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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

With over 1.5 billion conversations stored, can you afford not to listen?

Tag: Social Media

Jun 18, 2009 1 Comment

Social Media and Smarter Product/Service Development

It’s exciting to watch as the value of social media is being revealed in layers: one layer, the fairly wide recognition of the value of monitoring social media as a means to follow what people are saying about ones products and/or brands; and another layer: which is less common but gaining in popularity – monitoring to support active participation in social media circles for engagement with the public a la Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines on Twitter.

And now, the newest layer: using social media to help guide smart product/service development. Only a small number of forward-thinking companies (savvy ones, to say the least) are turning to social media as a means to run customer‐led innovation initiatives. One of the most talked about examples of the moment is Del Monte’s launch of Pup‐Peroni , which is featured in a video case study at Advertising Age. The piece tells of how the company used a collaborative online community to successfully launch the Pup‐Peroni dog snacks in six weeks. It’s an excellent example of customer‐led innovation played out within social media. Del Monte isn’t the only company using this family of model to make
innovation a community exercise that taps into the creativity and user‐driven suggestions of its lead customers. But there’s another angle to using social media to find your lead customers, and to tap into what they have already said – and are saying – to help guide product/service development; to help companies better understand what their – your ‐‐ customers need. As researchers, what we realize (and have realized through work we are doing for our clients) is that for many, many companies, a mass of information that holds precisely these clues exists online, though often buried in niche communities. Locating these communities and analyzing their conversation for insights that can help guide smarter product/service development is precisely what we do for our clients.

At the Social Studies Group, we are digging deeply in exploration of the tastes, ideas and opinions that can help companies guide product/service development. As researchers, we are immersed in this task. And as researchers, we are repeatedly fascinated by what we continue to find.

We recently completed a project for a national consumer foods company in connection with a product that has not been as successful as they had hoped. Our job was to collect information that would help guide the development of a follow‐up product. A second assignment saw us collecting consumer opinions around an existing media‐related product; the purpose: to help ensure that its next iteration mirrors readers’ interest. The task of locating these communities and relevant conversations almost always begins with monitoring. For instance, we know first‐hand that SM2 holds vast potential for uses far beyond simply gauging the popularity of ones brand. The key is knowing how to design your search in order to arrive at the results that will lead to the most valuable insights which are, in this case, the information that reveals your customers’ real needs and translates to smarter product/service development.

Wendy Goldman Scherer

Wendy founded Scherer Cybrarian in 1995. She knew from her years as a partner with Bozell Worldwide that there was a great need for knowledge synthesis and business research that was more than a mere information dump. The business has grown and expanded over the years to include primary research, GIS, news aggregation and monitoring, and much more. But what she loves the most is social media research. (Don’t laugh. Everyone should love their work as much as Wendy does!) Scherer has been working with clients for many years now on social media monitoring and reporting and, best of all, social focal reporting.

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Apr 17, 2009 2 Comments

Twitter Spammers Are Getting Traction

The current economy is a chaotic test of bravery and creativity.  At a time when many businesses around the world are hurting and adjusting to the economic realities in an effort to stay alive, the quest to “monetize conversations” within social media has given way to a rise in use of questionable tactics.  We all need to create value and tangible results, how one gets there is the key differentiating factor. 

Since comScore is stating that Twitter traffic hit 10 million visitors as of February of 2009, the stakes are high and climbing. At this pace it’s completely feasible that Twitter will triple to 30 million visitors or more by the end of the year. Given the economic reality and desperate need to drive revenue, I believe more Twitter users will resort to various spamming techniques. The formula for them is simple, get as many followers as possible by any means possible, automated or otherwise and then solely based on volume of followers broadcast or “spam” them into oblivion directing them to a lame product site. Repeat process. Largest challenge? Inventing new Twitter account names.

Despite the best efforts of Evan Williams, Biz Stone and the entire Fail Whale…er Twitter crew, spammers are still prevailing which clearly takes away from the value of influence by watering down the experience.

For example, while writing this post and observing the search term “new to Twitter,” a particular tweet showed up 26 times in just over 30 minutes with 14 of those accounts being most likely fake ones similar to the examples below.

columbianotfund:RT @brad_callen has a cool, new FREE tool to massively increase the number of Twitter followers you have!

More than an hour later….

TravelGiveaway:RT @brad_callen has a cool, new FREE tool to massively increase the number of Twitter followers you have!

As stated, initially the vast majority of these ReTweets were from starter accounts with no picture, low numbers and only one tweet (shown above) to show for the account. The safe assumption is that Callen is the spammer behind this activity.The scary part however, I observed Callen getting traction.The rate at which this tweet was showing up was increasing over the remainder of the hour, fueled by fake accounts, while more and more real Twitterati started picking up on the ReTweet action.What did Callen’s account say during this attack? “Welcome new Tweeters!”

I hesitated before exposing this tactic for fear of spawning new spammers but there it is. If you believe in generating real social capital, having a strong reputation then please be a decent human being and don’t spam people with a ton of fake or ghost Twitter accounts.The unfortunate part is, I know this plea will fall on more than a few deaf ears.  So I call on all Twitter users who read this to expose these fraudulent activities at the very least by using the hashtag #spammer.

“If only fail-whales could be controlled to solely affect spammers while leaving the rest of us alone…if only.”

Walter Schwabe

is the Chief Evolution Officer of fusedlogic inc., one of Canada’s leading social media strategy firms. Walter Schwabe Factoids: His favorite toy growing up was a purple dune buggy pedal car and also, he wishes he still had his Commodore Vic 20 to remind him of pre-warp society. Twitter: @fusedlogic if you dare.

Apr 7, 2009 0 Comments

Who Should Be Your Online Voice?

Congratulations. Your company has finally decided to make the official
online plunge.

