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Marketing's role needs to change in the face of increasing consumer control.

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Story by: Cliff Boodoosingh     Date: Mon, July 26th, 2010          ... more from Cliff

It's about 'Findability'

People like Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios, believe that 'search' is the most disruptive innovation of our time.

That's a pretty bold statement, but the fact that it comes from a "crazy librarian who fell in love with the Web", gives it a little more context. The fact that search represents one of the more important ways that we learn, gives it more credibility.

From design principles that start from the one step at a time framework, to the context of use (clunky thumbs on a keyboard), Morville shared ideas and ideals about what search is and should be in the future during his Search Engine Strategies keynote on June 10th in Toronto.

We should focus on incremental improvement, he suggests. We should strive for radical innovation and find new ways to help people use the 'box'- not just to put keywords in but to ask questions. And then help them ask better questions. Perhaps then we find a better way to overlay results with a compare and contrast feature which tells us what we've found. The ultimate goal would be 'findability' or the ability to find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime.

That's plenty to think about isn't it? Full marks to Morville on injecting some eye-opening ideas.

Story by: Cliff Boodoosingh     Date: Tue, May 4th, 2010          ... more from Cliff

Ten Angry Governments, One Semi-Apologetic Search Engine

Jennifer Stoddart believes that "the privacy rights of the world's citizens are being forgotten as Google rolls out new technological applications."

Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has plenty of support from her peers in France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The group of ten slightly perturbed countries wrote a joint letter to Google's CEO basically stating: "We were disturbed by your recent roll-out of the Google Buzz social networking application, which betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws."

Admittedly, Google did get the February launch of Google Buzz wrong. The letter mentions that Gmail users were not told "about how this new service would work or providing sufficient information to permit informed consent decisions." Thus, many people were ill-informed about the use of personal information. Google was praised, somewhat, for moving quickly to alleviate any damage.

Part of Google's emailed response from the PR desk reads: "We try very hard to be upfront about the data we collect, and how we use it, as well as to build meaningful controls into our products. Of course we do not get everything 100% right."

That goes without saying. Google's Street View service is also under fire as people were photographed on the street and some images inside people's homes were captured by the company's cameras.

Story by: Cliff Boodoosingh     Date: Mon, February 8th, 2010          ... more from Cliff

A Marketing Toolkit for the New Year

There's never a shortage of questions in our business. That's a good thing. So basically you must carry the attitude that there are no stupid questions, regardless of the source.

So you hear this one a few times especially during the first couple of weeks into the New Year: I’m thinking of starting up a website, what should I do?

Some take a cue and bail out immediately, but I always respond with something like this: Have you bought a domain yet? Normally, this gets into a lengthier discussion but I've covered the territory before.

But so have many other people in the field. And luckily, I have a good reference to draw upon.

Paula Peters', The Ultimate Marketing Toolkit (Adams Media, 2009) is a good starting point. It not only provides the basics of what everyone needs to think about when starting a website such as domain names, content, web design and hosting but serves as a great resource for planning a business. That's far more important, isn't it?

Whether you want to design a logo for a business card, pick a tag line for your product line or try your hand at press releases, this easy to follow book covers the vast area quite effectively. You even get tips on newsletters, blogging and social networking.

Maybe the questions haven't changed that much, but thankfully the answers keep improving.