Monday, June 20, 2011

Free Expression Online

Never get mad, but get even? Maybe you should think twice about that.   Do you really have a valid reason to hate someone? Knowing that to express these feelings online could destroy them publicly and privately?  Hate is a strong a feeling, especially when fuming on the internet occurs.  If you have the opportunity to act differently, like legally, then you should explore that option first.

How you would like to define yourself on the internet if faced with the choice- are you mean spirited or are you good natured? Recently an English plumber decided to take the choice to publicly humiliate and shame the person that hurt them.

"Plumber Ian Puddick has been cleared of internet harassment after tweeting and blogging details of his wife's affair.

He had tweeted, blogged and posted videos online after being enraged by his wife's 10-year relationship with company director Timothy Haynes."


What are the limits of free expression online? Apparently in England it's free as long as you express yourself truthfully. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

B2C Revenues

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The B2C e-business model generates revenues from several sources.


Retail sales directly to consumers are often called e-tail or e-retail.  Many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and catalog merchants are combining websites to become brick-and-click businesses, or e-retailers.  These websites are generating leads (sales) and improving customer services.  For example, Best Buy (electronics), JCPenney (retail) and PETCO (pet supplies).

B2C starting with no existing brick-and-mortar store are called pure-play e-retailers. There has been mixed success for pure-play e-retailers, the most famous example is Amazon.

Niche markets, a smaller targeted market within a larger market, have succeeded by avoiding competition with larger e-businesses.

Advertising Revenues

Some B2C e-businesses offer free content - information, links, games, and so on, and generate revenues by selling advertising on their web sites.   Ads are usually linked to the advertisers web site, therefore clicking an ad is a process called a click-through. The effectiveness of a web site is often measured by the number of visitors who use it to click-through to the advertised web site.

Subscription Fees

Another way to make money is to charge subscription fees for premium content and services.  Premium services such as posting personal ads, job search, and online communities.  Yahoo! Premium, AngiesList and Match.com are examples of subscription content.

Non-profit organizations also follow the B2C subscription e-business model.  For example,  the Consumers Union is an independent consumer product testing organization that publishes the Consumer reports magazine at its' online version, Consumer Reports.org.

Social Media

Social Media includes social networking, social opinion, social tagging, micro blogging, etc and has had an impact on personal communication.  Businesses are exploring the benefits of social media, including the network effect, to promote business and specific industry, to sell products and services to their customers, or to generate revenues by selling advertising space.  For example, Facebook is selling advertising space, businesses solicit reviews of their sites by members at StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking or tagging sites in order to build traffic to their sites and Twitter is being used to broadcast a variety of Tweets, from specials to new offerings to CEO business status updates.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Don't Hate Twitter

Using social networking tools to get information quickly to the people is empowering government.   Microblogging also allows governments to interact directly with constituents.  This is why Twitter is currently one of the most effective social tools for instigating political change.

The United States government uses microblogging to achieve various goals.  They broadcast status updates about current events, distribute surveys to monitor public sentiment and provide information to promote active dialogue with constituents.   Some politicians keep their tweets similar to a press releases, like Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, whom tweets with statements like "Record Unemployment Claims Show Need for Action Now".  On the other hand, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat Other politicians keeps her tweets unfiltered.  Regardless of how information is presented, the ability to explain government decision making and improve communication is increasingly popular with politicians and the public.

The pace of Short Message Service (SMS) technology cannot be controlled or stopped.    This makes it a perfect platform for moving small amounts of information very quickly.   In China, Twitter is blocked by government, yet local and  government approved microblogging companies like Tencent and Sina Weibo are attracting new followers.  The Chinese government tries to regulate posts with censorship tools, like blocking related keywords or posts that could lead others to join in.  However, users are continually finding ways to evade them as well, from using roman letters to spell Chinese words out phonetically, or substituting sensitive characters for similar-sounding innocuous characters.  Microblogging is proving difficult to control and thus effective in getting messages to recipients.

Cyber freedom fighters of North Africa and the Middle East are using microblogging to change political dictatorships.   Recently, the US government released Arab and Farsi-language tweets during the political unrest in Egypt.   Egyptians were able to successfully oust Husni Mubarak after using microblogging to create a democratic protest in Tahrir Square.  The White House has seen this as a opportunity to spread the word of freedom to the people of political rivalries. 

Nowadays, microblogs play a key role in dissolving social discontent, interacting with constituents on current issues and governing smarter.  In my opinion, microblogs will greatly promote good governance.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kid Friendly Searches

Objectionable content like offensive language, sexually explicit or violent material, gambling, or hate propaganda can be avoided by allowing children to only use kid-friendly searches.   Results from searches are filtered by bots and some sites retain an editorial staff that reviews the content from each site.

Children's Search Engines:

Ask Kids
Google SafeSearch for Kids
Yahoo! Kids
CyberSleuth Kids
Awesome Library
Fact Monster

Online Safety for Kids:

FBI: A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
National Crime Prevention Council
FEMA for Kids
FTC: Kidz Privacy

Search Tools

Web search tools help users find information, including web pages, businesses people, multimedia files, document databases, and more. These tools can be broadly classified into directories, search engines, and metasearch engines.


Google Directory
Yahoo! Directory
DMOZ Open Directory Project

A human compiled hierarchical list of web pages organized by categories. One of the first directories, Jerry's Guide (created by Jerry Yang and David Filo) became the original Yahoo Directory. The process of drilling down into subcategories can assist in logical organization of the subject matter. However, using human editors is a weakness because the review process is lengthy and biased. Breadcrumb trails are common links between subcategories, categories and the home page.

Most directories have strategic partnerships with search engines to enable users to search the directory index by keywords.  For example, Google directory combines Google search with the DMOZ directory pages.

Search Engines 

Yahoo! Search
AOL Search

Search engines include general-purpose search engines such as Google, Ask.com and Bing and others such as AltaVista, Gigablast and Cuil.  Additionally, speciality search engines such as BizRate (shopping), Technorati (blogs) and Fact Monster (kid friendly searches).  Some search engines contain Web page indexes of other search engines. For example AOL Search results are "enhanced" by Google.  AltaVista is owned by Yahoo! which provides it's indexes.

Search engines use a spider/ bot (robot) or Web crawler to browse the web and add information to their index.  Yahoo! Slurp, Googlebot, and MSNbot (Bing) are examples of Web crawlers.

The search engines scan for information like the following to create their indexes:
  • Page title - the title on the top of the browser bar
  • URL - specifically the domain name 
  • Meta tag keywords - descriptive keywords coded into the web page's HTML that is readable by the web crawler but invisible to the reader
  • Occurrence of keywords - the frequency of use and where words appear on the page
  • Full text searching - all the words on a page
  • Internal links within the page to the other pages oat the site, for example a site map
  • Number and relevancy of other pages that link to a page
The web page information is stored in a database on a server creating an index.   Web crawlers continuously crawl the web for new and updated information.

Search engines try to present the most relevant and useful results at the top of their indexes to attract more users.  On most search engines, advertisers pay for their ads to appear for relevant keywords.  The ads are usually labeled and on the right side of the web page.

Metasearch Engines


When a user submits a query into a metasearch engine's text box, the metasearch engine submits the search query to a number of search engines at one time and then compiles the results from all of them into a single list. A good metasearch result will have no duplicate entries, categorize the hits based on topic, order the hits by relevance, and indicate which search engines provided the results . Some metaserch engines mix paid and sponsored hits together in the same search results list; therefore, the source must be carefully reviewed.