TapeFailure Logo
Thanks to Allen over at Center Networks. I got an invite to the closed beta of TapeFailure.

TapeFailure is a service that allows you to visualize what your users are doing. As Allen alludes to it will be a great addition to services like CrazyEgg and Google Analytics once TapeFailure gets a few kinks worked out.

Recording – When TapeFailure is “recording” a user on your site, you get this constant “Waiting for www.TapeFailure.com…” which seems to make your site look like it has problems. (See Below). As you may have it, (thats right I’m recording You!)
This must be fixed, I’m no javascript Guru but if anything it should be showing, “Waiting for www.AddedTraffic.com…” not some other site, that has Failure in the name, this just doesn’t portray what I am trying to get my audience to think of my site.

To Record or Not to Record– they need to be able to implement a way to allow / disallow IP’s from being recorded. I really don’t want to see what I’m doing on my own site, I only want to see my users. As I type this, I am being recorded, this should be interesting to review.

I may post a link to it.

It just wasn’t worth watching

Fix the Statistics Page – there also seems to be an issue with the Statistics Page. I understand this is closed beta but this definitely needs to be fixed, if they wish to compete, or compliment the establish brands out there. e.g. (Crazy Egg)

Playback Tools – Playback of recorded videos seem to be lacking a lot, from what I had expected. Its a very unique feature, but some sort of speeding up of playback is necessary, other wise you will be sitting there watching some of your users videos for quite some time. Also playback speed seems to be slower than real time, this has its pros and its cons, but I think being able to switch up the speed is a huge value added feature.

Replay Screen Size – Currently the TapeFailure beta product shows videos in a small screen, so when the mouse moves the screen follows it, not allowing you to see the whole screen. This is a minor detail but it should be fixed in the final product.

Record Entire Visit – Allen at Center Networks stated:

“they can do multi-page tests. I was incorrect in the review.”

I have yet to find this feature but I truly hope this is added in the final product.

Pricing – According to Joshua the founder of TapeFailure:

“Pricing per month starts at 3.95, but there is a discount when more months are purchased.”

In my opinion, this is low, so fix up the features and raise the price a buck or two, and you get the best of both worlds. I have always been the fan of offering a quality service for a bit extra, giving the user the best possible experience. This is the approach my hosting company (DreamHost) should take, but thats a completely different story.

Creepiness – During all of my recordings, I always had feeling that I was stalking someone. It really is strange to think that someone is watching the way you browse their page (isn’t it). To me this seems like a small invasion of privacy. It will be interesting to see how this aspect is dealt with when TapeFailure goes live.

Overall – I think TapeFailure’s greatest use will be in optimizing forms, you will actually be able to see where users decided to quit going through with the form as well as where they hesitated. The ability to streamline your forms in this fashion will be a great advantage, as it takes simple a/b testing to the next level.

I look forward to seeing the final product as I am sure many of you are.

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Practice What You Preach

I find it oddly awesome that CVS stocks Love Cuffs for Valentine's Day even if they look uncomfortable
Creative Commons License photo credit: benchiladaAs many may have noticed, my blog posts have seemed to have come to grinding halt. This is temporary, following Markus’s lead I decided to put down the pen and glasses and stop reading and writing blog posts, to inturn spend my time on actually putting my knowledge gained from blogs to good use. Do not get me wrong, there is definitely value in blogs, but there is only so much that one can learn from reading them. 1 ounce of experience is worth 100 pounds of theory. This said if you have intentions of practicing what you read, stop reading and do it.

More posts will be coming shortly. I Promise.

Until then, if you have a start up, you simply must check out Center Networks latest offer.

I subscribed to this feed a few months ago, boy is there some good stuff on here.

Thanks to CN, I will also be posting my review of TapeFailure shortly. So far it looks amazing.

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Beg for Traffic – Social Bookmarking

With linkbait talk swirling in minds of those looking to capitalize on the Social Media Market, I understand the need for icons which allow users to bookmark good posts on their favorite social media site. But how many are too many?

As a good rule of thumb I would recommend keeping your icons or links to one line, featuring the top sites, and maybe one of the newer social media sensations you would like to promote. So in total maybe 4-5 or maybe you are one that prefers to stick to the good old Digg button.

Today, I stumbled on a nice SEM blog that has good content and has been up and running for a few months. With several insightful posts the blog made for an interesting read, and I may even subscribe his feed. However one thing blatantly stood out. Can You find it?

Beg for Traffic

Count em’ there are 55. My blog isn’t even wide enough to display the image properly so I scaled it down, but take a look. I didn’t even know half of these sites existed so could they really push any noticeable amount of traffic.

