How To Choose Your Online Storage Vendor?

onlinebackupAccording to Stuart Andrews of PCAuthority.com, “With online services easier to use and cheaper than ever, there’s now no excuse not to back up your files“. I recently conducted a search for the optimal online storage solution. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG! It’s a rather cluttered space where even the big dogs fail! Instead of providing you with opinionated reviews, here’s the facts and the sites you’ll need in order to conduct accurate research.

Review/Comparison Sites

With every product you shop for, free or paid-subscription, review sites are crucial in the process. It’s an industry in itself and publishers have done the work for me.

  1. About.com:  The Best Free Online Storage Sites on the Web By Wendy Boswell
  2. PCAuthority: Online backup by Stuart Andrews
  3. TopTenReviews.com: 2009 Online Storage Services Product Comparisons

If you manage to rip through those 3 sites, you’ll really get a sense of what’s out there and what you’ll be paying for it. Here’s a list of products I had a chance to view: ADrive, ElephantDrive, IBackup, eSnips, Carbonite Online backup, BullGuard Backup 8, WizzDrive Online Backup, Mozy Online backup, SOS Online backup, IDrive. Am I satisfied yet? No and let me explain why…

Strong Talking Points

It really matters what you’re needs are. From this point on, I’m representing Small Businesses/Ultra Light Startups that need to boot strap, but require sufficient security. Based on that knowledge, when I went through the lists, I gained some knowledge (ie: a strong list of concerns). For example, it really matters where and how the information is stored. I found an article on TechCrunch saying that Online Backup Company Carbonite Loses Customers’ Data, Blames And Sues Suppliers (Updated). Carbonite Inc., a Boston company that backs up computer data for businesses and other organizations, claimed that “2 other companies sold it more than $3 million worth of defective hardware, resulting in thousands of customers losing data”. (The Boston Globe). At the end of the day, whether or not it was their fault…it happened! They aren’t the first company to have this happen, but I’m just saying it’s something to consider.

There’s also the issue with dragging and dropping. With external hard drives, you can easily drag the selected files and drop them into the external folders. Some of these sites are web-based software and won’t allow it. For those that are software based, some claim to use ‘superior encryption methods’ that won’t allow drag and drop. I’m getting the feeling this process wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

There are plusses and minuses to each product. My best advice would be to do what I’m about to do…SIGN UP FOR A FREE TRIAL AND SEE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!! If you don’t wan’t to give your credict card info, go to CNET and see if you can download the software based products. Another option is to find unlimited free storage services. Sounds to good to be true? It may be! Read on and find out…

Are They 2 Good 2 Be True?

Based on that, I checked into free services offered by giants like Microsoft and Google. I was pleased to find Microsoft provided it’s Live users with Windows Live Skydrive, which allows 25GB of free online storage. The downside is you’re limited to 50mb per file uploaded and you CAN’T UPLOAD FOLDERS…just files! There’s a way around it, but come on…either make it easy, or lose to Google.

On that note, you would think that Google would have a competing service by now…the answer is no, BUT it’s on the way. TGDaily.com reports, Throw your hard drive away, Google’s Gdrive arriving in 2009 – “If the company applies its “free-everything” policy to Gdrive, a free version should give us enough online storage to match the capacity of hard drives typically found in the machines of average users. Paid versions could offer true- or near-unlimited storage.”

I can’t wait for the GDrive but until it’s out, if you’re looking for an equivalent? My decision is to go with MyBloop.com, “The site to upload and share files for free with infinite space.” It’s true! And the guys who put it all together are GENIUS’S! Take a look at the team! When I was recruiting LAMP developer roles for AC Lion, these guys were gold! My friend Angel Leon, a developer with a background at LimeWire and Flycell, first showed me this product and I have to say…it looks promising. I can’t say it will be around forever, but for now, I’d use it. I guess you could say they are 2 good 2 be true.

Posted under Tech2.0

“TwittErotica.com” – If Twitter did Porn!

twitterotica-logo

“Social networking was supposed to be the Net’s next rocket to riches. But many social sites are having trouble capitalizing on their audiences, and it’s looking like the convivial atmosphere that promised to boost the value of commercial messages may actually diminish it.” (Conde Naste)…but I have the solution! I figured it all out: How to make Twitter money?

Defining The Issue

I know this is a rather “racy” topic, but everyones talking about twitter. If you don’t know what Twitter is by now, let me sum up in 140 characters or less: Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users updates known as tweets of up to 140 characters in length. Sound crazy? Let the #’s do the talking:

  • November 2008 : Forrester Research –  Twitter had 4-5 million users
  • February 2009: Compete.com – Twitter is the 3rd largest social network
  • March 2009: Nielsen.com – Twitter is the fastest growing social network (1382%)

Yet at the end of the day, only 1 number really counts: REVENUE! The problem is, “Twitter makes a negligible amount of revenue from users that send and receive messages as SMS texts, and overall loses an undisclosed amount of money.” (Wired)

