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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Should Internet Access Remain Tax Free?

By: Zach Walton

You probably pay a lot for Internet, but at least you don't have to pay taxes on your service with each monthly bill. That may all change next year, and two senators want to stop that from happening.

The Hill reports that Sens. Ron Wyden and John Thune introduced the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act into the Senate on Thursday. The bill would prevent state and local governments from imposing taxes on Internet service. In other words, the taxes that you see on your monthly utility bills would not appear on your Internet bills.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act is nothing new. In fact, the bill was originally authored by Wyden all the way back in 1998. It barred the above federal, state and local taxes on Internet access, but it also barred said governments from imposing such things as a bit tax or a bandwidth tax. Such taxes were bad in 1998, and would be absolutely disastrous in today's age of constant bandwidth consumption.

 The government has three times now recognized that the Internet should be kept tax exempt. The most recent extension - the Internet Tax Freedom Amendment Act of 2007 - will expire on November 1, 2014. Wyden and friends hope to place a permanent ban on Internet service taxes by that time.

In defending the permanent tax exemption, Wyden says that it's needed to facilitate the innovation and job growth that Internet brings:

"As the Internet Tax Freedom Act enabled and promoted Internet access and adoption across America, the Internet became a platform to facilitate global commerce, sparking nothing short of an economic revolution. It facilitated the development and growth of the digital economy and has created new industries and the good-paying jobs that come along with them. "Consumers, entrepreneurs, and innovators can breathe easy knowing that a permanent extension of ITFA is on its way."
Wyden's co-sponsor, Thune, said that the legislation would even help promote Internet access in rural areas that are still sorely lacking broadband Internet access:

"Use of Internet technology is one of the key drivers of economic growth, innovation, and information in our 21st century economy. Keeping the Internet accessible to consumers encourages innovation and investment in our global economy. Our legislation would make permanent the prohibition on Internet access taxes, would prevent multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce, and would promote Internet access throughout the country, which is especially important in rural areas of South Dakota."
Interestingly enough, Wyden and Thune's bill would go above and beyond what the current Internet Tax Freedom Act does. It would ban multiple and discriminatory taxes from being applied to digital items. The bill currently bans multiple taxes on the sale of digital goods, but there's no law against discriminatory taxes on digital goods. If passed, you would no longer have to pay any taxes when buying digital songs, movies and apps.

As you would expect, the bill has already received tons of support from the wireless and Internet provider industries. In fact, CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said that a permanent moratorium on Internet taxes is needed to preserve the current "affordability" of wireless and wired Internet:

"An affordable internet is vital to millions of American consumers and businesses, and Senators Wyden and Thune remain at the forefront of preserving this critical access to opportunity and information by introducing the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act of 2013. Wireless broadband was in its infancy when Congress passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act fifteen years ago and put the first temporary tax moratorium in place. Today, millions of Americans rely on wireless technology for myriad purposes in their everyday lives, and it's more important than ever to create a reasonable and permanent tax process on internet access. CTIA and its members look forward to working with Senators Wyden and Thune on behalf of all American internet users to ensure Congress will act on this important legislation before the current moratorium expires next year."
In the wake of the bill being announced, a number of trade groups and companies have joined forces to create the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition. The group is made of the usual suspects, including, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, Verizon and others. All of these companies have plenty to gain with the passage of this bill, and it's unsurprising to see them voice support for it.

Unlike some issues that telecoms and wireless carriers push for, consumers would actually benefit from the passage of this bill as well. We may be paying a lot for Internet and wireless service, but we would paying a lot more if stuff like the bandwidth tax was enacted. The ban of multiple and discriminatory taxes will probably be a point of contention with traditional retailers, but I think everybody can agree that Internet access taxes are no good.

[Zach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology.] 

Did You Know Facebook & Twitter Have Keyboard Shortcuts Too? Get Socially Productive, Learn Them All!

MakeUseOf Newsletter
Tip of the Day: Gmail is packed with keyboard shortcuts. Press the Shift and ? keys at the same time in Gmail to view a cheat sheet of the available keyboard shortcuts. If you're using another email service, you'll likely find a list of keyboard shortcuts on the service's support site.

