Linux tricks and tips

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Found a really useful tip on http://www.linuxbrigade.com for a command to optimize and repair MySQL databases:

mysqlcheck -u root -ppassword --auto-repair --check --optimize --all-databases

Use "p" for password and then your password with no space! I had a corrupt table in a phpBB database and this did the trick. The site seems full of useful tips like this.

This is a pretty good ad

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It may be a little too specific for the general public - but if you are in the business of marketing and selling online you'll get it:

All In

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So it looks like I am having a frustrating run as an commerce consultant for a small brand come to an end. The client isn't happy - and I am not happy. The reasons are many, probably there are plenty of fingers to point, but the thing that phrase that keeps coming to mind is` "all in".

As in you have to be - you absolutely have to be all in if you are going to sell fashion (and many other things - everything eventually) online. There is no "let's try this", "let's try that" - you want to advertise online, you go to the top, Google. You want to use the Google system, you have to get past AdWords text ads and go all in for the Google Product Listing Ads. And then you have to go all in there - better photos, better descriptions, better prices! You can't sleep in online retail, because the competition isn't. You have to retarget - Criteo, Google, others - you don't like it? You think its creepy? So what - the other guys are doing it and they are killing you.

Don't post to all your social media channels everyday? May as well give up. Don't stay on top of new trends? Don't have all the latest market research? Etc. etc. etc. It never ends online. You can't use the bricks and mortar model at all - and you can't have a real physical store and just want to have a small presence online, unless you are prepared to only ever sell a little bit of whatever it is you sell and spend a lot of money doing it (there are some industry/business type exceptions of course but this post is really about global fashion).

There are lessons here for small brands and labels - don't compete against yourself is the number one take away for me. If you are small, and you already have wholesalers and retailers carrying your stuff, let them do the selling. You concentrate on making the best products you can make and building your brand - not stealing sales from your partners.

Anyway - an end of year rant... on to bigger and better things!

This is ridiculous

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More gross overreach by Google - If you use Google services, you could become an ad next month.

Why would a corporation think this is okay to do? Why would they want to? Why would any "user" willingly participate?

I am working up a major rant about Google... coming soon.

Web based App development

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What is the best web based App development tool out there? It is really hard to tell, and it takes quite a bit of time to get into any of them deep enough to know what is for real and what isn't. I also see a lot of the "this is so EXPENSIVE" ranting when trying to find opinions or reviews of this kind of stuff. I don't quite get that - paying $50 or $100 a month for this kind of service doesn't really seem like a lot of money. Is it just that do it yourselfers on the web expect everything to be free?

Anyway - I have looked into the following:

  • AppMakr: looks like they have been acquired since the last time I logged in there. Just doesn't seem professional enough or provide enough functionality.
  • Map2App: I like this one - I want to like it more. A little limited, and the interface seems to lag at times, loses edits, etc. But we are seriously considering it for some client work. Really like how it is map driven. Definitely lacks in documentation.
  • ShoutEm: Terrible name if you ask me, but impressive online interface. Also lacks in documentation, but seems to have the most features. I like this one a lot.

I know there are many more - and ones that I have seen and lost bookmarks too, etc. Feel free to mention others in the comments.

Internet Trends

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Here is something that anyone with a pulse should be familiar with:

17 luxury brands with poor web user experience

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This is a good article:

I've always found it ironic that some of the most fancy hotels have some of the worst websites in the world. It's the same with restaurants. Both are long serving fans of Flash and autosound, and the result can be hellish.

If websites are particularly bad, and if I'm the one tasked with booking or buying something, then I can tell you for a fact that I will look elsewhere. The problem is that there isn't always an 'elsewhere'. Luxury brands pride themselves on their uniqueness, after all. If your better half wants some Jimmy Choo for her birthday then that's what you need to buy.

I work a lot with luxury retailers (and have also done work for hotels and restaurants) - and many of the clients tend to still have a lot of misconceptions about the internet in general and what a "website" really is. What you can't forget in the end is that even if you are a Gucci or Ferrari or whatever - you still have to have a website that defines the user's definition/expectation of a website. Can you market or brand and have one off amazing visuals, images, presentations, movies, etc. Yes, definitely - but in the right place and at the right time (meaning, not onload when someone firsts visits!). But the web still has a core demographic of people looking for information.

And if they have come to your website, they usually want to be able to find that information, in a click or two. Splash screens, pop ups, begging people to join your email list or like your Facebook page, auto play music, etc. - these are distractions and at worse turn users off so much that they leave your site and maybe even begin to have a negative feeling towards your brand or business. So don't blow it. Read the article and get an idea of some of the specific mistakes still being made.