Solutions in Progress

So, it has been 3 years and Twitter finally serves up some ads…well kind of. On March 16th, as reported by Adrants, “Twitter, has finally incorporated ads on the pages of its website. The rather unobtrusive text ads are cutely marked up as dictionary entries and appear in a sidebar below a user’s stats and above their thumbnail mosaic of followed users”. 7 days later, the Business Insider (Silicon Alley Insider) points out yet another revenue stream. Twitter “will offer promotional space on Twitter.com to ExecTweets, a Web site that aggregates tweets from business executives, organized by ad network Federated Media”. It should look promising, but it still feels like Twitter is avoiding untapped potential. “Twitter — whose user base is exploding — certainly has many potential revenue-generating options at its disposal, including ads, premium accounts, corporate user verification, etc.” (Business Insider)…well, they couldn’t be more right!

 

My Solution? “TwittErotica.com”

In May 12th 2007, TechCrunch made a very strong statement:

“Usually the porn industry innovates first and key features make their way to more mainstream sites. But over the last couple of years, many of the new ideas around web applications, like user generated content, video sharing, etc., went mainstream first and are now hitting the porn sites.” (TechCrunch)

For the first time, porn geeks and horny affiliates were in the back seat. Some examples of this included a user-generated porn YouTube clone called Pornotube.com, as well as a few others like EroShare.com and ScrewTube.com. 2007 provided a year of innovation for online pornography.

“The Web has been a goldmine for pornographers — 2007 revenue from porn sites in the U.S. alone was more than $13 billion, and almost $100 billion worldwide.” (Morning Sentinal)

Compared to $2.84 billion generated in 2006, that’s almost 500% more than the previous year! So what’s stopping the porn industry from copying Twitter? If it worked for PornoTube, then it will work for “TwittErotica.com”. In fact, one porn-trepeneur has already started their own version in early 2008: Boobik.com.

The problem is, both Gawker and TechCrunch immediately coined it the “Twitter of Porn”, and I feel someone else could do a better job…and I think someone else is! Someone already bought the name TwittErotica.com. If you’re the owner and you’re reading this, “YOU ARE SITTING ON A GOLDMINE!” At first, I thought you may already be on twitter and it so happens there is a “@Twitterotica” username. Not sure if they’re related.

You’re probably asking yourself? Why is Joshua spilling the beans on a billion dollar idea? I really don’t know the answer to that besides saving my family name (Russak) from embarrassment. Though, I don’t think they’d mind once I have enough money to buy an Island in Dubai.

Posted under Online Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Networks

Using WordPress To Grow Your Business

Is there really a need to build small business sites from scratch anymore? As internet standards develop, there are “tools” that are becoming the basis of almost every site built. If you are a small business owner with a “limited” budget or simply a blogger, there are technologies out there that are both cheap and easy, yet 100% effective in creating a strong online presence.


wordpresslogoWordPress – The Ultimate Content Management System (CMS)

I was recently approached by HP to write about “Using WordPress to Grow Small Businesses” for their Logoworks: Inside Small Business blog . This is a loaded topic, which makes it all the more fun to write about! For those of you who don’t know, WordPress is  a very powerful Content Management Systems (aka: CMSa computer application used to create, edit, manage, search and publish various kinds of digital media and electronic text.“)

WordPress was originally designed as blogging platform, but WordPress’s community continued to expand and its uses continued to evolve. If you wanted to setup a portfolio, news/magazine, or e-commerce site – WordPress could handle the job. And best part? It’s Free!!  Steve Bruner, of Slipfire.com, built his entire business on creating WordPress websites.  “WordPress lets us get a full-featured website up and running in a fraction of the time it would take to build one from scratch” says Steve.  “The benefits of content management, built in SEO, easy feature expansion via plugins, a short learning curve for the user and one of the largest, most supportive communities on the web makes choosing WordPress a no-brainer”. An example of a few major sites that use WordPress:

For a complete list, check out the WordPress Showcase.  WordPress is a popular CMS for a broad range of businesses, meeting and exceeding their needs.


Top 5 Reasons To Use WordPress for Your Small Business

Just to give you a better idea of the demand for WordPress, last week oDesk (an online staffing marketplace and management platform) published What’s Hot? Skills with Fastest Growing Demand in 2008, and  based on job/project listings WordPress came out on top with a 427% increase since last year.

Don Campbell, founder of Expand2Web, says “WordPress is an ideal choice for small business websites.” With a background largely involved in Silicon Valley,  he started his company to help Small Business Owners build efficient and strong website and get a steady stream of new customers from Google/Yahoo searches. He  are his Top 5 Reasons To Use WordPress for Your Small Business Website:

  1. SEO – WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO) right out of the box. There are a few tweaks you need to make, but there are many seo benefits that WordPress provides for free. In fact Google’s own Matt Cutts says WordPress is “made to do SEO well” in this video: Matt Cutts gives tips to small business owners.
  2. Content – it is easy to update content on your website without knowing HTML.  Do you hate the idea of having to learn to use a complex HTML editor tool like Dreamweaver? Do you have to “ask” your webmaster every time you want to make a small change to your website? Well no longer – once WordPress is set up for you, you can easily create new pages or edit existing pages using a simple rich text editor.
  3. Extensions – There is a thriving ecosystem of developers creating themes and plug-ins – imagine free design themes, or the ability to extend your website with polls, contact forms, ratings or hundreds of other cool features without having to hire a web developer.
  4. Support – If you do have problems, or want to add very custom features, it is easy to find support and developers who can help you. There are literally thousands of WordPress developers out there. And there are so many people writing about WordPress that help is only a Google search away!
  5. One-click-installation – Quick installs are provided by many hosting providers, including Bluehost, 1and1 and GoDaddy.