Did You Know Facebook & Twitter Have Keyboard Shortcuts Too? Get Socially Productive, Learn Them All!

by Justin Pot
Stop using your mouse like a sucker. Get more out of Facebook and Twitter by learning their keyboard shortcuts.
It’s something longtime computer users have known for years: keyboard shortcuts make everything faster. It’s true for text editing, it’s true for using accent marks and it’s true for Gmail users.
But it turns out these time-saving gestures can also help you with your time wasting, by turning you into the ultimate Facebook and Twitter ninja. Think about it: what if you could browse your Facebook news feed, like posts and leave comments all without touching your mouse? Or explore your Twitter timeline, mark favorites, leave replies and retweet posts the same way? Keep reading if you want to get the most out of Twitter and Facebook, because I’m going to explain the best keyboard shortcuts for both sites.

Scrolling Up And Down

Before we get into any other keyboard shortcuts, we need to cover the absolute basics: browsing by individual posts. Facebook and Twitter share a keyboard shortcut for this which is favored by sites all over the web: “J” for down, “K” for up. That’s right, you can browse Facebook and Twitter one post at a time, all without moving your right hand from the home position.
Why not simply use the arrow keys? Because those just scroll up and down and don’t conventionality skip between posts. Anyway: open up either site, right now, and try it. When you do you’ll see a line to the left of the selected post on Facebook:
It’s subtle, but you’ll get used to looking for it.
The currently selected tweet is even more obvious on on Twitter, thanks to the blue highlight:
You can use these shortcuts on the home page of either service, but also while browsing the pages of individual users. It’s important to get used to using “J” and “K” to scroll if you want to take advantage of any keyboard shortcuts that pertain to the currently selected post/tweet.
Speaking of: let’s get to those.

Interacting With Posts

You now know how to navigate Facebook or Twitter using only the “J” and “K” keys. Let’s get to actually interacting with the posts you’re scrolling to – but note these shortcuts will only work if you’re using J/K to flip between posts (this sites which post/tweet you intend to interact with).
The first thing to learn: replying. Whether you’re leaving a comment on Facebook or sending a response on Twitter, the keyboard shortcut for replying is a single button. Facebook users can press “C” to leave a comment.
Twitter users, meanwhile, need only press “R” to send a @reply to any tweet:
Not in the mood to actually, like, type a reply? Facebook users can simply press “L” to Like a selected post. Leaving a trail of raised thumbs has never been simpler: just J/K through your timeline and press “L” when you see something you like. You don’t even need to move your hand.
Twitter users have two choices: “F” to favorite a tweet and “T” to retweet. You’ll see this take affect instantly:
Already you can explore, reply to, and otherwise interact with posts faster than ever before. Start using Facebook and Twitter this way and you’ll wonder how you ever did otherwise.

Sending A Message

The keyboard shortcut for posting on Twitter is simple: just press “N” and the post window will show up:
Facebook doesn’t have a dedicated shortcut for this, but if you use J/K to browse to the “Update Status” box you’ll see it’s selected:
Hit “Enter” and you’ll be in the post box, ready to submit your inane rants to the world. Use responsibly.

Jumping From Page To Page

Here’s where things get weird for Facebook users. You can use two keys, combined with a number, to jump between different Facebook pages – like the Home screen, or your personal timeline. What are these keys? It depends on your operating system and browser. Here’s Facebook’s list:
  • Internet Explorer for PC: Alt + #, then Enter
  • Firefox for PC: Shift + Alt + #
  • Safari for Mac: Ctrl + Opt + #
  • Firefox for Mac: Ctrl + Opt + #
  • Chrome: Ctrl + Opt + #
So what are these numbers? You can read Facebook’s official list, if you want, but to me the most useful things to know are that “1? gets you to the Facebook home page, “2? gets you to your personal timeline and “4? gets you to incoming messages.
Twitter makes things a little easier, in that the keyboard shortcuts for jumping from page to page are the same in every browser. You need only press “G” (for “Go”), followed by a one-letter shortcut for where you want to go. “G” followed by “C”, for example, will take you to the “Connect” page.
“G” followed by “H” will take you back home; “G” followed by “D” will take you to the discover page. It’s pretty easy to understand, and kind of makes you wonder what Facebook is thinking with its number system. Knowing both of these, however, is useful for any social networking enthusiast – with them you can explore the sites quickly.

