” on the Internet are numbered. Big Brother is most certainly here and the mildly amusing thing is that it is the right wing that are behind the cultural shift.

 Mildly amusing… but somewhart more alarming wouldn’t you say?

P.S. (Thanks to Engine for the tip off on this)

Viral campaign that brought my daughter to tears

It started as a “Build-a-bear” party. It has ended in tears.

A few weeks ago my daughter went to a “Build-a-bear” party. Basically a party in a teddy bear shop where you build your own teddy bear. there’s probably all sorts of child slave labour law issues in that whole model, but the kids loved it and the bear comes with web access to a Build-a-bear-world… a kind of Second Life for under tens. It looks well made and the only way to get the entry code is to buy a bear in the shop… which in itself offers some protection for the kids. So I let my daughter join and – to be fair – she’s been enjoying life in Virtual reality.

Then along comes a “Celebrity Beach Party”… but here’s the scam… er …. promo. You can only get into that section of the virtual park if you go BACK to the shop and buy something else. You also get a chance to win £5,000 but that’s really not the point. My daughter just birst into tears when she realized that with all the will in the world, she couldn’t get into that part of the virtual world.

She cried.

Now – as a parent, when a child starts crying for something that clearly she doesn’t need, it’s time for a parent to put on the brakes. NO. I will not be bullied by an eight year old. Especially one that is trying to extort time and money out of me through some virtual mafia Godmother teddy bear company!

Nice try though Build-a-bear!

Here’s £30 free. Here’s some bad analytics.

Want £30 free from Google? Go to and get your £30 off.

Voucher codes have been a very popular way to track the effectiveness of campaigns even before the web came along. They are great because they transcend marketing mediums. You can give a voucher online to be redeemed in store or you can give a voucher code to a chap handing out calling cards on Oxford Street for redemption online. They have been working well until recently.

Now I hear rumblings. Rumblings from the affiliate community that voucher codes are killing all theit hard work. An affiliate spoends loads of time pre-selling a customer and at the last moment the buyer sees a box saying “if you have a promotional code. enter it here”. This kills the poor affiliate’s commission and gives it to some other affilate. Case in point – we went to Centerparcs last year and managed to get a discount by doing that search at checkout.

But on balance, surely the affiliates win. Well – thiose offering voucher codes win. It’s the brands that lose. 20 seconds before pushing the “sale” button and savvy internetters go to their not so favourite search engine and get a discount on something they were going to buy anywy. Everyone loves a deal. But the problem is that the voucher code as a way of tracking the source of a marketing channel is breaking down.

Last month I went to buy one of those needlessly large fridges with needless ice making and cold water facilities. (Significantly better for the environment than the half size one we had before, by the way.) We went to Currys, and found the exact one. Delivery charge… £45 extra. Since we decided that even if we could fit it into the estate (car, not house), we couldn’t carry it into the kitchen, we decided to just check online first.

The net result? We got a discount through Can’t B after a quick trip to Google. We also got it from Dixons’, not from Curry’s. We also got free delivery.

So I’m happy. I got the deal. But as a tracking mechanism, promotional vouchers are rapidly becoming unreliable.

Oh yes… that Google voucher? I got it from a Google paid link in New Media Age this morning.

Enom Locking Legitimate Domains

According to the Herald Tribune, Enom are locking names on a US Treasury blacklist, preventing the owner from carrying out legitimate business. The owner is in Europe, selling travel packages to many places, but including Cuba. Now what on earth is wrong with that? The Americans may have problems with Americans going to Cuba, but the Brits and the go to Cuba in their droves. It is a VERY popular destination for us every summer and packages are sold by almost every major tour operator in Britain.Now I have a reseller package with Enom. It is therefore with some alarm that I hear stories of my DNS provider closing down entire businesses with no good legal reason. I guess if I was Enom and the US treasury came and shouted at me, I would buckle too… but in this case the Treasury should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Link Building Training Course at SES

SES Speaker

I have been on various panels in the past at SES New York, but I don’t suppose even hardened professionals at these conferences realize that the day before or the day after the bigger conferences, SES runs a much smaller – more intense training day. This year it is on the Friday after the man event.

I was first asked to to Link building training for SES back in their SES@A4U event in the autumn. I was so worried that I would make a fool of myself that I flew of to SES San Jose JUST to watch how Debra Mastaler and Jennifer Laycock coped with four hours of intense training to a small, hyper-interested group of delegates. Talking for 15 minutes to a mass audience is one thing, but four hours is quite a different matter!

Anyway, the London event went fine in the autumn and I my feedback scores were at least good enough get a chance to go again in New York. I hope that the US audience will be kind to me too.

P.S. Happy Birthday Shimrit.