Sunday, December 14, 2008

Click: Unexpected Insights for Business and Life

Click is an insightful well written book that gives us a window into the world of online data research. Click was written by Bill Tancer who is a researcher at Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence company. Bill analyzes the data of what people do on the internet. Hitwise has one of the largest samples of aggregate internet behavior data. It’s hard to think of online data research as exciting, but this book will open eyes as to how interesting and important it really is. We used to tell our secrets to our friends or maybe our hairstylist, now our closest confidants are Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Tracking what people are doing on the internet tells us a lot about the people. The book is part business and part social trends. Internet behavioral data is explained and how it can be used by advertisers and marketers. Social behavioral trends are also looked at which can really give us insight on what matters to people.
The Main Points
How data is gathered and measured is changing. We used to rely heavily on surveys and polls to tell us what people thought about different things. This has proven only somewhat effective. While taking surveys we are limited by sample size, cost, and cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance, for these purposes, is basically that we may tell people what we want to be true, or if we do not feel good about a particular behavior we may skew what we really do. We never lie to Google though. We can use sample sizes in the millions at little cost, and there is no lag time between the event and the gathering of the data. We can get answers almost immediately. By following click streams and looking at the demographics of who is searching for what we can learn a lot as a marketer.
We can also learn a lot about people in general. The best way to figure out what people are thinking about is to figure out what they are searching for through search engines. We are more likely to ask a search engine how to overcome our true fears than we are to admit to someone our true fears. When a celebrity dies of lung cancer do we work harder or try more to quit smoking? All of this can be gleaned by looking at what we are searching for and when we are searching for it.
It’s not only important to know what people are asking or looking for, but who is doing the looking and what behaviors they are exhibiting as they move though the click stream. Are people clicking through to something else? What exactly are they looking for? Where the people come from is important to know as well when trying to understand trends. Are they from a rural area or an urban one? Even economic status should be looked at. Low income rural males my exhibit different behavior patterns than middle income urban males. The author also looks at the different types of people and what behavior patterns they show, such as the early adopters as opposed to the early majority. If we can determine who the early adopters are and what they are looking at or doing we may be able to better predict what the next big trend is going to be.
Click is a book that will appeal to a broad audience. People in the business world will appreciate it and gain insight in how they advertise and how effective their marketing is. Casual readers will be interested in the social behavioral trends and will enjoy the examples and stories. Click was a difficult book to put down. It draws you in with all of this amazing information. After reading this book it’s hard to see how any business would be able to compete for long without paying serious attention to online data research. Our minds, our fears, our wants, our needs, all told though the click of a mouse. Bill Tancer said it best “If you want to understand the new connected world and how we choose to live in it, look no further than our Internet behavior; after all, we are what we click.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This book is a very good book for those who want to get their present business or a future business on to the web. He explains how to appeal to the “crowd”. If you can achieve this then you will have a successful business. He even explains how to get the funding to start up the business online, such as lenders to go to and what to do to get them to invest. The book is a fairly easy read; there are chapter summaries at the end that help with recap, or quick referencing. Goosen has a lot of experience in this field, so you know you are getting accurate and good advice. He has helped many get their businesses started on line. He has really good examples in the book of actual companies, and they have used the concepts in the book, and how it helped them. If you are looking to start a business online, or just a business, but also having a website, through which you use e-commerce, I would highly suggest this book.
Definitely the user’s guide to starting a business online!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to Make Money with MySpace

How to Make Money with Myspace accurately describes the process of setting up a Myspace account, and then how to manipulate it in order to market your current business. From first glance, this book looks very appealing to those that are like myself, who are on Myspace a great deal of time. Myspace has become a networking website in which you can find old classmates, friends, and network with people who share similar interests as yourself. Myspace has also become a place in which many businesses promote their services and products that they sell. Notice how I used the word “promote” because it is illegal under Myspace rules to physically sell any services or products on the website unless in the specified categories. So as a small business owner like myself, this book caught my eye for the fact that I figured it would teach me how to promote my small business through Myspace and enable me to become more profitable not only here in Colorado, but around the world.