Where To Find Full Lists

As I mentioned before, Facebook offers a complete list of Facebook keyboard shortcuts. Twitter makes things simpler – to see a full list of keyboard shortcuts you need only hit “?” while using the service:
Or, if you prefer, you can check out this social media shortcut inforgraphic. It outlines all the shortcuts above, along with some for Google Plus and YouTube. We’ve also got cheat sheets for Twitter or Facebook shortcuts, if you want to download a PDF outlining everything. Print them for a one-page summary.

A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy

As you know, content marketing enables companies attract, acquire, and retain more customers. But coming up with new and interesting content ideas sure can be challenging.
Keep your remarkable content ideas flowing with this new ebook, A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy, which provides a step-by-step approach to help you handle the demands of constant content creation.
   Download the Free Guilde to Building A Killer Content Strategy
In this ebook, you'll learn:
* 10 tips for creating extraordinarily-good content
* How to never run out of content ideas
* How to create an editorial calendar to keep content flowing
* How to increase quality leads by mapping content to your buying cycle
Know someone who could use this guide to content marketing?
Forward to a colleague
Ian Stanley
EMEA Marketing Manager
HubSpot EMEA

A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy

Download Now

Everything You Wanted to Know About Action Items

METHOD 123: empowering managers to succeed
Everything You Wanted to Know About Action Items
An action item is work that requires follow-up execution. By their nature, action items normally cannot be planned for in advance. They arise on an ad-hoc basis during meetings or as a by-product of working on something else. An action item is assigned because there is not enough knowledge, expertise or time to resolve the item at the time it originally surfaced.
In many cases, action items are trivial in nature, but in other cases they can require substantial work to complete. Action items need to be assigned, worked on later and completed. (If they are not going to be completed, they should not be called action items. Instead, simply note that the item will not be followed up on and then forget about it.) Examples of action items include forwarding information to someone, arranging a meeting and providing a quick estimate on a piece of work. 
Sometimes an action item is established to investigate an area where there may be a potential problem. Because of this, action items are sometimes mixed in with issues. However, this is not right; an action item should not be confused with an issue. An issue is a problem which will have a detrimental impact on the project if left unresolved. An action item may lead to the discovery of an issue or a risk (a potential issue in the future), but the action item itself is not an issue.
There are two common approaches used to manage action items. The best approach is to document the items as activities in the project schedule. A resource and end-date are assigned as well, and the activity is then managed and tracked as any normal activity on the schedule. In general, this is the better approach to follow, because it keeps the work items in one place and allows the project manager to enforce the discipline of knowing ‘if it’s not on the schedule, it will not be worked on.’ This approach also allows the project manager to see the impact of the action items on the schedule. For instance, you may have a small action item that is 3 hours of work. If you assign this action item to a person on the critical path, you may see the resulting delay to your project. This may result in you assigning the action item to someone else instead.
The second approach is to create a section on your meeting minutes for action items. Action items can be placed here if they are trivial (less than two hours) and they are scheduled to be completed by the next meeting. If you use this technique you can start each meeting with a review of the prior action items to validate that they are completed and then cross them off the list.
Don't Mix Issues and Action Items on the Same Log
In many cases, project managers are not using the Issues Log to identify and track true issues. Many items that are classified as issues are really risks (potential problems) or just action items. If you find that your Issues Log has dozens of items on it, you are probably tracking action items instead. Because issues are large problems, there should not be many items open at any one time. If you find that your Issues Log is full of action items, chances are that your true issues are hidden and not worked on as they should.
An Issues Form and Issues Registry are just two of the dozens of templates in the Project Management Template Kit. Buy individual templates or bundles.

When Should You Start Building Your Social Networks?

No Marketing Effort Should Begin Without A Plan


During a neighborhood gathering I met a small business owner and after sharing our respective backgrounds, he proceeded to tell me his troubles with not having the time to keep his website current. Competitors were seemingly overwhelming his category online. He also disclosed that his offering requires a bit of an educational sales cycle and the industry category has had some mixed press.

As we talked, I learned that innovations in the product line have advanced the capabilities significantly, but awareness of those advancements were hardly common knowledge within the target audience. The good news was a significant demand in search volume and conversation on social networks about the problems his product offering solves.

