Why Amazon has a big opportunity in product crowdfunding   Leave a comment

Alex H Yong:

amazon crowdfunding









Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Crowdfunding has helped to bring us some of the most avant garde devices of the past few years. Some, such as the Oculus Rift, Pebble smartwatch and Hidden Radio, have helped to jumpstart whole new categories. And more categories may be pioneered by products such as the Narrative Clip (formerly Memoto), Dash smart headphones, Melon brain-training headband, Ubi home intelligent agent, Romo smartphone-driven robot, Canary security system, and Galileo remote conferencing accessory.

But this method of bringing products to market has been fraught with challenges. Not surprisingly for those who have navigated the rough waters of device development, many products listed above — such as the Pebble, Clip, Ubi and Galileo — missed their estimated original shipping windows. Indeed, many high-profile crowdfunded tech gadgets — such as the AGENT smartwatch (over a million dollars raised in June 2013), the ultra-thin CST-01 e-paper watch (over a million dollars…

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Posted February 1, 2015 by Alex H Yong in Uncategorized

Mozilla Wants To Bring Virtual Reality To The Browser   Leave a comment

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Last summer, Mozilla launched a very experimental version of Firefox with support for web-based virtual reality apps that could be experienced through the Oculus Rift. Earlier this week, support for WebVR also landed in Firefox’s Nightly and Developer Edition release channels.

So why is Mozilla working on virtual reality when its mission is to “promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web?” At a talk last summer, Mozilla’s Josh Carpenter argued that the organization knows VR will be a “really big deal” and because “it presents a really great challenge — and we like great challenges.” To give users that feeling of actually being present in a different world (and not just that of looking at a simulation), you need to get the latency between head movements and the screen reacting to them down to an absolute minimum. Mozilla argues that, in the end, all of this work will not…

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Posted January 26, 2015 by Alex H Yong in Uncategorized

Soo!… Do Mozilla and Firefox have a place in a Material World?   Leave a comment

Originally posted on s00! Techified...:

For a long time now, people have been saying that Google is getting better at design quicker than Apple is getting better at services and as though to show this off, Google unveiled a brand new design language. Though this time it wasn’t only for the mobile platform of Android but they’ve also unveiled it for the web. Material Design is what Google considers the best practices for any app or website.

Material Design as a language is beautiful but it’s not just about aesthetics for it’s truly immersive. To compare it to traditional languages such as English, German, Japanese and Cantonese, you’d describe it as having nuances in the pronunciations, whereby getting the accent right on a word could be the difference between conveying one thing or another.

Comparing Material Design to Holo Design is something that’s vital to truly get an understanding of what Google is trying to…

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Posted January 22, 2015 by Alex H Yong in Uncategorized

NinjaOutreach: Boost Productivity with this New Inbound Marketing Tool   8 comments

short wide break utility* Hey! There’s a video at the end of this post *

By Ali Lawrence

Ali Lawrence is a content specialist for an Internet marketing agency and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land about online PR, copywriting and content marketing. Her articles have been published by Muck Rack, SEMrush, and Spin Sucks.

Connect with Ali on Twitter @Ali_MarCom
Blog: marcomland.com
Read more of Ali’s articles on Contently: alicialawrence89.contently.com
Find Ali on Google+

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Those who do inbound marketing, like myself, have a lot on our plates. We have to find relevant blogs, build relationships, pitch story ideas, write posts and keep track of all this craziness. Not to mention, this becomes increasingly difficult overtime as we exhaust our blog list and have to keep track of the 100 bloggers you already work with.

Sure, there are tools out there like Tout, Buzzstream, and Google Docs to help you along the way, but having to use several different tools to get the job done decreases productivity (and budget, since most are paid). #InboundProblems

I know I’m not alone in these problems because these are just a few reasons why Mark Samms, Dave Schneider and Gurpal Theti got together to create an all-in-one inbound tool called NinjaOutreach.

While this tool is still in beta testing, I wanted to give you an inside peek at its capabilities. Centralize Your Workflow NinjaOutreach is currently a desktop app for Windows only. Once you setup the tool you can enter all your email addresses (I have four so this definitely came in handy) in the Setting section so you can email your contacts from whatever email all in one interface.



Click to see fullsize

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Ninja Outreach

Click to see fullsize

The first tab “Prospecting” allows you to place several targeted keywords in the search bar and let NinjaOutreach do the work as it gathers a list of blogs (no duplicates), contact info, social shares for the post, ranking info, and traffic. You can narrow the search by filling in requirements for the above info under the advanced filter. You can then export the list or save it to a specific list in your “List Management” tab.

