Solution Revealed: Economist Ideas Economy Cyberschool Challenge Winner – Andrew Deonarine

In locations such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children, teens, and adults do not have access to education. Many are illiterate, and cannot make use of books and other learning material. While some technologies, such as inexpensive laptops and tablets have been proposed to address the educational needs of this population, the devices are too expensive, require some degree of literacy, and are difficult to implement in resource poor areas. However, cellular phones have significant penetration in the world’s poorest countries, since they provide a means to make a living. In essence, they comprise a global, untapped computer network. [Más…]

In this solution, I have presented a cellular phone based technology called EduCell that develops and distributes educational material using a method called PhoneCasting. PhoneCasting allows someone to write their own educational program using their phone and distribute it to other devices. EduCell consists of a piece of software that that runs small multi-lingual “scripts”, easily developed by local teachers in developing countries. Scripts are then assembled with multimedia to create interactive modules that teach reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Modules can then distributed (PhoneCasted) to millions of other phones via an Internet server, or pre-loaded, at no cost. The benefits of the PhoneCasting technology are significant: a software programmer or knowledge of English is not required to produce content, which democratizes software development. This would, for the first time, make basic literacy and educational material accessible to hundreds of millions of cellular phone users, and their children, around the world.


http://blog.innocentive.com/2010/09/30/solution-revealed-economist-ideas-economy-cyberschool-challenge-winner-andrew-deonarine/

I’m a Solver | Andrew Deonarine

Andrew Deonarine is the winner of the first Economist-InnoCentive Challenge, 21st Century Cyber Schools.

Earlier this month, The Economist announced a winner in the 21st Century Cyber Schools Challenge.  There were many strong submissions, and the team decided that the two runners up also deserved recognition for their outstanding solutions.  We will be posting solution summaries from the Challenge winner, Andrew Deonarine, as well as the two runners up in this Challenge, Tristram Hewitt and Daniel Rasmus.  Congratulations Andrew, Tristram and Daniel.

Below is a summary of the winning solution from Andrew Deonarine.  To see a larger version of the image, right click and select “view image”

CyberSchools Schematic for Blog

In locations such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children, teens, and adults do not have access to education. Many are illiterate, and cannot make use of books and other learning material. While some technologies, such as inexpensive laptops and tablets have been proposed to address the educational needs of this population, the devices are too expensive, require some degree of literacy, and are difficult to implement in resource poor areas. However, cellular phones have significant penetration in the world’s poorest countries, since they provide a means to make a living. In essence, they comprise a global, untapped computer network. Leer más “Solution Revealed: Economist Ideas Economy Cyberschool Challenge Winner – Andrew Deonarine”

Looking for Entrepreneurial Tips in ‘The Social Network’

“People want to go on the internet and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers them friends, pictures, profiles — whatever. You can visit, browse around, maybe it’s someone you just met at a party. I’m not talking about a dating site, I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”

Just like you, it all started with an idea — a concept that perhaps no one has ever come up with before, finding a niche that needs filling or a service that your customers can’t do without.

So before you dismiss The Social Network as inaccurate or a work of fiction, consider what you can learn from Facebook’s rags-to-riches story. And if you really don’t want to see the movie, read one of the books about Facebook’s rise to prominence. Check out Mezrich’s book mentioned above or The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, written by David Kirkpatrick.


The Social Network opens in theaters nationwide on Friday amidst a deafening buzz about Facebook‘s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. If people aren’t questioning the veracity of the film’s storyline, they’re speculating about it. Is it fact, fiction or just a dramatic, narrative account pumped up with a little extra Hollywood juice?

Controversy erupted months in advance of the release of the Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher film. Zuckerberg has publicly dismissed the film and the book it’s based on as works of fiction and has said he has no plans to see the movie. That’s certainly less extreme than William Randolph Hearst‘s alleged attempt to halt the distribution of Orson Wells’ Citizen Kane to curtail viewing of that “biographical” film — but it’s not much of an endorsement, either.