I think a situation where a business has a great product, little awareness, high demand and few resources to market is pretty typical and common amongst small businesses as well as groups or departments within larger organizations. My immediate solution involved content and amplification but where to find the resources and what approach will yield the best return?

No marketing effort should begin without a plan or an approach that involves understanding key pain points of target customers and what the journey from awareness to consideration to purchase typically involves. Even an intuitive mapping of those customer insights is better than a pure product feature/benefit focus.

Part of the problem to be solved in this situation is awareness and education to overcome misperceptions and communicate the enhanced features. One of the most efficient and effecting things a small business owner (aka resourced strapped marketer) could do to create content that is compelling, that stands out, is easy to find and share would be to create a blog with videos embedded of the business owner answering common questions. Answers that empathize with the customer would be most effective vs. a simple product demonstration. What causes people to need the product? What misperceptions are there that can be addressed? How can it be used outside the normal scope?

Content wouldn’t need to be limited to video of course. Creating text, image and video content that is focused on the customer’s point of view about the product will go a long way towards attracting social shares and links.

But, the question remains: How will people know that this great content exists? Without an active social network or advertising budget, it could take weeks or months before attracting significant sales.

Here’s what often happens and maybe you’ve had this experience. A great content object is created (infographic, ebook, video, blog post) and then published to social platforms. Maybe several accounts need to be created on some social networks because they didn’t exist before and you want to get exposure to your beautiful, amazing content. Then what happens?

Nothing. Followed by, “Our video didn’t go viral!”. “Our eBook didn’t make the top Slideshare of the day!”.

Here’s the thing: The time to start building social networks isn’t when you need them. The time to start isn’t even yesterday or last month. The time to start is long, long before you “need” them because it takes time to develop relationships. It takes time to listen, participate, create optimized content and understand what triggers will inspire attraction, engagement, sales and referrals.

Since we cannot go back in time, then your time to start is now. Social network development isn’t just about creating profiles on the big 5 and friending hundreds of people in the hopes they’ll follow back so you can push your content on them. It’s about creating, meaningful vs. mechanical social experiences for your community. Create value. Listen and respond. Ask and answer questions. Be interesting. Be helpful. Be memorable and most certainly take the perspective of “give to get”.

Social networks are powerful assets for online marketers but they don’t happen overnight.

If the small business owner I mentioned above stays the course with creating useful content, listening to customer feedback and growing a social presence, he’ll not only increase his ability to reach a larger, relevant audience, but he’ll also be able to tap into a steady stream of new content ideas, customer referrals and channels of content distribution that can reach even more prospective customers. With a healthy social network and community, he’ll have new channels for sharing optimized content that attracts links and social shares; essential signals for search engines to rank web pages that will drive even more new customers to his business.

About Lee Odden
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.


New Developments On Web Security Introduced By Mozilla

Make no mistake about it, Mozilla is committed to making the web a safer place for its users. Although browser security remains somewhat dubious–all of the main browsers perform well in various security tests tests, although, questions about NSA backdoors persist–for their part, Mozilla has been very outspoken against government surveillance programs. In an effort to back up such rebellion with concrete results, Mozilla’s commitment to a secure browsing environment was again put on display today with the introduction of two new services designed around the secure web concept.

The first, which is the result of a partnership with BlackBerry, who refuses to go quietly into that good night, involves the concept of bug fuzzing. The cool name has a simple, but seemingly effective concept in its design:
Mozilla and BlackBerry’s work on security research techniques are in the area of fault injection. Fault injection (also known as “fuzzing”) is a method of automated security testing that is used to identify potential security concerns that can be fixed before users are at risk. Fault injection is a testing technique where specially designed software is created to inject a variety of unexpected or malformed data into a specific application, program or area of code. The goal is to uncover areas where the software does not properly handle the malformed data. Through fault injection it is possible to identify potential security weaknesses that can be proactively addressed before there is ever a threat to users.
In other words, fuzzing tests to see if a site will harm a user. If so, the technique “fixes” the problem, which, in turn, protects the browser (using a Mozilla product, of course). What is involved in these fixes is uncertain, especially if it involves a destination site. Aside from warning the user, or, perhaps blocking potentially malicious content, there isn’t much the service can do to fix a potentially harmful site.
Unless, of course, it involves gaining access to the server hosting the site in question, and that goes a little bit above and beyond the call of duty for a web browser. Nevertheless, adding another layer of security for web users to rely on is certainly not a bad thing, especially if it successfully blocks infections. It should be noted that BlackBerry seems to be quite enthusiastic about their involvement in the program:
[Adrian Stone, Director of BlackBerry Security Response and Threat Analysis says] “Security is an industry-wide challenge that cannot be solved in a vacuum, and that is why BlackBerry and Mozilla security researchers are working together to develop new and innovative tools for detecting browser threats before they can affect both mobile and desktop customers. Through this collaboration, BlackBerry and Mozilla are working together towards the common goal of advancing security protections for customers as well as improving the threat landscape overall.”
Who knows? Maybe such a commitment will help BlackBerry’s attempted rebound, at least in the eyes of the corporate world. Mozilla also announced the 0.3 release of Minion, their open source security testing platform which allows:
…any team to set up the basic requirements to perform automated scanning and testing of websites and services by providing sensible defaults for plugins that enable scanning of many types of web applications and services.
A quick look at the blog post for the Minion update reveals a lot of tools and flexibility regarding these security tests.