Once you have the list to your specifications, you may need to go through and add names or specific emails if the computer couldn’t find them, and create various pitch emails in the “Manage Templates” tab. You can even add variables to be automatically filled in for each specific contact.

Next, go to the “Email” tab where you can view each contact’s “card” with their latest tweets, RSS feed, contact info, and rank. Choose the bloggers you want to contact, add the template which is automatically filled in with data available, and the email address you want to send it from. Send! It’s really that easy.

One section of the tool I’ve yet to truly test is “Campaign Management.” In this section, you can view user analytics and split testing for your templates to perfect your pitches and response rate.

Overall I think the tool is definitely worth the investment, especially at only $19/month! You can get your 14 day free trial here. Bonus video below: Dave Schneider of NinjaOutreach explains the software on #WebToolsTV.
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Twitter Tools To Help You Retweet Influencers And Get On Their Radars   2 comments

By Gail Gardner

Gail Gardner is the Small Business Marketing Strategist who founded GrowMap.com, known for the GrowMap anti-spambot plugin (GASP). She is also Community Manager of SocialImplications.com.

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Social media influencers are busy and, apart from notable exceptions like Gary Vaynerchuk, many don’t do everything on Twitter manually. We use tools to automate some of what we do while not neglecting personal interactions. Tools make it possible for us to spend more time interacting.

The Importance of a Consistent Twitter Presence

Keeping your account active is the first thing to understand when you engage Twitter influencers. We use tools to unfollow dormant accounts. If you don’t tweet at least once a month you will start losing the most influential followers. Even if you are certain you always tweet more than that, emergencies happen. Better to be safe – especially when it is so easy.

All you need is the free tool Twitterfeed. By adding a few blogs that are relevant to your audience, their latest content will automatically be shared in your Twitter stream. Just be sure you choose wisely as you never want to use a site that publishes anything that would offend your followers. My tutorial How to Use Twitterfeed will guide you step-by-step.

Don’t worry about feeding too many sites as long as they are highly relevant. I personally feed 114 other sites into my Twitter stream. Remember that some only publish once a week or once a month. I don’t feed any site that publishes more than once a day. For large sites I feed individual writers rather than the entire site.

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If there are influencers you would like to meet, this is one way to connect with them. One way to try finding relevant blogs is to use BuzzBundle. Don’t forget to add the best hashtags when you configure your Twitterfeeds. Find them using Hashtagify.me.


Several options

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How to Get Other Influencers to Share Your Content

In the early days of Twitter, influencers would feed each others’ content using Twitterfeed. We still do that today. But we also have great tools that make it easy to ask for our content to be shared. You don’t need to know any influencers at all for this to work for you. Join these three sites:

  • Viral Content Buzz

Viral Content Buzz (VCB) allows your content to be stumbled, pinned, tweeted and liked on Facebook. Earn credits by sharing other people’s content to use to promote your own. This video explains how to use it:

  • Just Retweet

Similar to VCB, Just Retweet provides a way for your content to be retweeted, liked, and +1ed on Google Plus. Share other content to earn credits to spend promoting your content.

  • Guest Crew

If you have a cause or event you want to promote or if you can tie your content into something like a national day, branded week, or awareness month, look into the new Social Campaign function on Guest Crew. This is similar to Thunderclap.

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☀ ☀ Additional Suggestions ☀ ☀

In addition to the sites and methods mentioned above, the best place to find influencers is in established Twitter chats. There are several sites that contain lists of Twitter chats, but the easiest way to find them is to start with one and ask. To join a Twitter chat, simply search for their hashtag on Twitter.

Tuesday nights at 8 CST Deborah Anderson hosts #SocialCafe. This particular Twitter chat happens on Twitter and then the chat continues, but on a Google Hangout. The Twitter portion runs from 8-8:30 CST. The Google Hangout begins when the chat ends. You can find out more about Deborah and her #SocialCafe Twitter Chat / Google Hangout in Interview with the Hangout Queen.

Who is the Hangout Queen? An interview with Deborah Anderson   5 comments

technology interviews insights

Q1. Who’s the Hangout Queen? Who is Deborah? I consider you a modern-day Renaissance woman so I figure I’ll start with a toughie!