Of course, not all the folks at Facebook are happy with the depiction of their founder as a conflicted, ambiguous, untrustworthy visionary. The film portrays a character desperately trying to fit in with his Harvard surroundings, but lacking the social skills to do so. His coping mechanism is to develop a tool that enables him to interact with others at a distance and which now encompasses more than 500 million enthusiastic members.

Whether fact, fiction or a combination of the two, this film is a “must-see” for entrepreneurs — if for no other reason than the volatile emergence of Facebook is the story of every person with entrepreneurial ambition. This holds especially true for those of us who choose a level of personal, professional or financial risk in order to pursue an opportunity or a concept. That’s just what an entrepreneur does.
Leer más “Looking for Entrepreneurial Tips in ‘The Social Network’”

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: October 2010

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months. And to make them a little bit more distinctive from the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you need to look up some date, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?

This post features 45 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

* all images can be clicked and lead to the preview of the wallpaper;
* you can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our desktop wallpaper calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

So what wallpapers have we received for October 2010?


Smashing Magazine

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months. And to make them a little bit more distinctive from the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you need to look up some date, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?

This post features 45 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

So what wallpapers have we received for October 2010?

Liquifly

Designed by Nicolle Marie from USA.

Liquifly in Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: October 2010

Any Browser

“I just wanna spread the message, “Use any browser, it doesn’t matter. But use the latest version!”.” Designed by Minhaj Mohamed from Sri Lanka.

Any-browser-wallpaper in Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: October 2010

October 2010 Wallpaper

“For October 2010, still with the summer in the head, I wanted to imagine a magic place where I can go sometimes far from work, far from the Earth.” Designed by Benoit Chartron from France.

Wallpaper 99 in Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: October 2010

Take Your Web Designs to the Next Level

When you start out as a web designer, you do all you can to grasp the basic design principles so that you have a solid foundation to start your journey on. As you become more proficient in your craft, you start to learn techniques that are more advanced, and you begin to implement bigger and better things in your work until you reach a point where you feel pretty comfortable to step outside the bounds of the ordinary. What else can you do to take your web designs to the next level?

Here are just a handful of ideas you can consider if you’d like to take your web designs the next level.

Delve Into Design Details

If you look at most beautifully designed websites, you’ll notice that they are often set apart not because of big things, but the little details that let you know the designer took great care and attention of even the smallest of things. These small touches don’t need to be in your face to be powerful and effective; details can include a hairline stroke for additional depth, a faint gradient for more interesting surfaces, small icons for added visual appeal as well as to aid visual cognition, and so forth.

Here are three good examples of web designs that delve into the details.


by Shannon Noack |  Become a Facebook Fan of Six Revisions.

Take Your Web Designs to the Next Level

When you start out as a web designer, you do all you can to grasp the basic design principles so that you have a solid foundation to start your journey on. As you become more proficient in your craft, you start to learn techniques that are more advanced, and you begin to implement bigger and better things in your work until you reach a point where you feel pretty comfortable to step outside the bounds of the ordinary. What else can you do to take your web designs to the next level?

Here are just a handful of ideas you can consider if you’d like to take your web designs the next level.

Delve Into Design Details

If you look at most beautifully designed websites, you’ll notice that they are often set apart not because of big things, but the little details that let you know the designer took great care and attention of even the smallest of things. These small touches don’t need to be in your face to be powerful and effective; details can include a hairline stroke for additional depth, a faint gradient for more interesting surfaces, small icons for added visual appeal as well as to aid visual cognition, and so forth.

Here are three good examples of web designs that delve into the details. Leer más “Take Your Web Designs to the Next Level”

Building your brand (and keeping your job)

By Josh Hyatt, contributor

FORTUNE — Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer. “I’m not somebody who can be accused of using Ford’s brand to benefit my own,” says Monty, the car giant’s first global digital and multimedia communications manager. “If anything, the opposite is true.”

Is somebody’s thinking due for a tune-up? Ford Motor Co. (F, Fortune 500) is, after all, the 107-year-old industrial brainchild of the iconic Henry Ford, birthplace of the Model T, originator of the modern assembly line. Scott Monty? He’s a 40-year-old father of two who coined the word used to describe a gathering organized on Twitter: tweetup. (Okay, so it’s hardly in the OMG category. But it beats “staycation.”)

