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design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

What is Web 2.0?

May 29th, 2008

Web 2.0 is a term that has proliferated rapidly over the last few years. The term has become so popular that it’s now being used by about anyone for about anything (Web 2.0 Easter greeting card anyone?). For most businesses, it’s not necessary to understand Web 2.0 in much technical detail. What is important to understand are the massive social and business environment changes that the Web 2.0 phenomena is driving.

Web 2.0—The widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication.

Web 2.0—The Basics

Web 2.0 is simply the widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication. As you may be aware, some of the most common Web 2.0 applications are blogs, podcasts, Content Management Systems (CMS), social networking sites and user forums. Each of these technologies can be defined within Web 2.0 depending upon how they’re utilized. Technology is a prerequisite for Web 2.0, but it’s the widespread acceptance and use part of the definition that really matters.

Let the Buyer Beware

The most important aspect to Web 2.0, from my perspective, is that it has sparked a grassroots revolution by consumers. The era of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) progressively grew through the 20th century until we languished under a never ending stream of unbelievable advertising. Regardless of consumer protection laws, the reality was that we were largely forced to rely on the naturally biased advertising and promotional information provided by businesses.

The losers in this environment were of course the consumers, but also those businesses who truly did offer unique value and could not afford to carpet-bomb our televisions, magazines and mailboxes. Nor could a business offering real value do much in their advertising to show they were different, since their competitors would make the same claims.

Consumers who wanted unbiased information about a seller relied on personal referrals—the most unbiased and believable feedback available. They were limited however by the finite capacity of their own personal networks.

Let the Seller Beware

Web 2.0 has ignited a new era of caveat venditor (let the seller beware). The rapid change in the marketing nvironment is not due to legislation or litigation, but rather the widespread practice of consumers sharing unbiased
information about a sellers product to other customers and prospects.

A simple example can be seen with books. Outside of our friends’ recommendations, we’ve had to rely on the
publisher’s information or from the questionably neutral editorial reviews. Now, thanks to Amazon and others, we have access to a large and active community of other consumers who provide us their unbiased feedback. Of course this is not a perfect system, those with ulterior motives can post reviews but we can use common sense to evaluate the reviews collectively and form a more reliable conclusion about a product.

For example, if I were to rely on attractive cover and glowing editorial review for Deck Planner: 120 Outstanding Decks You Can Build I might convinced to buy this book. But when I look at relatively low rating by consumers and their mixed reviews, I opt for a better choice.

The important point to understand about Web 2.0 from a business perspective is that our products and services will increasingly be promoted or demoted in the marketplace by consumers, and that advertising and PR will continue to lose effectiveness. Consumers now have better choices of where to get information before making a purchase decision.

The Web 2.0 revolution is only bad news for those sellers who have gotten away with neglecting their customers. In my next post, we’ll explore some of the unprecedented opportunities and strategies for businesses offering true value.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization

February 1st, 2008

This article has moved to a new page.

Digg and Del.icio.us

February 23rd, 2007

With the number of questions I’m getting from clients about why we included Digg and Del.icio.us tags on their site, I’m starting to realize that I’m not doing a very good job of explaining why upfront. So, in an attempt to reverse this trend, here’s a bit of an explanation.

Digg and deli.cio.us are two of the most popular services for social networking. As you may be aware, social networking is a huge phenomenon powered by the newest web technologies (aka Web 2.0). For more insight look up “Internet Social Networks” on Wikipedia, but the essence of social networking from a business perspective is that it provides an unique free opportunity for an organization to get their message heard and propagated.

Social networking is relatively new to mainstream but growing fast and many believe that it will play a key role in the future of the Web. In addition to providing a medium for referrals, it also provides a means by which your site can be more visible to the Internet as a whole through indexes and search engines. Sites with quality, well targeted and frequently updated content are good candidates for success using social networking. For example, Idaho Business Review recently deployed a Web 2.0 site on which they utilize social networking links prominently in each of their online articles (see
an example
). There are a lot of dynamics to be in place before a site is going to grow exponentially from its inclusion in social networks, but it comes down to a principle that an old sales veteran once told me, “If it can’t hurt, and might help, why not do it?” And of course, having Digg and Del.icio.us links make you look hip.



Understanding Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

July 26th, 2006

What is RSS?

SS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s an easy way for you to keep up with news and information that’s important to you, and helps you avoid the conventional methods of browsing or searching for information on websites. Now the content you want can be delivered directly to you without cluttering your inbox withe-mail messages. This content is called a “feed.” RSS feeds are commonly syndicated from special web pages called blogs.

RSS is written in the Internet coding language known as XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which is why you see RSS buttons commonly labeled with and XML icon: XML button. Other common icons that indicate an RSS feed include: RSS feed icon & RSS feed icon

What is Podcasting?

Podcasting is an RSS Feed that includes MP3 audio files, usually published through blogs. Listening to a podcast simply means downloading an MP3 audio from a link in a blog you’ve subscribed to. Once you download the file, you can either listen to it on your computer or transfer it to an MP3 player like an iPod to listen on the go.
Find out moremore podcasting information

What is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader is a small software program that collects and displays RSS feeds. It allows you to scan headlines from a number of news sources and display them in a central location.

RisingLine also builds web sites that can be auto updated through RSS feeds from your own blogs or external sources to provide valuable automatically updated content for your visitors. For the more technically oriented, we also sponsor the site

Where Can I Get an RSS Reader?

Some browsers, such as the current versions of Firefox, have built in RSS readers. If you’re using a browser that doesn’t support RSS, there are avariety of RSS readers available on the web; for some there is no charge to download and others are available for purchase.

RisingLine makes it easy for your visitors to subscribe to your RSS news updates by including options for your feed to be automatically added to individual’s popular home pages just by clicking on a graphic link. If you have a homepage at one of these sites try clicking on the graphic to add our news to your page:

RSS Feed


RSS Feed Add to Google


RSS feed for My AOL

We utilize the great resources of FeedBurner to provide a smart feed that allows people to choose the RSS syndication tool that works best for them.

How Do I Add RSS Feeds Manually?

If you’re using a RSS news aggregator instead of one of the options listed above, each reader has a slightly different way of adding a new feed, also called a “channel.” Follow the directions for your reader but, in most cases, here’s how it works:

  • Click on the link or small XML button near the feed you want. For example, on http://RisingLine.com/blog/ click on RSS Feed
  • From your web browser’s address bar, copy the URL (web address). For example, the URL you would copy for
    our blog is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/NewMediaMarketing
  • Paste that URL into the “Add New Channel” section of the reader. The RSS feed will start to display and regularly update the headlines for you.

Subscribe to RisingLine’s RSS Feed

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