Sunday, February 27, 2011

Progress Energy to the Rescue

What happens when an electrical transformer in your front yard faults? In my case they show up less than two hours later with a new one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Am Number Four

I saw that Google has revised their search algorithm in an effort to decrease the significance of content farms. I didn't expect this to have much, if any, impact on my quest to be the number one Ed Tennant but I checked anyway. I don't credit it to the algorithm change but I have moved up a spot. This site is now the fourth search result for ed tennant. It seems like I was stuck at number five for a long time but it has only been two months since the experiment started.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star

Today Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Everybody points the finger at Amazon when a brick-and-mortar book retailer has trouble. It seems to make sense to blame virtual stores when physical stores fail. I'm not sure whether it is electronic commerce or the electronic book that has brought the United States second largest bookseller to this point. Either way it makes me wonder about the consequences of new inventions. How many buggy makers went out of business when Henry Ford began producing the horseless carriage? How many employees will lose their jobs because Borders plans to close 30 percent of their store locations?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Reason to Write Online Reviews

I just discovered a great reason to write online reviews. If you forget which service provider you used in the past you can find them again through your own review. I need someone to look at my clothes dryer. It makes a horrible racket and is getting louder every time I use it. Problem is I use it on Sundays and that isn't the best day to track down an appliance repairman. So this has been going on for awhile and getting worse over time. I finally remembered on a weekday that I need to get it fixed. Armed with my Android powered smart phone I launched Dex and searched for appliance repair in my city. The first listing had a 5 star review and the name seemed familiar. I clicked to read the review and found out I had written it after they fixed our dishwasher. Guess who I called about the dryer?

Now I think of online reviews as a trail of breadcrumbs. They help me find my way back to businesses that I don't use very often but provide good service.

Do you leave online reviews?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snatching Nickels From the Steamroller's Path

Competition for local advertising is increasing at a remarkable pace. A small business owner can have a mobile ad campaign with little money and almost no effort:  Google Boost: Now Appearing On Mobile Phones - Google Small Business.

I don't know if he invented it but Joel Spolsky was the first I heard use the phrase about snatching nickels. He was referring to small shops that were filling gaps in a larger vendor's platform. Sooner or later the vendor fills the need and poof goes the business model of the small shop.

I think Google has managed to make a good start at doing sort of the opposite. Google has crept into the local advertising market with such a broad offering that it makes the incumbents look like niche players. They may very well displace multiple billion dollar businesses as they continue to expand their ability to service local advertisers. By providing Adwords, YouTube, Places, Hotpot, and Boost Google is becoming a one-stop shop for local online and mobile advertising.

Look at the year over year revenues of all the print advertisers that cater to local businesses. They are shrinking, getting smaller, growing backwards, declining, and falling. To make it easy on you just scan the newly created BIA/Kelsey Local Media Index. Notice the direction that Yellow Pages companies are going. Notice the direction that online local companies are going. For the time being, Google is actually counted as online advertising and search. Obviously they make a huge portion of their revenue from search but I bet more and more of that has a local flavor.

For a Yellow Pages company to survive they must be able to compete for local advertising dollars. If those dollars are being spent for a different media than the print Yellow Pages then companies must offer more than print advertising solutions. The offerings it seems they must provide are online. Right in the middle of the path of the Google steamroller.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Android Market Website is Terrific

Introducing the Android Market website - Official Google Mobile Blog

Sometimes when there is a gaping hole and it gets filled the fix seems to leave some room around the edges like it wasn't quite enough. Not so with the new web version of the Android Market. It worked perfectly for me the first time and I really appreciate the easy access to information about the apps. The installs are seamless and they have done an excellent job of filling a major hole in the Android app distribution strategy.

Since I am an AT&T customer I was nervous of a different version of the Android Market. My carrier blocks installs from anywhere but the official store. No problem at all. Google is really getting it together and this is a step in the right direction. I love my Android phone.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Webitty Goes Mobile Again

Blogger released an Android app and this is the first post from my phone.