As a former employee at a B-to-B ad agency and at a social-media strategy firm, Monty spent about three years making a name for himself in social networking by blogging about the convergence of marketing, advertising, and PR. When people at Ford approached him in December 2007 he waved them off, saying he didn’t want to leave Boston. Five months later he made a U-turn. By July, he had moved to Detroit. “I knew that I had the ability to leverage my personal brand on behalf of the company,” he says.

When Monty joined Ford, he brought with him 3,500 Twitter followers; he now counts 41,000, conceding that many of those came with the blue oval logo that now accompanies his tweets. But it has been a two-way street. Last year Ford CEO Alan Mulally signaled as much by joining Monty and taking questions from Twitter. “I brought with me a degree of credibility,” Monty says. “I was somebody who wasn’t going to be looked at as a corporate shill.” And he’s kept his Twitter handle as @scottmonty rather than adding the Ford brand. “I was Scott Monty before I came to Ford, and I’ll be Scott Monty after I leave Ford,” he says.


http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/30/news/economy/building_your_brand.fortune/index.htm

By Josh Hyatt, contributor

FORTUNE — Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer. “I’m not somebody who can be accused of using Ford’s brand to benefit my own,” says Monty, the car giant’s first global digital and multimedia communications manager. “If anything, the opposite is true.”

Is somebody’s thinking due for a tune-up? Ford Motor Co. (F, Fortune 500) is, after all, the 107-year-old industrial brainchild of the iconic Henry Ford, birthplace of the Model T, originator of the modern assembly line. Scott Monty? He’s a 40-year-old father of two who coined the word used to describe a gathering organized on Twitter: tweetup. (Okay, so it’s hardly in the OMG category. But it beats “staycation.”)

As a former employee at a B-to-B ad agency and at a social-media strategy firm, Monty spent about three years making a name for himself in social networking by blogging about the convergence of marketing, advertising, and PR. When people at Ford approached him in December 2007 he waved them off, saying he didn’t want to leave Boston. Five months later he made a U-turn. By July, he had moved to Detroit. “I knew that I had the ability to leverage my personal brand on behalf of the company,” he says.

When Monty joined Ford, he brought with him 3,500 Twitter followers; he now counts 41,000, conceding that many of those came with the blue oval logo that now accompanies his tweets. But it has been a two-way street. Last year Ford CEO Alan Mulally signaled as much by joining Monty and taking questions from Twitter. “I brought with me a degree of credibility,” Monty says. “I was somebody who wasn’t going to be looked at as a corporate shill.” And he’s kept his Twitter handle as @scottmonty rather than adding the Ford brand. “I was Scott Monty before I came to Ford, and I’ll be Scott Monty after I leave Ford,” he says. Leer más “Building your brand (and keeping your job)”

Personal Branding = Principles Not Ego

Josh Hyatt wrote an article about personal branding and working at a large company on money.cnn.com. The piece has caused a lot of controversy because Scott Monty, the social media guy at Ford, was featured in the article. To some, the article appears to paint Scott Monty as an egotist, and because they have so much respect for Scott many people have criticized Josh’s article.

In fact in reading through 5 pages of comments on the article, not one, except a piece of link bait is positive about the article or the writer, rather, overwhelmingly people are positive about Scott.

I must admit when I first read the article I had to read it twice to understand the nuance of what Josh was getting at. I was also slightly put off by a picture of a name badge stating, “Hello my name is Mr. Awesome.”

I reckon the first paragraph about Scott Monty soured the audience to Josh Hyatt the writer. Here’s is the first paragraph.

“Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer. “I’m not somebody who can be accused of using Ford’s brand to benefit my own,” says Monty, the car giant’s first global digital and multimedia communications manager. “If anything, the opposite is true.””

Let’s dissect this paragraph step by step:

“Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer.”

This could mean that Scott cares so much for his ego, that he thinks he is more important than Ford.