Wow. That is a tough one to answer. Like I tell many people, “Deborah wears many hats.” I used to keep all of the different facets of Deborah separate, to prevent confusion, but these days, I pretty much combine all of the business, internet, social media, technology, video producer side of me into the “Deborah Anderson” profile and the musician, humanitarian, and even my psychology degree into the “Deborah E” profile. Fortunately, more and more people are learning that the two people really are one person with a lot of experience in many areas. The HangoutQueen idea came from the fact that my husband and I own a sound and video studio. The sound studio is where the “Deborah E Albumette” album was mastered in Los Angeles. My husband is also a trained, experienced, professional photographer, so adding the video studio, with all of the green screens, backdrops, lighting, etc. was a piece of cake for us. I was hosting and running and coaching at least three hangouts a week, back when many people hadn’t even heard of Google+ hangouts. I became the “go to” person, behind the scenes, for many people and decided to create the brand for training people who want to take their hangouts to “the next level.” Hence, HangoutQueen was born.

The Hangout Queen, Deborah Anderson

The Hangout Queen, Deborah Anderson

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Q2. Nice, but I know you gave the abridged answer of who you are and your talents. Anyhoo, it was cool meeting you in person in New York City at #AWXI. Would you tell the readers about your stint in New York?

My HangoutQueen training and coaching took off and was booming in 2013 and I decided to take that experience and contribute it to Internet Marketing Ninjas, in New York. My entire 2014 was spent there, in upstate New York. In fact, in a couple of the podcasts (and accompanying videos) of the iHeart Radio Marketing Momentum show, you can hear me talk about how much Internet Marketing Ninjas would benefit by having their own show, recording from Google Hangouts.

[Alex interrupts] And did they? Occasionally I’ll see Internet Marketing Ninjas’ G+ posts on my firehose feed, but other than that, I’m not super familiar with any of their experiments, such as YouTube or whatever.

I really thought that Jim Boykin, from Internet Marketing Ninjas, hired me to start what I had challenged him to do. I had suggested the “Internet Marketing Ninjas Show” on those two iHeart Radio MM episodes. I thought that was what caught his attention to hire me. Instead, there was a gap in project management at IMN and I started the Project Management Office for the ninjas and did not actually contribute my Hangout Queen skills to them at all. See what I mean about those many hats sometimes getting confusing?

[Alex interrupts] Yes, it’s always tricky for a multi-faceted person. There’s a saying that the greatest distance between two people is misunderstanding. Or something to that effect. I saw that on Instagram and I think it’s even “more true” for multi-talented people.
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Q3. So you know I’m familiar with most of the faces around G+. I’d love for you to talk about what’s different and what sets you apart, y’know, compared to other G+ experts.

The key things that set Michael (my husband and partner) apart from other experts is our sound experience and Michael’s lighting experience. One of the key things for our hangouts is the quality. We also started a trend of having set-up calls for all of our interviews and shows (and casual hangouts) by giving advice to the Hangout participants on what they could do to improve their sound and lighting quality. Michael has a gift of being able to find household tips to help our participants so they don’t need to go out and spend money. Of course, when our participants do ask for tips on what they could purchase, he is always ready with an answer that fits their budget. Obviously, for the hangouts that involve a come-as-you-are feel, where people just show up, the set-up portion is not always an option. However, even with those, we open our hangouts 15-30 minutes early and invite people to come in and get free advice from Michael, before we go live. I don’t think they realize what a value that is! But, that is okay, because it is about helping people and not tooting our own horn. This also helps people feel at ease as Michael also provides help on how to use the Google platform. He acts as the “answer man” during that time in what we call the “green room.” People have been so impressed by how we do this that they actually have been known to copy, verbatim, the verbiage on our green room page, to use for their own hangouts.

[Alex interrupts] And how did you feel about that?

Well, I contacted the person and asked her about it and she told me she assumed it was “fair game.” In a way, I was very flattered, but it also bothered me quite a bit because of the creativity and original ideas in that post. I get that copying saves time, and it tempts our weaker side, but bottom line, it’s still unethical and can hurt people. Anyway, it’s history. It’s just one of those things. I learned to be a bit more communicative about that type of thing and I also used it as an opportunity to demonstrate where imitation is a form of flattery.

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Q4. What challenges have you found, with being the “Hangout Queen”?

The biggest challenge I have found is that I am not technically a “bragger.” In other words, our quality for our products and services are actually so much higher than the web norm, that many people do not realize it, and because I do not go around bragging about it, it goes unnoticed. Those that have experienced it generally see that difference. As with all things, there are many experts out there and it is a “fake it until you make it” world in social media marketing. That isn’t necessarily all bad, either. However, for our brand, we really are the real thing.

