Check Out Facebook’s *NEW* Streamlined Inbox!

facebook new inboxFacebook has officially launched their *NEW* Streamlined Inbox.  According to an article written a month ago on Mashable, Preview Your New Facebook Inbox, “the new feature isn’t live for everyone yet, and might not be for a few weeks.” Facebook provided the above preview image for what the updated Inbox will look like…and tonight, IT WENT LIVE!

My *NEW* Inbox Has Been Updated

For your own viewing pleasure, here’s what it looks like, for real. Click on the image below to get a closer look.

Facebooks New Inbox

As you can see, the new filters appear to make it much easier to filter through read and unread messages as well as messages from people versus groups. Mashable did a good job of asking the question: What’s missing? “Being able to reply to messages from your own email address would still be nice, but don’t expect to see that feature added any time soon.” But that’s fair…we wouldn’t need to ever visit Facebook otherwise…and that wouldn’t be smart.

So What Does This All Mean?

For starters, it seems I’m one of the first to get the update (and blog about it) and secondly…I’m not sure, but it seems like Facebook is turning into a Facebook describes the upcoming changes as follows:

“The new Inbox design gives you more control over organizing messages and choosing which messages you receive. You’ll notice that there are now filters at the top of your Inbox to help you identify unread messages as well as to report any spam, or unwanted messages, you may receive …

To find specific messages within your Inbox, you can type a keyword or a friend’s name in the search box in the upper-left corner of the screen.”

How Will This Change The World?

Well, I’d formulate my own opinion, but another (random) blog did a pretty good job of saying it better a month ago: “The company had previously claimed that they aimed to make Facebook Inbox as usable as any dedicated email service so that users can in fact use it as their primary email client.” (Stuff.TechWhack.com)…and it’s quite evident that this is happening. Could this be the beginning of the end end of dedicated e-mail services as we know it? Will Google, Yahoo and MSN find a way to fight back? Stay tuned to find out what happens next…

Posted under Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on July 21, 2009

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How is Michael Jackson slowing down the internet? (Top 10 List)

In yesterday’s article, How Will The Internet React?, I said it very clearly: “This is going to be HUGE!”And I was right! According to BBC News, “the internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson’s death.”

MJ Goes Viral: Top 10 List

Effecting almost every area of the net, here’s a detailed lists of how MJ’s Death has literally slowed down the internet…(*sources include BBC News, ABC News, and MTV)

  1. GOOGLE: It’s true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page,” said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker. 
  2. GOOGLE: According to ABC News, Of the top 100 Google searches Thursday, more than 50 were related to Michael Jackson, the company said, adding that as people searched for lyrics to favorite songs, “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Billie Jean” were three most popular.
  3. TWITTER: According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour. That put news of Jackson’s death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.
  4. NEWS-SITES: Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.
  5. BLOG SITES: Popular websites TMZ, Perez Hilton and other related blog sites reportedly blacked out continuosly
  6. YOUTUBE: In Jackson’s honor, YouTube spotlighted Jackson’s memorable videos on its homepage and linked to the artist’s YouTube channel. The channel has garnered more than 9 million views. The “Thriller” video alone has attracted two million and counting.
  7. iTUNES:In Apple’s iTunes store, Michael Jackson’s music quickly shot into the top 10 charts within a matter of hours.
  8. NEWS WEBSITES: Full-blown memorial sites, such as MemoriesofMichael.com and Michael Jackson Memorial, have already been launched and invite fans to post videos, news and messages commemorating his life.
  9. FACEBOOK: Less than an hour after Jackson’s death had been confirmed, more than 500 groups remembering Michael Jackson appeared on Facebook, some with more than 50,000 members. The fan page R.I.P. Michael Jackson (We Miss You) had attracted more than 220,000 fans by midday Friday.
  10. WIKIPEDIA: Contributors  arewarring over official confirmation of Jackson’s condition and engaging in back-and-forth edits of the star’s entry eventually forced administrators to lock down all information related to Jackson until there was agreement among mainstream media outlets.

So yea…i’d say he took the internet by STORM :) On a final note, here’s Thriller with 61,348,893 views and still climbing:

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Viral Marketing

eCommerce On Saturday: What Should Jews Do?

bhphotovideo500

B&H Photo and Video, one of the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States closes their doors to observe the Jewish day of rest. Simply put, WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

I first heard about this in Webtribution.com’s article “E-Commerce: Religion Versus Revenue“. The author of the blog, Kieran Hawe, was on the hunt for a camera this past Saturday and came across the following message:

Please note that B&H does not process web orders from Friday evening to Saturday evening!

Kudos to B&H for religious observance, but what about the 100’s of other Jewish eCommerce sites that happen to keep their online stores open on weekends. I decided to do a little research of my own… I am quoting sensitive opinions so please, read this with an open mind…

Jewish Weekends 101: What is Allowed On ‘Shabbat’?

Shabbat (Hebrew: shabbat; Yiddish, shabbos; “rest” or “cessation”) is the day of rest in Judaism and lasts from sundown Friday until Saturday night. About a month ago, someone posted the following question on TheYeshivaWorld.com: “Does anyone know what’s a Jew to do about selling via an e-commerce website on Shabbat?” Overall, the response remained consistent. “The website can be available for browsing, but NO buying,” but this was no a universally shared opinion.