My Photo

http://pr.typepad.com/pr_communications/2010/08/personal-branding-principles-not-ego.html

Josh Hyatt wrote an article about personal branding and working at a large company on money.cnn.com. The piece has caused a lot of controversy because Scott Monty, the social media guy at Ford, was featured in the article. To some, the article appears to paint Scott Monty as an egotist, and because they have so much respect for Scott many people have criticized Josh’s article.

In fact in reading through 5 pages of comments on the article, not one, except a piece of link bait is positive about the article or the writer, rather, overwhelmingly people are positive about Scott.

I must admit when I first read the article I had to read it twice to understand the nuance of what Josh was getting at. I was also slightly put off by a picture of a name badge stating, “Hello my name is Mr. Awesome.”

I reckon the first paragraph about Scott Monty soured the audience to Josh Hyatt the writer. Here’s is the first paragraph.

“Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer. “I’m not somebody who can be accused of using Ford’s brand to benefit my own,” says Monty, the car giant’s first global digital and multimedia communications manager. “If anything, the opposite is true.””

Let’s dissect this paragraph step by step:

“Scott Monty’s personal brand doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s — not even that of Ford Motor Co., his employer.”

This could mean that Scott cares so much for his ego, that he thinks he is more important than Ford. Leer más “Personal Branding = Principles Not Ego”

Social Media Reinvents Social Activism For Strong Relationships: My Critique Of Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker Article

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker states that the new tools of social media have failed to reinvent social activism. He wrote a long piece explaining why he believes that relationships formed within social media are weak relationships, and used examples from the Greensboro sit-ins, and the crisis in Moldova and Iran to support his position.

He argued that without real commitment social activism cannot exist because there’s no real commitment to other individuals involved in a cause, and without that commitment in the face of the higher costs of getting involved people will drop out of a cause.

High Stakes Require Strong Relationships

Gladwell uses the sit-ins from Greensboro, NC as an example of social activism where high stakes were involved, people had to make strong commitments to the cause because the consequences of being involved were as high as physical danger and even death. And that those most involved in the sit-ins were supported by small networks of people who were connected through close relationships. Gladwell argues that because relationships formed online are loose relationships those relationships are not highly committed relationships, and any real requests for social action will fail because of the weak relationships formed within social media between people and organizations.

I agree with Gladwell, he was right, social media can be a medium where your ties to people are weak, but I also believe he misses an important factor with the use of social media. Most people have strong ties with a small group of friends, colleagues and family within their social networks. Those relationships are just as important today as they were in 1933 in the depths of the Great Depression, or in 1960 during the Greensboro sit-ins.


My Photo

Posted by John Cass | http://pr.typepad.com | © 2003-10 John Cass

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker states that the new tools of social media have failed to reinvent social activism. He wrote a long piece explaining why he believes that relationships formed within social media are weak relationships, and used examples from the Greensboro sit-ins, and the crisis in Moldova and Iran to support his position.

He argued that without real commitment social activism cannot exist because there’s no real commitment to other individuals involved in a cause, and without that commitment in the face of the higher costs of getting involved people will drop out of a cause.

High Stakes Require Strong Relationships

Gladwell uses the sit-ins from Greensboro, NC as an example of social activism where high stakes were involved, people had to make strong commitments to the cause because the consequences of being involved were as high as physical danger and even death. And that those most involved in the sit-ins were supported by small networks of people who were connected through close relationships. Gladwell argues that because relationships formed online are loose relationships those relationships are not highly committed relationships, and any real requests for social action will fail because of the weak relationships formed within social media between people and organizations.

I agree with Gladwell, he was right, social media can be a medium where your ties to people are weak, but I also believe he misses an important factor with the use of social media. Most people have strong ties with a small group of friends, colleagues and family within their social networks. Those relationships are just as important today as they were in 1933 in the depths of the Great Depression, or in 1960 during the Greensboro sit-ins. Leer más “Social Media Reinvents Social Activism For Strong Relationships: My Critique Of Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker Article”

Mobilize 2010: 5 Apps to Watch

It’s all about the apps here at the Mobilize Conference in San Francisco this week. Everywhere you turn app developers are hobnobbing with venture capitalist and the press. After all, this is their opportunity to show off their apps and generate interest in their company and build media buzz.