Personally, I see this book as being more of an informative, instructional, and step-by-step type of book. It’s informative for the fact that it informs the reader on how to create his or her own personal Myspace. It’s an instructional and an step-by-step book in the sense that it goes from telling you how to register yourself for a Myspace account, to teaching you how to add music, videos, and advertisements to your Myspace. It goes as far as telling you how to choose who to add as your friends and who to ignore, and how to promote your business in a number of different ways through Myspace. Similar books to this book by Prince include, How to Make Money using Facebook, How to Make Money with your Blog, and Myspace Marketing. I feel these are all similar to this book for the fact that they are all beginners books in making money by marketing your business through internet networking websites. But as far as competitive books, I did not come across any who directly impose a threat to Prince’s book because his is really the only book who goes step-by-step in how to create your own and market your own Myspace page.

This book overall is a great source if you are new to the Myspace community. Prince starts the book off with introducing the aspect of why it is important to market your business on Myspace. The first half of the book goes through how marketing on Myspace can improve the success of your business, but at the same time, it can destroy your businesses reputation if marketed wrongly. Prince goes into great detail about the biggest importance of creating a Myspace page, and that is making sure that your home page is not too cluttered and not too flashy. He explains that with making your home page too cluttered, it will take longer to download on most computers and rule of thumb is, if it takes longer than fifteen seconds to upload most lookers will just pass your page. The other rule of thumb is that if your home page is too flashy, it can detour lookers because the bright colors can “burn” one’s eyes. Both aspects are important in keeping visitors plentiful and making sure that they return more than just once.

After his discussion on the importance of your home page, Prince goes into detail over the next few chapters on how to customize your page to your liking. It’s important to be yourself, after all, that’s the main point of Myspace. But being too much of yourself can hurt your page and the marketing of your business. So Prince puts a limit on how much you should personalize your page and describes how to make your page appeal to the average Myspace user. If you’re already a Myspace user, these chapters are virtually useless but again, I feel like this book was meant for beginners. The remaining half of the book goes into detail on how to select your friends and begin the marketing of your business through Myspace. Prince tells that by choosing the wrong “type of friends” can actually hurt the marketing of your business. Though it is wrong to discriminate based off of one’s looks, personality, and their own Myspace page, he says it’s imperative because the wrong friends can attract the wrong crowd, as well as detour the right crowd. I believe Prince wrote this book to inform beginners how to create their own Myspace and how to successfully market their already formed business on Myspace. Again, this book definitely gives off the vibe that it was written for beginners and not for experienced users, and definitely for those who already have a business intact, not someone who is in the works of creating a business.

The biggest weakness of this book in my opinion was non-the-less, the title. It fooled someone like myself who was looking for a book on how to effectively promote their small or large business on Myspace. Rather, it was a book intended for Myspace beginners and how to effectively customize your own page to your own liking. Other than the misleading title, I felt the book was overall still a well written book. The pros definitely out weight the cons of this book. From a beginners mindset, the book was very informative on how to create your own Myspace page. It was very instructful on how to customize your page to your own liking, to your businesses liking, and how to customize it around promoting your business. Finally, it promotes the usage of marketing your business through the internet which ultimately, can help your business grow.