On the other hand, Nicholas Zamiska, previously a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, provides an opposing opinion. He published an article on Hashkafah.com in which he concluded that “Technically speaking, the vendor’s monetary acquisition, happens on a weekday so there is no issue”  (Rabbi Heinemenn). Web sites don’t process transactions on Saturdays…no money changes hands, so the sites should be able to remain open.

These are simply 2 different opinions. It all boils down to the companies choice and the ability to rationalize “religion vs. revenue” when a company could potentially be missing out on millions of dollars.

What Is There To Lose?

Some websites simply can’t give up selling on Jewish holidays. “One of my hottest business days was on Rosh Hashana,” says Rabbi Mayer Pasternak, creator of JewishMusic.com. Considering it’s one of the most important holidays of the Jewish year, this wasn’t an easy decision for him. “I felt a twinge of guilt, coming back and there were a couple hundred orders.” (Hashkafah.com) But that’s simply not the case with B&H Photo and Video. Owned by Herman Schreiber, an observant Jew, they decided to close both their store and website purchases on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Of the 1,500+ employees, Jews and non-Jews both support this decision. Richard Spiess, 34, a salesman at B&H for 2 1/2 years, said there are some advantages to being non-Jewish in such a heavily Jewish environment. “We get a lot of nice holidays off,” he said. (Post-Gazette.com) The employees may be happy about this, but this is still a huge loss for the company.

I had the chance to speak to one of their employees earlier today. Joshua Grashin, a Search Engine Marketing Optimizer at B&H for the past 2 years also agress that “it’s great to have holidays off”, but adds that he believes Herman’s decision actually improves the companies image in the public eye. “At first I thought that is must hurt them in some way becuse they’re literally closed for a 7th of the week which can add up over the course of a year. But the more people I talk to, the more I realize its something that people universally respect. People are fine with it because they still know they’re getting the best service. They respect their religious decision to close, to the point that they view B&H as a respectable company –  a company that has ideals! And any company that has ideals will directly relate to the business as a whole.”

To get an idea of what they’re missing out on, B&H serves over 11,000 customers daily, while a considerable amount of the company business comes from their website (sales, affiliate ads, etc.)  “The amount of money lost during the 24 hour +/- time period of Shabbat is significant, however it is obvious the owners of the business could care less about the lost revenue and focus more on their core religious beliefs and principals,” says Kieran Hawe, Co-Founder of Hawe Digital and  previously Sr. Director of Online of Online Marketing at Folica.com. This does wonders for their repuation. In fact,  Sergey Brin, President and co-founder of Google, said that B&H “happens to be my favorite camera equipment store.” (Google Q3 Earnings Call Transcript) Whether he relates to their ideals or not, there’s no doubt that this is a decision everyone respects.

In Coclusion

It’s apparent there are two strong opposing opinions. Based on Nicholas’s article, you can remain open without worrying about fiscal transactions occuring on Shabbat. On the other, you can maintain a stricter approach. Simply shut down and in return, come off as a business built on strong convictions and values. The choice is ultimately yours to make.

Posted under Blogs, Events, Jewish Marketing, Online Marketing

MarketingBlog.NET Ranks #1 in Yahoo!

I recently installed “Rank Checker“, a free Search Engine Ranking checking tool (by SEO Tools). I ran it for the first time today, and to my surprise,  MarketingBlog.NET ranks #1 in Yahoo for the keyword “Marketing Blog”:

yahooranking

Having been up for less than a year, this website is significantly growing.  Ranking higher than TopRankBlog.com (aka: MarketingBlog.com), I find this to be one of my first noteworthy accomplishments. For the same keyword in Google, I rank #21 (SERP #3).

But there’s even more good news. For the keyword “Online Marketing Blog”, I find myself on PAGE #1 of Google and Yahoo!, so not bad for a hobby 😉 Thanks for your support and if you have any suggestions as to how I can improve this site, please let me know.I hope this #1 Ranking continues. Feel free to check in on Yahoo! ranking by clicking “Marketing Blog  – Yahoo! Keyword Search” to see if I’m still up there. If I’m not, it must mean someone didn’t like what they saw on this blog post. BRING IT!

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing, SEO/SEM

Keyword Statistics For The Jewish Holiday of Purim

Wikipedia defines Purim as “a festival  that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman‘s plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.” It is celebrated annually, and as an Online Marketer, I am curious which month receives the highest volume of “Purim” based searches?

purimstats

The approximate average search volume for keyword “PURIM” is 74,000 (the approximate average monthly number of search queries for “Purim” performed on Google and the search network over a recent 12-month period). It only happens once a year, so what about the other 11 months of the year?According to Google, in the month of February, there was an average of 60,500 searches.  But take a closer look at the stats above…”Highest Volume Occured In: March“. Google hasn’t produced March’s #’s yet (probably because we’re only 9 days into the month), but if you take a look, the 2 months with any traffic is February and March. The rest of the year is pretty static.

So according to those numbers and assuming the rest of the year gets no traffic, March 2008 got around 87,500 hits. Not exactly astronomical numbers, but good enough to try and build a yearly campaign around. Every other keyword derivation (Purim Costumes, Purim Parties, etc.) fails in comparison. So there ya go…Purim in a nutshell!

Have a HAPPY PURIM!

Posted under Events

This post was written by Joshua Russak on March 9, 2009

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