After soaking up a day full of pitches and demos, we picked a few promising mobile apps that stood out.

Tango for iPhone and Android

Tango, which launched today in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market, is a peer-to-peer video-chatting app that utilizes both your phone’s front-facing and back-facing cameras. So what makes Tango different from other video chat applications out there like Apple’s Facetime or Qik?

First, Tango lets you make video calls from an iPhone to an Android phone over 4G, Wi-Fi and 3G. You can also turn video on and off during a call or pick between a large screen or small screen view of your contact. Tango also automatically detects which of your friends has the app on their phone and creates a specialized list of those contacts within the app. You don’t need to make a profile either; you just install Tango, start it up and you’re ready to make video calls.

We had some hands-on time with Tango and were impressed with its video quality and ease-of-use. We’ll take a closer look at Tango and write up a review in the next few days for our Android App Guide.


At GigaOm’s 2010 Mobilize Conference in San Francisco, we got a first look at some intriguing new apps.

Mark Sullivan and Ginny Mies, PCWorld

It’s all about the apps here at the Mobilize Conference in San Francisco this week. Everywhere you turn app developers are hobnobbing with venture capitalist and the press. After all, this is their opportunity to show off their apps and generate interest in their company and build media buzz.

After soaking up a day full of pitches and demos, we picked a few promising mobile apps that stood out.

Tango for iPhone and Android

Tango, which launched today in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market, is a peer-to-peer video-chatting app that utilizes both your phone’s front-facing and back-facing cameras. So what makes Tango different from other video chat applications out there like Apple’s Facetime or Qik?

First, Tango lets you make video calls from an iPhone to an Android phone over 4G, Wi-Fi and 3G. You can also turn video on and off during a call or pick between a large screen or small screen view of your contact. Tango also automatically detects which of your friends has the app on their phone and creates a specialized list of those contacts within the app. You don’t need to make a profile either; you just install Tango, start it up and you’re ready to make video calls.

We had some hands-on time with Tango and were impressed with its video quality and ease-of-use. We’ll take a closer look at Tango and write up a review in the next few days for our Android App Guide.

Leer más “Mobilize 2010: 5 Apps to Watch”

Can we do content like Apple does hardware?

Apple’s example

Apple sells gear that almost everyone wants. Every laptop, phone and other gadget they design has… something that just make folks happy when put their hands on it. No one can say exactly why, but I suspect a lot of it is the fact that their devices are designed and built with a very specific user in mind. They cater to that user, tailor the entire design around her, and then launch the product.

The iPad is a perfect example. I own one, but I usually skip it in favor of my Kindle – I’m more of a hardcore reader. But I’m not the user Apple was thinking about when they designed the iPad. They were thinking about folks who don’t need a full-fledged laptop, want an easier form factor and touchscreen simplicity.

They designed it carefully, released it, and now it sells in quantities that would make Bill Gates jealous.

So, can we do the same thing for content? If we could, it’d be a lot easier to gain rankings, get attention and maybe even get compensated for the stuff we produce.


Internet Marketing with Ian Lurie

by ian

A thought that’s been germinating in my head for some time: People want content that does the same thing. If you can produce online content – text, ebooks, video, whatever – that makes folks want to read it the instant they glance at it, you can get a major internet marketing win.

Apple’s example

Apple sells gear that almost everyone wants. Every laptop, phone and other gadget they design has… something that just make folks happy when put their hands on it. No one can say exactly why, but I suspect a lot of it is the fact that their devices are designed and built with a very specific user in mind. They cater to that user, tailor the entire design around her, and then launch the product.

The iPad is a perfect example. I own one, but I usually skip it in favor of my Kindle – I’m more of a hardcore reader. But I’m not the user Apple was thinking about when they designed the iPad. They were thinking about folks who don’t need a full-fledged laptop, want an easier form factor and touchscreen simplicity.

They designed it carefully, released it, and now it sells in quantities that would make Bill Gates jealous.

So, can we do the same thing for content? If we could, it’d be a lot easier to gain rankings, get attention and maybe even get compensated for the stuff we produce. Leer más “Can we do content like Apple does hardware?”

Is Microsoft Ceding the Tablet Market to Apple?