Finally, I would definitely recommend this book to others. But before recommending it, I would definitely make it a point that they knew that it’s a book for beginners and not novice users of Myspace. The book is very informative in how to create your own Myspace page, how to customize it around your own personal likings and your businesses needs, and finally how to promote your business online. However, if the person I was recommending this book to was a novice with the internet, especially Myspace, I would not recommend this book. If I had to grade it, five stars being the best it could receive, I would rate this book at only two stars.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The book that I choose to read for this review is called, Create Your Own Website: 6 Easy Projects. This book is written by Scott Mitchell, this is one of many book like this that Mr. Mitchell has written. I choose this book because I am really interested in building my own website that I can share stories and pictures with my family and friends. This book also goes in to how to sell products with an eBay store. This will allow me to learn more about how to effectively create and manage an online eBay store, this is something I have thought about doing on numerous occasions and when we had our guest speaker Jim Reeder from ConsiderItSold it sparked my interest more. Another thing that I hope to gain from this book is learning how to create a blog on my personal website so that I can share events with my family all across the country. Lastly I hope to gain the knowledge on how to share images with Snapfish with my family and friends. This book seems to have a little bit of everything for me to learn about using the web for my enjoyment.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get familiar with using the internet to stay connected in many different ways. I will certainly be rereading this book a couple of times when I want to get my website up and running so I can make it presentable for my friends and family. I have already used it to customize my MySpace more to my liking. My mom has used the Snapfish website before but his book has shown both of us more of the tools that they provide to us to use on the website to share our photos.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Promoting Your Podcast

How are people supposed get updated information about their favorite topics when they are always busy and on the go? If only there was some technology that allowed people to keep informed and still keep up with their fast paced lives. Questions like these are easily answered with one word, podcasts. This amazing medium is used for many purposes nowadays such as; providing information, expressing opinions, sharing knowledge or simply complaining about the first thing that comes to one’s mind. The reason that I choose Promoting Your Podcast by Jason Van Orden was because I always wondered how someone would obtain an audience base once the podcast is established. I selected this book in hopes of understanding how a podcast owner could become noticeable amongst the copious number of already existent and constantly growing podcasts; also to learn the basic required tasks of maintaining a prosperous podcast.

This book is a very informative piece of work that serves as an excellent guide for any podcaster no matter their level of experience. The author provides numerous examples and detailed instructions throughout the book that help to alleviate the sometimes overwhelming amounts of information required to sustain a healthy podcast. The optimal audience is someone who already has a podcast or is just starting to create one. The author assumes that the reader has established their podcast purpose and intentions and therefore this book is not for someone who is looking to find help with creating a podcast, but rather help those with existing feeds develop into vigorous and fit podcast. Jason Van Orden proves himself to be a resourceful author and an informative writer. A former Microsoft employee Jason ventured off to pursue the life of podcaster and eventually a podcasting consultant. As the founder of Podcasting University, a prominent online podcasting resource, and the man behind three of his own popular podcasts Jason proves himself to be a skilled authority in the podcasting world.

The concept of podcasting has many different applications and is available to almost anyone interested. The ease of access and lack of start up expenses makes starting a podcast relatively easy. The only setback for some people could be understanding the functions and technology required to maintain a healthy podcast. The details that need to be understood can be quite a responsibility and sometimes overshadowing, but Orden does an excellent job of suppressing these overwhelming feelings by providing the reader with examples and resources that help one to grasp these vast amounts of information. Despite the reader’s knowledge of the discussed topics, Orden successfully creates an easy to read and understand book that does not overwhelm the reader with too much information.

After completing the reading I feel confident that if I ever decided to start up my own podcast, I would have a running head start on the game with this book being an excellent resource along the way. I would recommend this book to any and all podcasters whether they are just beginning or have been doing it for some time. Even the most seasoned podcast could benefit from reading this book as it provides many recourses for growing and maintaining a consistent audience.

The Everything Blogging Book

This is an informative book and also a hands-on book. It not only supplies a lot of information about blogging, but also gives you step by step instructions on how to write your own blog. When I looked inside it, I liked the format of the book. It has main topics written in bold letters, which makes it easy to read the main ideas in each chapter. It also contains useful boxes such as: e-facts, e-essentials, e-alerts, and e-questions, which give the reader hints, advice or just interesting information and facts.
The book takes the reader step by step through the blogging process, which includes planning your blog, finding a blog host, blog design, blog content development, popular blog topics, who is blogging, and popular blog tools. It also explains that blogging creates a culture and a sense of community, where people get together to express their opinions, exchange information, give each other advice, comment on other’s blogs or just read them. It mentions popular blog topics like news, politics, health issues, business and careers, family and relationships issues, travel and recreation, sports, arts and culture. The book was written to help people who don’t know much about blogging understand what blogging is, how it works and why people blog. “It was written as a guide into the world of blogs and blogging.”
A great benefit of this book is listings of links to different Web sites that can be found throughout the text. The resources section also provides many additional Web sites about blog hosts or providers, blog search engines, blog feeds, feed readers and subscription services and photo blogging resources, which are very handy especially for the beginners.