A blog, twitter and maybe even Facebook. Whatever you decide, be sure you
have chosen the appropriate “host” for your online “gathering.” This is a
cocktail party for your brand - that never ends. Your online voice is
always on, always entertaining and always looking for more guests.

Call them what you wish: Interaction Evangelist; Knowledgarian Czar; Content
Chief; Information Marshall - they need to posses key traits to ensure

Your online voice needs to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME), someone you’re
confident will maintain respectable behavior and maintain a clear 30,000
foot view of the business development role.

Subject Matter Expert

An SME will be well versed on your industry; engaging discussions about the
current activities, issues and hot points. They will clearly understand the
history of your market segment and have a unique perspective on the future
direction as well. Knowledge of your competition is a must.

This person should have a solid understanding of the key online properties
that relate to the business. Do they participate in related blogs,
discussion groups/forums and industry related niche sites?

Online Behavior

This person needs to be an “A” level player with regards to online behavior
and actions. Ask yourself, would you be comfortable with this person talking
to members of the community? Can they be a consistent representative for
your business?

You host should be somewhat connected to the other “movers & shakers” within
your market as well. If not, are they positioned well to become an
influencer with their experiences, knowledge and network?

The last thing you want is someone who is argumentative and combative; the
ultimate “know-it-all” is a huge turn-off. Have you met that person at a
social event? Not someone you want to spend much time with, is it?

30,000 Foot View

My interpretation of being able to see the big picture is always identifying
additional creative opportunities for the company. Measuring ROI and other
metrics is often an after-thought; every conscious effort should be
monitored, tracked and rebalanced at least every 90 days to ensure the
efforts are not an exercise in futility.

They should be knowledgeable on the Search Engine Optimization strategies
which benefit your company. Their inter-department communication skills
skills should be head and shoulders above nearly everyone within the
company. Not only should they be familiar with daily activities and
strategies, they need to communicate their initiatives back to the company
to avoid any surprises.

Are they monitoring tiny URL’s, site analytics and using social media
monitoring tools? Have you outlined specific metrics such as improved
traffic, increased conversions and improved revenue from specific online
channels? These are must-have tools for your online manager’s toolbox.

Making the decision to utilize multiple online marketing channels is a big
decision. Finding the right person to drive that bus is just as important.

Have you made the right choice?

Eric Miltsch

Eric Miltsch is the Internet Director for Auction Direct USA Used Cars Superstore; he blogs professionally at in his effort to help change the way consumers buy used cars. His personal ramblings can be found at

Mar 20, 2009 0 Comments

Please Don’t Invite Your Friends…

Unless you really know that they want it.

These days, when you get an email, it’s less likely to be the subject line than the name of the sender that will be the PRIMARY reason why you would (or would not) read your message.

Now, think about this in the context of much of what is happening online.

Companies, websites, Facebook applications…they all make it easy for you to invite your friends or share things with them.

Just because it is easy for you to upload 500 pictures from your vacation doesn’t mean I want to see them.

And, just because it is easy for you to invite all of your friends to your new Facebook group or cause, doesn’t mean that I want to join.

If it’s relevant, sure, invite your friends, but only if you KNOW that it is relevant.

Because if it isn’t, you are taking a big risk.

As David Berkowitz blogged, “No, I Don’t Want to Join Your Group (Nor am I a Fan)”


And, if you look down below the group and cause invites that you receive on Facebook now, you’ll see the line that says “Ignore All Invites From This Friend.”

When someone clicks on that, you become like Diana, the equivalent of a Facebook spammer.

For all intents and purposes, your ‘marketing messages’ just don’t exist.

You have lost relevance.

You have lost permission.

And you don’t need me to tell you that you can’t afford to have that happen.

Jeremy Epstein


A “Marketing Navigator for the Attention Economy,” Jeremy helps his clients turn their communities of “raving fans” into their best marketers..

Jeremy spent almost 6 years at Microsoft developing revenue-producing communities and authoring one of Microsoft’s most successful marketing blogs (over 110k views/month).

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Sep 16, 2008 0 Comments

Leveraging LinkedIn Groups: Social Pros

Social Pros is a new Group on LinkedIn with a simple yet ridiculous goal: To be the largest LinkedIn group for Social Media Professionals.

First, what are Social Pros?

  • marketing and PR people who get social media
  • community managers who build and moderate social media for companies and organizations
  • pundits, consultants, analysts, prognosticators, seers and makers creating new social media applications and services
  • connectors, hubs and spokes
  • Communicators!

Why LinkedIn Groups?

  • they’re focused on business (hence the ‘Pros’ moniker)
  • ROI is measurable via connections and introductions
  • using the pre-eminent business social network will attract business people who only marginally understand social media, helping us cross the chasm
  • Safe For Work

I could go on but instead I want to wear my mad scientist lab coat and declare:

We are out to take over the world!

Join us. And invite others -you know, like virally… ;-)

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Jul 1, 2008 0 Comments

Posterous could centralize your social media communication

Posterous is a Y-Combinator funded start-up that’s doing something very simple that could change the way we aggregate our communications in social media. At its most basic you simply send an email to and you’ve posted to a newly created blog. The subject is the title and the body is the email text. Not that unusual but well-executed.

It gets more interesting. You can attach a file like a photo, a video or an audio file to the email and Posterous formats it and embeds it into the post. Again very nice.

Garry, one of the founders tells me that very soon you’ll be able to:

“Well, we hope to make life easier by making posting everywhere easier. Soon you’ll be able to host everything at posterous, but have it get posted to everything else—Facebook, Flickr, your Wordpress blog, Twitter a la Twitpic / tinyurl, etc.”

This centralization of things is going to multiply the entire scope of social media if it gets adopted.

Mine is here.

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