Chris Richardson
About Chris Richardson
Chris Richardson is a search engine writer for WebProNews

Getting Started With Arduino: A Beginner’s Guide

MakeUseOf Newsletter
Tip of the Day: Be sure to enter our Vizio E320i-A0 32-inch Smart TV giveaway for a chance at winning a new TV!

Getting Started With Arduino: A Beginner’s Guide

Want to build your own electronics, but don’t know where to start? Then you’re certainly looked into the Arduino, only to find yourself frustrated when you look for a simple-language guide. We hope Getting Started With Arduino, A Beginner’s Guide can help.
In this guide, Brad Kendall will take you through everything you need to know to get started with your own basic Arduino projects and lead you on to more interesting ideas.
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
In addition to Arduino’s simplicity, it is also inexpensive, cross-platform and open source. Believe it or not, even relatively inexperienced users can build a version of the Arduino module on a breadboard in order to understand how it works and save a little bit of money.
An Arduino can basically do anything by interfacing sensors with a computer. This would allow you to take any sensor and have any action applied with the readings. For example (in one of our projects) we will read the level of light in a room and adjust an LED’s brightness to react based on that input.
This guide will tell you:
  • What you can do with an Arduino
  • About the electrical components required to work with an Arduino
  • Basic programming to control the Arduino
  • The parts required to complete a few basic Arduino projects
  • Step-By-Step guide of how to build a few simple Arduino projects
  • What else you can do with an Arduino

DOWNLOAD or READ ONLINE: Getting Started With Arduino, A Beginner’s Guide

PDF, EPUB, Amazon, and online. No password or registration required.

Can Google Really Keep Competitors From Harming Your Business? (Enable Images to Fully Enjoy)

'Disavow has not worked,' cry webmasters

Can Google Really Keep Competitors From Harming Your Business?
About Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.
Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Top Marketers Win The Marketplace

Apple. Google. Disney. These are some of the most admired and in many cases, loved brands in the world. No doubt, many companies are envious of the connection these top brands have been able to make with their customers. A strong connection between brands and consumer manifest in many ways from retention to word of mouth to premium pricing.