Don Campbell and Steve Bruner use Worpdress for all of their clients because of these 5 reasons and more. The list goes on, but the point is simple: It’s Efficient and Effective!


Best WordPress Plugins

It’s important to elaborate on just how strong and vast WordPress Extensions are. Kieran Hawe, Sr. Director of Online Marketing at Folica Inc., (previously Director of SEO at MTV Networks) said it best: “The real value of using WordPress are the enormous amounts of plugins available to help you manage, promote and do just about anything else with your blog.”  He published a list of the Best WordPress Plugins covering anything and everything. I suggest you check it out. A few of my favorites include:

  • All in One SEO Pack: Optimizes your WordPress website for Search Engines. Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines, generates META tags automatically, avoids the typical duplicate content found on site. Override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want. You can fine-tune everything, Backward-Compatibility with many other plugins, like Auto Meta, Ultimate Tag Warrior and others.
  • Lighter Menus: Lighter Menus creates drop-down menus instead of the regular admin menus of the WordPress interface, so that you can browse items with one click and work on your website in a much more usable environment.
  • Enhanced WP-ContactForm: WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. In the message it sends to you it gives the page the user visited before the contact page, as well as the original outside referrer. It can be implemented on a page or a post.
  • Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your website which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO.
  • WordPress Automatic Upgrade: Usually you have to go to your hosting company in order to upgrade your site – not with this plugin which takes care of the upgrade automatically.

For more information on WordPress plugins and development visit Yoast.com.


Deciding if WordPress is Right For Your Business? Other CMS’s?

I recently attended an Ultra Light Startup group that put together a panel on Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS).  Experts representing different CMS’s, including WordPress, went head-to-head discussing the pro’s and con’s for small business using their services. I caught the panel on tape and if you need help deciding on a CMS, watch the video on YouTube. Even more noteworthy, the article I wrote about that event was picked up by the well know online publisher SmashingMagazine (<–They’re website is built on WordPress).

If you’re serious about WordPress for your Small Business needs, check out Don Campbells “WordPress for Small Business Websites” where he explores WordPress as a content management system for small business websites, including video tutorials on how to set up WordPress for yourself quickly to manage your small business website. You can also sign up for his free newsletter. Steve Bruner of Slipfire.com is another great person to contact if you’re considering WordPress. In terms of reading I suggest the blog of WordPress’s founding developer, Matt Mullenweg and also the WordPress Blog itself. By the time you’re done with all this reading, you’ll be a “WP-Pro”.

Feel free to contact me with any questions and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. You can contact me from my blog MarketingBlog.NET (also built on WordPress). Now go, sign up for WordPress and create an online presence for your company!


Article Posted by Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak on HP Logoworks – Inside Small Business Blog:

*If you have questions about hosting, go here for hosting help.

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing, Ultra Light Startups

MacBook Wheel “Keyboardless” Laptop

Laptop Keyboards are so 2008! Thanks to an e-mail from my good friend Mitch Goldford, I caught a glimpse of the new innovations associated with 2009: The “MacBook Wheel”

  • Keyboards will be replaced with large iPod scroll wheels
  • Lithium Ion will be replaced with Hummingbird Battery’s which last for a whole 20 minutes.
  • And I quote “Every file is just a few 100 clicks away”

…of course by now you understand that I’m joking, right? This “future prediction” was the result of an entertaining viral video released by TheOnion and later covered by TechCrunch. I’m not sure if apple had anything to do with this video, but I have a feeling they’re not going to take this one down.


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Posted under Blogs, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on January 6, 2009

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Online Industry Layoffs (*UPDATE)!

I wrote an article back in the end of October on How To Track Online Industry Layoffs! My source was Techcrunch’s layoff tracker. I have updated that last post a few times already and it’s scary watching these numbers grow. TC has been promoting their “CrunchBoard” Job Board which is not bad. I’ll let you know if I find anything good. As of now:

Total Layoffs Since August 27, 2008: 266

Total Employees: 93,119

And these numbers are constantly growing. For an updated & comprehensive list Click Here. There is also another source for tracking jobs in our industry: Web-Strategist.com! Jeremiah Owyang, Sr Analyst at Forrester Research Social Computing, started a post series (see archives) to recognize and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions.

Here as interesting iChart covering day by day tracking of Industry Layoffs:

Posted under Job Search

This post was written by Joshua Russak on December 4, 2008

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