Someone should let Microsoft know that waiting to join the multitouch tablet game, a year and a half after Apple revolutionized it, just isn’t going to work this time.

This news isn’t coming from Microsoft itself, so a healthy dose of salt should be applied. The source is Jeffries analyst Katherine Egbert. She has been speaking to Microsoft’s General Manager of Investor Relations, so the estimate is pretty close to the horse’s mouth (and may, if anything, be a little optimistic).

The problem is Windows 7, which is absolutely not optimized for a tablet’s touchscreen interface–particularly in a world of multitouch gestural interfaces. To see proof of this, look no further than Steve Ballmer’s fumbling demonstration of HP’s slate PC prototype from January of 2010. Ballmer’s fingers repeatedly skitter past the tiny finger-unfriendly icons on windows.


BY Kit Eaton
http://www.fastcompany.com/1692351/microsoft-surrendering-the-tablet-pc-race-to-apple-no-windows-tablets-til-mid-2011

Microsoft tablet

Someone should let Microsoft know that waiting to join the multitouch tablet game, a year and a half after Apple revolutionized it, just isn’t going to work this time.

This news isn’t coming from Microsoft itself, so a healthy dose of salt should be applied. The source is Jeffries analyst Katherine Egbert. She has been speaking to Microsoft’s General Manager of Investor Relations, so the estimate is pretty close to the horse’s mouth (and may, if anything, be a little optimistic).

The problem is Windows 7, which is absolutely not optimized for a tablet’s touchscreen interface–particularly in a world of multitouch gestural interfaces. To see proof of this, look no further than Steve Ballmer‘s fumbling demonstration of HP‘s slate PC prototype from January of 2010. Ballmer’s fingers repeatedly skitter past the tiny finger-unfriendly icons on windows. Leer más “Is Microsoft Ceding the Tablet Market to Apple?”

Ballmer’s bonus slashed due to Kin failure

Ballmer saw his nice, fat bonus slashed in the wake of the failure of the Kin and the Microsoft tablet efforts. The bonus was cut despite the fact that Microsoft had its biggest year ever. Reuters report that the bonus Ballmer received was $670,000, equal to his salary.


By Shane McGlaun | http://www.slashgear.com/ballmers-bonus-slashed-due-to-kin-failure-01105548/

The failure of the Microsoft Kin phone was swift and epic. I haven’t seen a phone fail that fast before. You can bet the failure was felt around Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer may have felt the failure in his heart, but it hit is wallet too according to Reuters.ballmer sg

Ballmer saw his nice, fat bonus slashed in the wake of the failure of the Kin and the Microsoft tablet efforts. The bonus was cut despite the fact that Microsoft had its biggest year ever. Reuters report that the bonus Ballmer received was $670,000, equal to his salary. Leer más “Ballmer’s bonus slashed due to Kin failure”

Online Testing and Optimization Solutions: Quick guide to Google Website Optimizer

Key benefits

* Combine with Google Analytics for ecommerce product SKU tracking
* Robust tracking with Google Analytics and Adwords
* Testing a landing page setup is simple – just add a couple lines of JavaScript code and setup the test in Google Website Optimizer ’s interface (you will need the page URLs as well as the conversion page)
* Overall reliability of Google’s servers (we’ve never heard of an outage of Google Website Optimizer servers)
* Open application programming interface (API) – you can draw data from the tool into your own environment without having to log into Google Analytics or Google Website Optimizer
* Large base of marketers have had exposure to the tool and, at a minimum, have some sort of expertise on the tool
* Google name brings credibility – May help get buy-in from others that might be unfamiliar with the tool but recognize the Google name
* With multivariate testing, once the JavaScript switching code is in place, you can add and rotate in elements without IT needing to alter the code for each test
* Active product development (constantly rolling out updates and bug fixes) [Más…]