As companies focus in on creating more content and utility in their marketing, more organizations are beginning to realize the importance of creating an emotional connection. This is along the lines of meaningful vs. mechanical marketing I’ve often talked about.
I was reading a book recently that focuses in on exactly this topic:Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace by Brian Sheehan. Brian agreed to do a guest post answering a pretty important question in today’s age of information overload: What makes a company loved?
Brian SheehanPeople today do not find government or business very trustworthy, let alone worthy of their love. The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer showed “a serious crisis of confidence in leaders of both business and government.” Trust in the institutions of government and business themselves is up on 2012, but still tepid. Globally, business is 58% and government 48%.
Business may be the best bet for improving global life, but winning people’s trust is only the start. The good news is there’s a higher path. As a marketer turned academic, I’ve recognized a pattern in the most successful companies across sectors and geographies. These companies apply 10 universal elements to become not just liked, trusted, respected or admired — but flat-out loved.
Putting love in the same sentence as business occasionally meets resistance, but love occupies premium territory for margin, share, growth and preference, and makes the world a better place. Love works; here are the 10 elements of a Lovemarks Company:
  1. A Loved Company is driven by Purpose. Purpose is the thread that binds great companies, their people and their customers. Purpose is the dream of the entrepreneur that flows through the enterprise, from Sam Walton bringing choice into the lives of millions of people to Bill Gates’ computer on every desk and in every home. If there is no dream, the company derails.
  2. A Loved Company Inspires People. Being loved is not about satisfying or persuading people, the modus operandi of brands. Love is about inspiring people, about lifting their lives through innovation (Procter & Gamble), distribution (Amazon) communication (Toyota) or in other magic ways. Love answers the big question: “How will you improve my life?” Priceless.
  3. A Loved Company is Emotional. It sounds obvious, but how many companies are emotional? How many understand what separates their customers from others and plumb those differences to speak to the hearts of users and non-users alike? Big Data wants to, but it will never match the irresistible human touch, from the flying fun that Virgin Atlantic delivered to the authenticity of the Miller High Life Delivery Man.
  4. A Loved Company Uncovers Truth. Most research produces insights that are not insightful because what people say they do and how people actually behave is different. A loved company uncovers the truths needed to deliver what matters to people by getting closer to people. For example through exploration, Guinness got the revelation that there is a “Drop of Greatness” in every African man.
  5. A Loved Company is a Creative Leader. Only creativity has unreasonable power and the more that brands look the same the more there is a premium on originality. From the Ford assembly line through to the ground breaking Toyota Prius, the companies that inspire love will always be those that do what Apple did, “Think Different.”
  6. A Loved Company Has a Rallying Cry. Revolution begins with language and a rallying cry is a way to drive purpose to action, both inside and outside the company. Whether it’s a statement (Lenovo. For Those Who Do.), a challenge (Lexus – Pursuit of Perfection) or a visual cue (Cheerios), a rallying cry creates a higher meaning to inspire a greater involvement.
  7. A Loved Company Has People Power. Loved companies win because in a time of viral velocity, a ‘Participation Economy,’ they build a movement and inspire more people to join them. Whether it’s through igniting customer passions or capturing the popular imagination ‘Gangnam Style’, people power accelerates results through emotion, participation, celebration and sharing.
  8. A Loved Company Has Mystery. The less we know about something, the more interesting it gets. This is mystery, the powerful realm of inspiration, dreams, icons, myths and stories, and past / present / future together. Winning is about a shared journey with a clear trail to follow. An unfolding always-interesting narrative.
  9. A Loved Company Has Sensuality. People operate on all five senses. Most brands operate on one or two. Lovemark companies evoke responses across all the senses. Argentina’s top home appliance brand BGH changed out the ‘beep’ of a microwave for your favorite song. A German bank visualized its annual report with art installations. Sensuality is a gateway to the real world that engages people.
  10. A Loved Company Has Intimacy. This is the company putting itself in the heart of the audience. Not putting customers at the heart of what the company does, but asking to be invited into their individual hearts, and doing it through empathy, commitment and passion. The Ritz-Carlton switched “Please stay with us” to “Let us stay with you.”

 © 2013 Brian Sheehan, author of Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace

About The Author: Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.