Now let me ask you, are you desperate for traffic? Because it looks like it to me. Listing even the most obscure social media sites may get you a few extra visitors daily, but is it worth putting all of this clutter on the page?

I think not. So stop Begging for Traffic

I love Bookmark Me and I’m sticking to it. Its clean its easy to implement and it gets the job done.

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Zamzar – Convert Your Files Free

Converting from one file type to another can be tricky. Every webmaster has come across this problem at one point or another. Just moments after realizing the file is in the wrong format a query goes into Google “.XXX to .YYY Conversion.” Many times these niches are dominated by programs that offer that one need conversion for $14.99. This price is reasonable if you are going to be doing this conversion more than once, but in many cases I end up checking out SourceForge and VersionTracker to see if there is something free can get the job done.

Zamzar in all of its Web2.0 greatness, offers an all in one converter that you don’t even have to download to use. Its easy to use and its file format support is expanding at a rapid rate. Finally an answer to those pesky files that you just can’t seem to convert.

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Thats right! You can now take a college course in SEO offered at Glasscock School of Continuing Studies as Rice University.
Information on the class can be found here SEO Class.

Topics will include the following:

  • Researching the competition
  • Analyzing and optimizing Web pages
  • Submitting pages to search engines
  • Monitoring search engine placement
  • Reporting and analyzing ranking results
  • Developing a reciprocal links list

Judging by the last topic I think this class would be well worth its weight in E-Gold for any aspiring web entrepreneur. “Developing a reciprocal links list

As a college student I prefer adjunct professors over full time professor, I find often they understand the ins and outs of the material better as they work in the field. In this case Professor Zaman needs to brush up on his skills SEO or the only thing his students will be ranking in is the supplemental results.

It also says:

[Professor Zaman] previously served as a Web master for The University of Texas Medical School at Houston

I hope Professor Zaman reads this because I would gladly reciprocal link with Rice University. :)

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But Google Needs Blackhat SEO!?

If you were trying to rank for a competative term such as Auto Loans how would you do it?

The question that always arises when SEO is mentioned are the ethics that are involved. As many know there are all varieties of SEO Black White even Blue. Some extremists believe that anything goes, others believe anything that displaces their website is wrong. As to where the line should be drawn in the sand, I am yet unsure, but with all the different shades, I ask you:

Which color of SEO does Google prefer?

Got it? Keep that hold of that thought and keep reading.

First off you would answer WhiteHat SEO, because its provides real valuable content to the end user. This is Google’s goal isn’t it? To offer the best service to their users.

Now take a step back:

Lets take a look at some of the higher PageRank and TrustRank pages:
ShoeMoney, TechCrunch, GreyWolf’s Blog, CopyBlogger, and Pronet Advertising.

How many Google Adsense ads do you see?

Very Few.

Now let me ask you? What is Google’s biggest cashcow?

Adsense/Adwords.

With Google’s revenue totaling $10.604 Billion in 2006. It is obvious they are making money, but how if the big traffic sites arn’t pushing their Adwords/Adsense?

A typical BlackHat can toss up a 20,000 page niche site and get it indexed in a matter of hours/days. With many BlackHats using Adsense as part of their game plan it seems they are not the only one benefiting from this relationship. I’m sure Google doesn’t mind the few pennies generated each day from every page a good BlackHat puts up.

Now we have reached the ethical dilemma: How to provide the best SERPS without hurting revenue.

Most BlackHat Spam sites last in Google’s SERPS for about 3 weeks to several months – Some get banned earlier, Some later. Once they are banned these sites often still receive traffic from Yahoo! and MSN. Though these other Search Engines do not drive near the amount of traffic Google can, this slow trickle still generates big momma G revenue.

So next time you think Google only likes WhiteHat SEO’s, you may want to rethink this. I would suggest Google doesn’t care what shade of SEO you are, as long as you are making them money. Take that for food for thought. 😀

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Introducing the Tools of the Week

In my recent travels in hyperspace I found a couple gems that have turned out to be life savers. In lieu of this each week, I will be posting a list of the new tools and things that have made my life easier for that week. Each new tool will filled under “tools” hopefully someday this will make a comprehensive guide for any newbie to start with.

This week we will start with two.