But keep in mind…

* Google does not deal directly with clients for support – while Google does not offer support, they do have an exclusive group of Certified Partners that are screened by Google and qualified to offer support with any Google Website Optimizer question or issue you may encounter
* Security of data is a concern – Google has access to all data
* Google Website Optimizer only provides aggregated data – you need to add Google Analytics to get reports on daily data
* If you only use Google Website Optimizer, tracking is limited – Google Analytics needs to be added to get tracking beyond visits and conversion metric
* For both Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics, data is not real time – it can take a few hours (this can elongate quality assurance, or QA, time)
* Have to get creative when working with secondary conversions – i.e. use other tools like Google Analytics to measure secondary conversions/clicks like newsletter sign-up in a sales process
* Cannot add additional metrics collections points within the tool – for example, segmentation of conversion rates, elements that users interact with other than the conversion point (you will need to leverage Google Analytics for this additional tracking)

What types of elements can you test?

* A/B and multivariate testing

How does it validate?

* Reports – chance to beat original, chance to beat all
* Method – Google Website Optimizer uses statistical significance of the difference in sample means among the treatments based upon a Gaussian distribution presumption

Cost

* FREE

Support

* This is important enough to mention again – Google does not deal directly with clients for support, although there are Certified Partners that may be able to help you
* Step-by-step instructions and FAQ’s
* Google Website Optimizer blog
* No contact person (unless you have one through AdWords)
* Forums – lots of great questions answered
* Instructional info available on Google Website Optimizer site

Technology / Development

* For Google Website Optimizer implementation, will need to add JavaScript code – or have Apache Subversion (SVN) access to add JavaScript code
* Google Analytics /Google Website Optimizer moved to AJAX calls – speeds up loading to end user
* A/B testing – has to be hosted on your server (you only have to add hosted page URLs to tool)
* Multivariate testing – has to be hosted on Google’s server

Reporting

* Alone Google Website Optimizer only reports aggregate data
* With Google Analytics it can track daily

We’d love to hear some customer reviews as well. Use the comments to share your experience with Google Website Optimizer. And stay tuned to this blog as we provide quick guides for more online testing solutions to help you choose a platform that is best for your individual situation.


Gina Townsend

Gina Townsend
http://www.marketingexperiments.com/blog/

I just flew back from the Googleplex and boy is my brain tired. It’s exciting to see the growth of Google Website Optimizer and the online testing and optimization community in general.

Tasked with writing a blog post about my trip, at first, I just wanted to focus on the Googleplex itself (yes, it’s that cool). Then I thought, a fawning post about Google Website Optimizer might be apropos.

But given the number of questions we receive about online testing and optimization tools, I’m going to take a third, more aspirational path. Today I’ll give you some info about Google Website Optimizer, but this will just be the first in a series of posts aimed at helping you answer that “Which testing tool?” question we often receive.

Of course, I can’t answer that question for you per se (the real answer is, “It depends”), but hopefully I can provide enough info over this series of posts to help you make an informed decision.

And here’s my promise to the vendors out there, even if you didn’t invite me to your “-plex” and ply me with delicious locally grown organic food, I still may write about your tool (and if the FTC is reading, Google did, in fact, serve up quite a bounty).

Now all full disclosures aside, here’s a quick look at Google Website Optimizer…

The biggest benefits for Google Website Optimizer are the obvious, it’s free and it’s Google.

But beyond the cost, Google is committed to making quality products and is continuously working on enhancements. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t offer much support, if any, so you’ll need to put in some time researching if you come across any obstacles. Here’s a quick overview…

Key benefits

  • Combine with Google Analytics for ecommerce product SKU tracking
  • Robust tracking with Google Analytics and Adwords
  • Testing a landing page setup is simple – just add a couple lines of JavaScript code and setup the test in Google Website Optimizer ’s  interface (you will need the page URLs as well as the conversion page)
  • Overall reliability of Google’s servers (we’ve never heard of an outage of Google Website Optimizer servers)
  • Open application programming interface (API) – you can draw data from the tool into your own environment without having to log into Google Analytics or Google Website Optimizer
  • Large base of marketers have had exposure to the tool and, at a minimum, have some sort of expertise on the tool
  • Google name brings credibility – May help get buy-in from others that might be unfamiliar with the tool but recognize the Google name
  • With multivariate testing, once the JavaScript switching code is in place, you can add and rotate in elements without IT needing to alter the code for each test
  • Active product development (constantly rolling out updates and bug fixes) Leer más “Online Testing and Optimization Solutions: Quick guide to Google Website Optimizer”

Google Keyword Tool

Google Adwords is an advertising program which allows you to create ads and have them run alongside searches at http://www.google.com. Google thankfully allows free use of the tool that advertisers use to determine their best keywords. That tool is what we will be talking about today. It is very powerful and can give you more than enough information to determine which keywords to target for your website or blog.