5 Tips For Great Task Lists - The world's smartest Online Project Management Software...

Task lists are the foundation of your project plan. Without a good task list, it will be much harder to produce your project schedule. After all, how will you know what to do? Every project should start out with a comprehensive task list.
5 Tips For Great Task Lists
Here are our 5 tips for creating stellar task lists on your projects.
Tip 1: Work with your team
You cannot create a full task list for your project by yourself, so enlist the help of your project team. Schedule some time to sit together and brainstorm ideas as your colleagues will no doubt come up with different tasks to include on the project list to add to the ones you have already thought of. At this stage, simply record everything, either on paper or directly into your project management software. Try to get down as much detail as you can, but don't worry too much about allocating tasks to people right now. You can do that later, again with input from your subject matter experts.
Tip 2: Structure your list
When you have a complete task list, upload it to your project software if you haven't already so that you can start working with it. Group together tasks that are related and add some sub-headings to make it easier to navigate through the list. Having similar tasks logically grouped is the next stage to creating a comprehensive project plan. All of this gives you the chance to create some structure to your list so that you can easily find individual tasks and your list makes sense when you review it.
Tip 3: Prioritize tasks
A great task list will instantly show you the most important tasks. It doesn't matter if you are documenting the activities you need to include on your project schedule or your daily To Do list, some tasks will have a higher priority than others. Use your task management tools to highlight the most important tasks, perhaps by using a different color, making the font bold or adding some stars next to those items. You'll instantly be able to see your priorities for the day.
Tip 4: Store your task list centrally
It's so easy to get confused about your priorities and lose the complete picture if you have tasks written on sticky notes, on your calendar, in your project notebook or on email. Using the task management features makes it easy to keep all your tasks in order, in one central location.
This is also a great tip if you are sharing your task list with the rest of the project team. It can save you a lot of time if you all work off one list, and you'll never get confused about what is on the list and what isn't! When it is all in one place, everyone shares the same, comprehensive view of the work that needs to be done.
Tip 5: Mark tasks as complete
What is the best thing about task lists? Marking the tasks as complete, of course! There's nothing more satisfying than ticking off a task that you have finished. Whether you draw a line through it, tick a box, delete a row in your software or any other way of marking your progress, make sure that you go back to your list and celebrate each completed task (and therefore your progress towards a bigger project objective) by crossing it off your list. Then you can move on to the next task!
Make managing project task lists easy with the sophisticated tools in Upload existing task lists from other tools, create new lists on the fly and share your tasks with your project team, and it is all accessible online from anywhere.

Manage your tasks easily
Using this software you can produce task lists easily.
Let it help you to:
TickUpload lists
TickCreate lists
TickShare lists
TickPrioritize tasks
TickAssign tasks
© Project Manager Online Ltd 2013

Are Search Engines Doing Enough To Deter Child Abuse? (Enable Images to Fully Enjoy)