Spam is illegal

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I have a very difficult time convincing many clients that you can't just add random email addresses to your newsletter list, etc. Most people just don't take it seriously. But spam is not only annoying - but illegal. Case in point - Papa John's.

I know a small business owner is probably never going to be gone after in the same way - but a fact is a fact. Spamming anyone, via text, email, etc. is bad business, bad manners, and against the law. Don't do it.

How Zara Grew Into the World's Largest Fashion Retailer

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A mostly interesting article - which somehow doesn't mention the Internet or the influence social networks and sites like Polyvore have on global fashion trends:

How Zara Grew Into the World's Largest Fashion Retailer From an unfashionable corner of economically disheveled Spain, Zara has conquered the "fast fashion" market by learning a new way to understand shoppers all over the world.


What is the single best piece of SEO advice?

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Via SEOMOZ I see on Quora.com "What is the single best piece of SEO advice?"

My advice: Forget about SEO.

Okay seriously - I think SEO is just an industry buzzword for common sense. My SEO technique is anti-SEO or maybe deconstructive SEO. Meaning you will get your best SEO results by forgetting about SEO. Just do everything like a human would, and use common sense. Correctly name and label all files, folders, directories, etc. like a human - not a machine (i.e. words, not numbers). Write original content. Make list and references. Use great original photos and video. Blog, tweet, tumble and use Facebook. Answer questions. Comment in other places. But just keep working - and forget about SEO.

Amazon In Fashion: Give The Lady What She Wants

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The last part of a four part series from Forbes, "Amazon In Fashion: Give The Lady What She Wants" details some new and innovating marketing techniques tying the social web into real bricks and mortar shopping by Amazon and other retailers.

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Amazon is making a big move to be the world's global fashion retailer, and with their penchant for foregoing profits and throwing money at something until it works - they may just succeed.

Tracking outbound clicks with Google Analytics

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You would think this would be easy - Google Analytics is such a sophisticated product and really can do some amazing things (for some examples just do a search on something like "top ten Google Analytics tips").

But searching around for this, even searching the exact phrase "Tracking outbound clicks with Google Analytics", first brings you to an outdated (!) page on Google's own website (why Google is not smart enough to point to the more relevant new page is beyond my area of expertise).

When you finally find what you are looking for, you get a detailed yet lacking explanation of how to track outbound clicks. Two examples are given - for (the newer) Asynchronous Code (which seems to be the only code still available) and for the older Traditional (ga.js) Code (you will have to decide which one to use - but if you are not using the newer code now is probably a good time to update to it anyway).

You have to put this extra code into the HTML Head of all your pages - (extra meaning that you also need to have your regular Google Analytics code in place). The key part which took some trial an error on my part, is that this code must be ABOVE the regular part of your Analytics code. I know this would probably seem logical to most people, but why something this simple can't be better explained, and an example shown, is beyond me. Unfortunately while it sounds relatively simple here, this process, by the dozens if not hundreds of posts you can find and variations and permutations there are of it, has driven hundreds of people insane.

So remember - to track clicks using Events in Google Analytics, go here for the latest code, place it in your HTML head before your Google Analytics code, change the parameters accordingly in your links (detailed also on the page linked to), and then wait a day to see your results. They should appear as "Events" in your "Content" category menu, and you can drill down further from there for specific results. Good luck -

No porn on Facebook

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I have been coming across a fair amount of nudity if not outright pornographic images on Facebook when working for a client (fashion related stuff, which quickly led to fetish related stuff, etc) , and wondering just exactly what their policy is on pornography. It can be a little difficult to find, but here it is (from this page):

"You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence."

So I guess the thing is that people that post this kind of stuff have like minded friends, and they don't report each other, so the stuff stays up there? I am not talking about porno spam on your wall from a complete stranger, but photo galleries, wall posts, etc. containing pornography and more often than not copyrighted material.

I guess it pretty much amounts to a don't ask don't tell policy, or nudge, nudge, wink, wink - but to me it just screams again that Facebook's user numbers are inflated for all the wrong reasons (like the gazillion under age kids that use it, etc.).

IAB Forum in Milan

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milano2010.jpgThe IAB is hosting a conference in Milan in a couple of weeks - I am hoping to attend and will blog from the event. My clients know that I have been pushing IAB standard sized ads forever, even though they always seem to push back...

Anyway looks like some interesting seminars and it will be great to meet some people in the business.

Google Webmaster Central Video Channel

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If you can take the engineered drone of Matt Cutts (sorry Matt - but you put me to sleep) there is some useful stuff in these videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp

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