View from the Internet in 1981

Here’s some interesting perspective with this 1981 news report about newspapers starting to experiment putting news stories on the Internet. We’ve come a long way . . .

The Net Neutrality Nightmare

With the recent court decision throwing out the FCC net neutrality rules, there’s a legitimate fear out there that the Internet as we know it could be destroyed by greedy telecom companies that creat a pay-to-play system that benefits large web companies and screws everyone else. The prospects for destroying innovation on the web seem real, and articles like this detail the potential threat.

On the other hand, some who have studied the decision see some positives as well.

The real issue will be whether in the future there will be viable Internet access options that permit the free-wheeling web we’ve known for years. These huge telecom companies have these rights under rules permitted by the government. It seems to me that there’s a huge opportunity for politicans to push for net neutrality and the notion of non-discrimination on the Internet. There’s also an opportunity for ISPs who will market neutral online packages.

Let’s see how this plays out.

New beginning for Dell

Dell is embarking on a new beginning, as Michael Dell was finally able to take the company private after a difficult fight with Carl Icahn. You can read about this process and Dell’s plans for the future in this article from Fortune.

With the commercial above, the newly private company is off to a good start, at least from a marketing point of view. It’s nostalgic but it also celebrates entrepreneurship, and it’s a fitting message for this company that was founded by Michael Dell in his dorm room.

Will brands ditch Facebook in 2014?

stacks of 100 bills

Facebook is playing games with your timeline. This has always been the case, as timelines don’t work like Twitter feeds where you see every Tweet in real time from the people you follow. But anyone who has created a Page on Facebook and built a follower base is now realizing that most followers no longer see their Page updates. Facebook is manipulating its algorithm so that only a small percentage of page updates are seen by followers. Then of course, they prompt you to pay Facebook so that more of your followers will see the update.

Facebook wants revenues, and in many ways that has resulted in Facebook finally jumping the shark for brands, bloggers and publishers. If you’ve spent time and money building your Facebook following, you have to be upset by this. What’s the point of taking the time to update a Facebook page if only a handful of followers will see it?

This article explains the dilemma for Facebook and cites this post from a blogger and author about her frustrations with Facebook.

We’ve experienced the same thing with our sites. We’ve methodically built a Facebook following the right way, doing it organically. But posts that were seen by 500 people are now only seen by less than 100 people. The bottom line is that Facebook will not be a source of online or mobile traffic unless you pay Facebook. Sorry, but as Mark Cuban explained, Facebook will no longer be the top social media priority for brands when there are other options out there that don’t limit which followers can see posts.

Facebook will still be important simply from a branding point of view. Brands have to have a Facebook presence these days due to the size of the network, as consumers will seek out a brand’s Facebook page sometimes in lieu of a brand’s website. So having a presence with excellent content and regular updates will still be important. But now it probably makes more sense to update a brand’s Facebook page only once or twice a week with excellent content that conveys the brand message as opposed to daily updates. Think of it as an organic billboard for the brand. But unless you’re willing to spend big dollars, you’re better off moving away from Facebook for specific promotions or as a way to drive consumers to your page. Brands can cuts costs by shifting away from Facebook and building Facebook followers towards services like Twitter where the efforts to drive engagement are rewarded.

These developments present an ominous problem for Facebook. We’ve clearly moved well beyond Mark Zuckerberg’s original vision of creating something “cool” that people will want to use. And that’s understandable as Facebook is now a public company and needs to drive revenues. Of course selling out was inevitable. But have they gone too far? The tradeoff between the user experience and the blatant push to get brands, publishers and bloggers to pay up so that users who “Liked” their pages can actually see updates has become obvious to everyone using the system, and the Facebook brand will suffer. When I post something to our accounts, and then see only a handful of our followers will see the post unless we pay up, I begin to resent the brand. Facebook becomes a typical, blood-sucking corporation as opposed to a cool service that lets users see updates from Pages they decided to follow. It’s now a racket.

In the short term, this strategy is working. Facebook’s revenues are booming as they have gamed the system they have created. But we’ve seen before that things can change quickly in today’s world as new technologies disrupt the status quo. Young people have already abondoned Facebook because that’s where their parents can monitor them. Sure, they’ll probably come back when they go off to college and want to keep in touch with friends. But Facebook is now alienating the entire blogosphere. Bloggers and publishers are already being squeezed by decling advertising revenues. They don’t have the budget to pay for visits, so they’ll move away from Facebook if there’s no benefit to building a follower base. Brands that do have budget will also see diminishing returns for building a follower base, so at some point they will shift their social media budgets.

It’s difficult to bet against Facebook, and this column has nothing to do with Facebook’s stock. It has to do with the company’s product, and the obvious fact that Facebook is manipulating its service to drive revenues as opposed to improving the user experience. At some point, this will probably catch up to them.

Hot Mobile Gaming Apps

Mobile gambling could well be the future of online gambling, whether you’re playing on an iPhone, Android, or other tablet or phone. Play anywhere, at any time, in a safe and secure environment at your convenience with great graphics and fluid games – no wonder millions of players are gambling via their smartphone.

We checked out a couple of hot mobile gaming apps for you:

Betway

Betway

About
Betway is fast becoming the casino of choice for many online gambling fans, largely due to a top-notch sportsbook. It’s available on mobiles, including of course Android and iPhone as well as Blackberry and other systems, meaning you can now play on the go.

Aesthetics and playability
The Microgaming-powered software looks great and is very slick in terms of usability and navigation on both Android and iPhone systems. The software is fully optimised for various operating systems to give users the best possible experience regardless of platform.
Should you run into problems, the customer support team are available via phone, live chat, and email – all just a button away when using your mobile or tablet.

Joining the games
The registration process is quick and easy if you’re not already a member. The minimum deposit is €20 and mobile users can get a 100% bonus up to €25 or £25 at the sportsbook, or a whopping €1,000/£1,000 at the casino when they join up. Debit/credit cards, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, and various other safe transaction methods are supported to give you peace of mind with regards to security.

The selection
Betway offers the usual wide selection of casino games – poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. – as well as Microgaming’s award-winning variety of slots games. The sportsbook offers a myriad of bets on a multitude of sports that’s sure to satisfy even the most hardcore fan with over 25 games supported and dozens of bets available.

Royal Vegas

royal-vegas

About
Royal Vegas is available for Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and Apple devices and offers more than 20 casino games and slots. While it has less variety than Betway and lacks a sportsbook, it’s a great-looking and smooth playing experience on both platforms.

Aesthetics and playability
Great graphics and Microgaming-powered software means you won’t be let down by the look and feel of this mobile casino. The games are smooth and fun, though the lack of variety is a negative point. However, what games there are all ensure a high-quality experience and all your casino favourites are there.

Joining the games
Simple to join and use, the software is more of an add-on to the online casino service. Mobile users do get an exclusive bonus of £30 when depositing £20 or more but this is less than the bonus available to users signing up through the casino. Like Betway, the Microgaming-powered software supports several secure deposit methods including Ukash and Click2Pay as well as debit/credit card deposits.

The selection
The weak point in this app is the lack of selection, though 21 of your favourite casino games including slots and baccarat are available.

With the number of mobile gambling apps continuing to increase, gamers are only going to see more and more great opportunities come their way.