EasyPie – Feed Parsing for the Rest of Us | Price: Free – OpenSource
http://www.easypie.com

This amazing little tool does everything. It can parse RSS 0.9 1.0 2.0 and Atom. Has all sorts of nifty add-ins and uses CSS to control display of your desired feed. Simple Pie supports feed enclosures such as PodCasts or Video Casts. This tool even protects you from rogue feeds that could possibly harm you or your visitors computers. It takes out advertisements and will get the image for you even if it is blocked from hotlinking. This all in one tool is your one stop for RSS Parsing

EasyPie includes extensive support for various social media networks:
Bloglines, del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Google Reader, Ma.gnolia, MSN, My AOL, My Web 2.0, Netvibes, Newsburst, Newsgator, Newsvine, Odeo, Pluck, Podnova, Reddit, Rojo, Spurl, Technorati, and My Yahoo! Just to name a few.

 

 

The Scrutinizer – 283 Tools in One Place | Price: Free – Web Based
http://www.scrutinizethis.com/

This amazing list of tools keeps growing. Not only does it feature a wide variety of SEO tools. It has a ton of others to boot! This is a great place to start for any SEO Novice.

Currently filed under SEO are 25 tools.
Ready? Here is the list:

AdSense Preview, Class C IP Range, Code to Text Ratio, Directory Listing, DNS Information, Future PageRank, Google Banned, Indexed Links, Keyword Analysis, Keyword Position, Kontera Ad Preview, Link Analysis, Link Popularity, Link Price, Page Strength, PageRank, PageRank Overlay, Ranking Trend, SEO Analysis, Similar Pages, Spider Friendly Redirects, Spider Simulation, Suggested Google Keywords, Visitors, and WebRank.

All of these tool can be found other places, this is just hub to find them all. :)

Look for more great tools in the weeks to come.

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IMA? – Yes and No

Over the past year(s) I have gone through quite a growing phase. I’m starting to learn that as much as I love blogging there are numerous more effective uses of my time. However today. I thought I would update this long forgotten blog and drop a few links to some of the projects we are working on.

As of recent months I have been spending a large majority of my time working on affiliate offers and finishing up college. I graduate this summer from the University of Central Florida. The main affiliate offers I have been promoting are in sectors which do not come and go but are harder to gain traction in. One of these sectors is the Auto Loan industry. It has been pretty hard to get started but I am finally starting to see some return on the time investment.

As far as deep linking strategies go. I have been using social networks to help get my sites fully indexed. One of my sites has nearly 148k pages, so we are really pushing on getting them all indexed. For example you can create an Automotive Reading List on Grazr which can be used to syndicate your posts and help push some extra juice. As always any blogger should sign up for MBL, also known as my blog log. It is fairly effective, join a few groups, get a few friends and post your url. We also set up an Automotive blog log which has all of our most recently posts for one of our many auto loan sites. Hopefully these strategies paired with many that will remain unnamed (until later) will prove effective at getting large sites indexed.

All of this came about a few months ago when I came across a post about deep linking strategies to get new sites off the ground. Today I figured I’d give it a go but, the only issue is that I need a seed site which has some link juice to get started. That is where this old blog came into play. Who knows some day I may come back and start posting on this long neglected blog but until then. Enjoy :)

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Facebook as an Effective Marketing Medium

Flyer

Recently, Markus and I launched a Valentines campaign on Facebook targeting students in the Central Florida area.

The offer was a typical cell phone dating offer,
which could potentially be very appealing to many desperate college students. Our budget was small but, our flier ran 10,000 times at the University of Central Florida, 2,500 times at Rollins College, 2,500 times at Valencia Community College, and 2,500 times at FullSail. As I had expected our click through ratio was surprisingly low. With a total of 17,500 impressions we received a slim 20 clicks which lead to zero conversions.

This is by no means conclusive evidence, obviously, in order to understand the full potential of Facebook as a targeted marketing medium testing will need to be done on a much larger scale.

Recently Rae also launched a similar Facebook campaign with 25,000 impressions. I look forward to seeing her results to see if maybe we can see a trend starting to form. Hopefully she will post them sometime soon :)

If time and money were not a factor I would love to run a 100,000/day impression campaign at each of these schools over a several week period. With this type of analytical data we should start to see a trend starting to form.

I see Facebook as being a great place to brand your company but don’t try advertising there if you are looking for conversions.

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The Year of the Mashups

Currently posted on ProgramableWeb.com there are 377 APis with 1538 mashups. This makes roughly 2.99 mashups submitted daily, this seems like an astonishing rate, although I understand their popularity. Many webmasters see this as an easy cash cow. Take two or more API’s made readily available by larger companies and put them together to make something useful. What a great idea, plug in Adsense and you are good to go. I too have been thinking of making a mashup, but more and more the web has become about setting yourself apart. With an already flooded market the question is how to set yourself apart to offer a truly unique service to the end-customer. With more API’s popping up daily it seems the list will keep on growing.

To check out the Mashups that have already been created visit: The Mashup Matrix.

Some useful mashups:

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