Supplies Needed:

* Computer with Internet Connection
* List of Keyword Phrases you want to research


Google Keyword Tool

Google Adwords is an advertising program which allows you to create ads and have them run alongside searches at http://www.google.com. Google thankfully allows free use of the tool that advertisers use to determine their best keywords. That tool is what we will be talking about today. It is very powerful and can give you more than enough information to determine which keywords to target for your website or blog.

Supplies Needed:

  • Computer with Internet Connection
  • List of Keyword Phrases you want to research

Leer más “Google Keyword Tool”

Does Anybody Listen To Your Tweets Or Retweets?

This interesting survey landed in our inbox a couple of days ago from sysomosos where they have analyzed 1.2 billion tweets to see if any particular patterns emerge around @ replies and Retweets. This Twitter survery is interesting because it shows that nearly 3 quarters of tweets go pretty much unanswered and I personally didn’t think that number would be so high. Given the large amount of inane conversation on Twitter it is also not surprising to see that a tiny 6% of tweets get retweeted. Some really nice data here and really well presented as well…
retweets replies v2 Does Anybody Listen To Your Tweets Or Retweets?
Most Retweets Happen in the First Hour

They discovered that 92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published, while an additional 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour. This means that if a tweet is not retweeted in the first hour, it is very likely that it will not be retweeted. The graph below shows the fraction of tweets from the second hour onwards – the x-axis shows the time in hours since the original tweet, while the vertical axis shows the fraction of retweets within a particular hour. The 92.4% of all retweets, which happen within the first hour, are not displayed in the chart. 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour.


This interesting survey landed in our inbox a couple of days ago from sysomosos where they have analyzed 1.2 billion tweets to see if any particular patterns emerge around @ replies and Retweets. This Twitter survery is interesting because it shows that nearly 3 quarters of tweets go pretty much unanswered and I personally didn’t think that number would be so high. Given the large amount of inane conversation on Twitter it is also not surprising to see that a tiny 6% of tweets get retweeted. Some really nice data here and really well presented as well…
retweets replies v2 Does Anybody Listen To Your Tweets Or Retweets?

Most Retweets Happen in the First Hour

They discovered that 92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published, while an additional 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour. This means that if a tweet is not retweeted in the first hour, it is very likely that it will not be retweeted. The graph below shows the fraction of tweets from the second hour onwards – the x-axis shows the time in hours since the original tweet, while the vertical axis shows the fraction of retweets within a particular hour. The 92.4% of all retweets, which happen within the first hour, are not displayed in the chart. 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour.

Leer más “Does Anybody Listen To Your Tweets Or Retweets?”

What makes a good community manager? Hear from the experts

More and more brands are starting to employ a full time online community manager – or sometimes a whole team of them! I’m in interested in this as as new job that’s come about through social media and I wanted to talk to some of the best community managers around to find out what makes them tick. As brands and businesses start to build bigger communities around them and those communities start to spread in both reach and influence it’s important to have somebody there who both understands and is able to manage the community. Here are some tips and pointers from people who have already managed communities…
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to other community managers…?


Screen shot 2010 09 30 at 12.49.09 200x196 What makes a good community manager? Hear from the expertsMore and more brands are starting to employ a full time online community manager – or sometimes a whole team of them! I’m in interested in this as as new job that’s come about through social media and I wanted to talk to some of the best community managers around to find out what makes them tick. As brands and businesses start to build bigger communities around them and those communities start to spread in both reach and influence it’s important to have somebody there who both understands and is able to manage the community. Here are some tips and pointers from people who have already managed communities…

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to other community managers…? Leer más “What makes a good community manager? Hear from the experts”