Are search engines like Google and Bing doing enough to combat child exploitation and those seeking out images of it? That’s a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds this week as Microsoft has said that it will include new pop-ups aiming to deter those seeking out such content on Bing. Google, on the other hand, has reportedly elected not to take this path, suggesting that its methods for combatting the problem work better.
Last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech about the Internet and pornography, calling on search engines to do more to keep children safe.
“Government needs to do more,” Cameron said. “We need to give CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) and the police all the powers they need to keep pace with the changing nature of the internet.”
He then announced that starting next year, they’ll link up existing databases across police forces to form one large database full of illegal images of children.
“The internet service providers and the search engine companies have a vital role to play and we’ve already reached a number of important agreements with them,” said Cameron, adding that a new UK-US taskforce is being formed “to lead a global alliance with the big players in the industry” to eliminate child exploitation images.
Cameron said that in Britain, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have already been engaged on a major campaign to deter people who are searching for child abuse images. He wouldn’t go into detail about the campaign, he said, because it could “undermine its effectiveness”. He did say that it is “robust, “hard-hitting,” and a “serious deterrent” to people looking for these images.
Currently, reported images are immediately added to a list, and are blocked by search engines. But Cameron doesn’t think it’s good enough for the search engines to wait until images are reported. He said they’re “not doing enough to take responsibility,” and even said they’re “denying responsibility”.
Cameron refuses the argument that search engines shouldn’t be involved in finding out where illegal images are “because the search engines are just the pipe that delivers the images, and that holding them responsible would be a bit like holding the Post Office responsible for sending illegal objects in anonymous packages.”
“That analogy isn’t really right, because the search engine doesn’t just deliver the material that people see, it helps to identify it,” Cameron said.
“Companies like Google make their living out of trawling and categorising content on the web, so that in a few key strokes you can find what you’re looking for out of unimaginable amounts of information,” he said. “That’s what they do. They then sell advertising space to companies based on your search patterns. So if I go back to the Post Office analogy, it would be like the Post Office helping someone to identify and then order the illegal material in the first place and then sending it on to them, in which case the Post Office would be held responsible for their actions.”
“So quite simply we need the search engines to step up to the plate on this issue,” he added. “We need a situation where you cannot have people searching for child abuse images and being aided in doing so. If people do try and search for these things, they are not only blocked, but there are clear and simple signs warning them that what they are trying to do is illegal, and where there is much more accountability on the part of the search engines to help find these sites and block them.”
He said the UK government has already insisted that warning pages are placed wherever child abuse sites have been identified and taken down.
Cameron said, “There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where there could be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher – terms that I can’t say today in front of you with the television cameras here, but you can imagine – where it’s absolutely obvious the person at the keyboard is looking for revolting child abuse images. In these cases, there should be no search results returned at all. Put simply, there needs to be a list of terms – a blacklist – which offer up no direct search returns.”
“So I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the rest: you have a duty to act on this, and it is a moral duty,” he added. “I simply don’t accept the argument that some of these companies have used to say that these searches should be allowed because of freedom of speech.”
He then asked search engines to commit to stop offering results on a blacklist of search terms that would be given by the CEOP.
“There’s one further message I have for the search engines. If there are technical obstacles to acting on this, don’t just stand by and say nothing can be done, use your great brains to overcome them,” he said. “You’re the people who’ve worked out how to map almost every inch of the earth from space. You’ve designed algorithms to make sense of vast quantities of information. You’re the people who take pride in doing what they say can’t be done.”
Cameron then suggested the search companies hold hackathons to tackle child safety.
You can read the full transcript of Cameron’s speech here.
Peter Davies, chief executive of the CEOP, had this to say, following Cameron’s speech: “Anything which helps stop the distribution of this material or deters those who feed the market by accessing it online can only be a good thing and, working with the world’s leading technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook, we’re ready to hear their ideas on other ways to stop illegal child abuse material being viewed online, and to support their work.”
“But let’s not be blinded to the fact that our work is not just about stopping people from accessing the images that already exist on the internet. We need to continue our work on stopping them from being produced and distributed in the first place by catching child sex offenders and safeguarding children to stop them suffering more horrendous abuse,” Davies added.
According to the BBC, Bing has become the first search engine to introduce pop-up warnings for people in the UK seeking out child abuse images. Yahoo, the report says, is considering doing something similar. Google, however, does not intend to, the report says. BBC News shares statements from both Microsoft and Google on the matter:
Microsoft said the notifications aimed “to stop those who may be drifting towards trying to find illegal child abuse content on the web via search engines”.
A spokesman said: “This is in addition to Microsoft’s existing and longstanding policy of removing any verified links to illegal content of this sort from Bing as quickly as possible.”
“Microsoft has been, and remains, a strong proponent of proactive action in reasonable and scalable ways by the technology industry in the fight against technology-facilitated child exploitation. We have teams dedicated globally to abuse reporting on our services and the development of new innovations to combat child exploitation more broadly.”
Interestingly, just a few months ago, we had to report that Bing was actually suggesting people search for some pretty questionable things, like “sex games online for children,” “sex games for kids,” “sex games for kids in bed,” “sex kids movies, “sex kids free,” “sex kids site,” “sex kids picture,” and “sex children to children movie” among others. That is, these terms were appearing in the autosuggest search box. Even just typing “sex” into Bing would include a suggestion for “sex games online for children”. These types of suggestions did not occur on Google.
Bing suggestions
The whole thing was brought to our attention via a reddit thread. The Bing suggestions were even showing up in Facebook’s Graph Search, thanks to the partnership between Facebook and Bing.
Facebook Graph Search
When asked about all of this, a Microsoft spokesperson simply told us, “We’re reviewing the guidelines for search suggestions related to this type of query.”
Since then (and that was in April), Bing’s suggestions do appear to have significantly gotten better, at least for the queries referenced in our article. The Facebook issue appears to have been resolved as a result of Bing’s efforts.
Here’s the quote from the Google spokesperson shared by BBC News:
“We use purpose-built technology and work with child safety organisations to find, remove and report it, because we never want this material to appear in our search results. We are working with experts on effective ways to deter anyone tempted to look for this sickening material.”
Additionally, Yahoo says it is working with the CEOP and others.
Some are criticizing Google’s approach. According to the Daily Mail, “Google has infuriated child safety campaigners and experts by refusing to take part [in the alert system Bing is using], because it believes its own methods in tackling the problem are more effective.”
The piece also quotes John Carr, a government adviser on online child safety, as saying, “‘What Bing and Yahoo! are doing is brilliant. If they show it can be done effectively, it will be very difficult for Google to continue to refuse as well.”
I guess we’ll see.
So far, Google hasn’t had a whole lot to say about the matter. You would think a post on its Europe Policy blog would be in order. This is the place Google typically responds to issues raised by governments in Europe.