I would recommend this book to anybody who doesn’t have much knowledge about blogging and who is interested in learning the basics about the subject.

The Web Collection Revealed

“The Web Collection Revealed: Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, Flash 8, and Fireworks 8”
Authors: Sherry Bishop, Jim Shuman, and Barbara M. Waxer
Review: Scott Lawrence

I have been designing websites as a hobby/part time job since the age of 9. I had a running gag with my parents every year during Christmas where I would create a version of my Christmas list that was always improved upon the previous year. It got to the point where the items I wanted became irrelevant and I looked forward to Christmas simply to try and out-do my previous attempt and create a list that would impress everyone. Eventually I decided that a physical list would no longer suffice, and I opted to create a web version using the long since dead free hosting site, My first site was terrible looking, and obnoxious in every way and broke every rule of thumb for web design. Over the course of the next few years, I began to gather ideas on how to create a new and improved site, but had little knowledge of how to complete these great ideas. Out of necessity, I slowly began to teach myself HTML coding, JavaScript, and how to use editors such as Photoshop, FrontPage, and others. I eventually started making sites for $400 a piece for local companies or local bands that had absolutely no idea what HTML even was. Eventually I burned out and quit trying to keep up with the technology advances moving faster than any one person could learn.

I ordered this book from the internet because of my interest in the subject of Flash. When the book arrived I saw a note that was absent from the website, “Beginner to Intermediate”. Instantly I wrote this book off as a total waste of time. Fortunately I was wrong. There were clear gaps in my self-motivated web design education that this book finally was able to fill. Furthermore, there have been huge strides in technology advances since I hang up the web design towel only a few years ago. For the majority of this book, I found myself glancing at pages and skipping them as it went into vivid detail about how to create tags, tables, and other aspects of web design that have not changed and had become second nature of the years. However, the topic of Cascading Style Sheets shows up, a concept that was so new that most browsers would not support them at the last I had heard of such a thing. CSS is a way to create an outside source file that tells all of your web pages how to look, act, and position themselves, allowing large websites to be much simpler. As I read through a concept I knew practically nothing about, I found the authors explanations extremely easy to read and understand. These simple explanations were followed up by pictures that finally helped me understand what some of those buttons in Dreamweaver were actually supposed to do. By the end of the book I actually found myself saying out loud, “Wow I had no idea you could do that!”

My main interest was in learning Flash, which I already own several books on the subject, but I have gained very little knowledge from any of them. What little I did know I had discovered by playing around with the software myself in my free time, like trying to make a ball bounce across the screen. There were amazing things such as “Shape Tweens” and “Text Animations” that I knew were available, but had no idea how to use. The book again clearly explained how to create a navigation bar instead of a simple animation. It demonstrates the main concepts behind Flash that were the essential reasons I was unable to utilize this powerful software to its full extent. I would greatly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in making powerful, engrossing websites but has very little core knowledge of how to do so. The more advanced users will notice that the book lacks any real explanation of Action Script, one of the most powerful aspects of Flash. However, for someone who has dabbled in web design, this book will help you start making websites like a pro in no time at all. Clear to the point explanations, plenty of images, a project guide included on the disc, and a straight forward approach to using the three programs as well as integrating them together makes this one of the best technical instructions books I have read. As you recall, I taught myself at least 3 or 4 coding languages, so I have read well more than my fair share of technical books, and this one stands above the rest.