[Alex interrupts] Well, considering your brand and the nature of video, it totally has to be the real thing.

True, true, but the authenticity discussion is beyond over-used, already. To me, we keep offering the quality and those who want to stop and smell the roses will see that; while those that are rushing through life too quickly will find what their minds are open to. Most of these people will choose the quick, but not necessarily quality route, and that is okay.

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Q5. Let’s talk about niches. I feel if I didn’t have my niches, I’d probably just bow out of social altogether. As saturated as social is, I guess a lack of niche could be one reason we see “Twitter quitters” and such. What advice could you give to people wanting to find their niche (or one of their niches)?

My advice is to stick with it. Find what makes you feel good about yourself. Even though it is not about you, it is still good to feel good about what you do. If basket-weaving is what makes you feel good, by all means, go do that! Then, find your little corner of the world, and if basket-weaving is something you want to share with others, share it!

 Thanks Deborah!

Tool review: Be as specific as possible when using BuzzBundle   2 comments

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Author: Phil Turner

If you’re looking for a way to check mentions of your company, your name, or of a group of keywords, then BuzzBundle is one way to do it.

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BuzzBundle review screenshot

Screenshot of a BuzzBundle search result: Click here to see it fullsize



What you can expect to pay

There is a free option on Buzz Bundle. It gives you 70% of “mentions for the first 15 days and 30% thereafter, but the 30% of “mentions” continues indefinitely. The paid option is $249 (Currently $199). This gives you 6 months of updates. You can still use it after 6 months, but you will not be able to add new keywords to search for. To extend the functionality you need to pay $49.95 every year. When you are skimming the sales page it is VERY easy to miss this regular payment requirement.
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Join in conversations
• Buzz Bundle allows you to join in conversations about your keywords on Twitter and other social media channels. It has its own browser that opens when you want to reply to someone. The browser is limited however. There is no zoom facility. This is important because every Buzz Bundle screen uses a VERY small font which is impossible to read on anything less than a 28” monitor.

Multiple social media accounts
• You can set up an unlimited number of social media accounts and use any of them to reply to comments.

If you’re looking for blog posts in your niche to

comment on, it will find one from each site.

You then need to go through the site searching for more relevant posts.

If you want to monitor your reputation, you can input your name, run a search and find everything that’s being said about you (and everyone else with that name). It works best if you refresh the searches at least daily. That way you can pick up new threads and posts quickly and reply if appropriate.

How good is it?

In a search for “Public Relations Press Industry” and “PR Press industry” Buzz Bundle found no mentions at all. When “Press industry”, “Press industry PR” and “Press industry public relations” were added to the keyword group the software did find mentions: 31 Blogs & forums, 2 social network threads and 19 video-sharing sites. On closer examination the two social network threads were not relevant. Only 7 of the blog posts were from 2014 and only 2 of those were relevant; neither relevant blog post accepted comments. None of the video-sharing sites were relevant.


A search for “Midlife” was much more productive though, pulling in recent blog posts, social media discussions, Q & A site threads and video shares. See the screenshot at the beginning of this review.

Closing thoughts about the best way to use BuzzBundle

Basically the GIGO (“garbage in – garbage out”) principle applies to this program. You have to be very particular about the words and phrases that you search for. There will always be some garbage, because the internet is full of it, but if there are some gems in the mix, you can put up with the worthless stuff.


About this guest author: Phil Turner uses his teaching skills from a career in the classroom to pass on his knowledge to others. Communicating is Phil’s passion. His objective is to pass on as much of his own knowledge to as many people as possible, in the hope that one or two will pass it on to people they know.

Phil is the webmaster of TimeMoneyProblem.com and MidlifeAnswers.com and applies his life experience in his writing on these two very different sites. Phil taught science and chemistry in St Helens near Liverpool in England for 28 years. He moved to Cork on the south coast of Ireland in 2003, worked for a security firm for six years and now earns a living online as a writer and editor. Phil’s core beliefs center around “The Five Currencies”. The 5 currencies are: time, knowledge, reputation, contacts and money. He works on the principle that he invests time to increase his knowledge. Phil’s knowledge leads to a growing reputation, which in turn leads to a growing contact list. Phil’s contacts often employ him, leading to earning money. “The Five Currencies” is the core belief behind TimeMoneyProblem.com. Every one of Phil’s paid gigs as a writer has come from it. Phil also holds that it is our scared duty to acquire knowledge and to pass it on to others so it is not lost forever. He has recently founded MidlifeAnswers.com to pass on his own knowledge of midlife issues.


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