25 December 2012

Free Tool for Social Media Alerts Delivery


Working on your blog promotion campaign, working on college project, or just looking for the prompt information on the topic of interest, you may not limit your search efforts by standard search engines. There so much data exchange is performed through Social networks, that you may definitely find something useful there as well. The problem is in efficient filtering of the particular topic, company, or event from the enormous “background noise”.

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Social Mention will help you. It is a social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the web into a single stream of information. Social Mention monitors 80+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.

Based on the string you create, you will receive free daily email alerts of your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story, a competitor, or the latest on a celebrity. Basically, it looks like Google Alerts but for social media.


Note: Authors inform new visitors that option to create new alerts is temporary disabled, but will be back in about 1 week. OK, will come back later...


29 November 2012

Promote your Facebook Page for Free


Using social media platforms to promote your small business, your fan club, or your cause became very popular since it is a proven way to success in getting more visitors, more followers, and more customers eventually. Facebook is one of the best social marketing playfields, therefore it is not surprising that there are numerous online services, offering assistance in increasing your page visibility.

One of such services is Likethisfanpage.com. It is a site, where you can promote your Facebook fan pages, to gain more traffic, likes and visibility. Once your listing is posted on the site, within 24 hours, it is sent virally across the web, to high authority websites.

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All submissions are handled manually and viewed for approval, so it is not guaranteed that the page you are going to submit will be accepted. Free plan includes one fan page URL in one category with no reciprocal link required.

14 November 2012

Article Rewriter from Small SEO Tools


Bloggers know that any duplicate content is not welcome by Search Engines. Google algorithms severely punish the sites, where such content appears. The best approach would be definitely writing your own unique posts. However, for publishers, dealing with multiple blogs, that might not be a realistic option.

You can take an original article and re-right it, expression the idea n your own words. That might be easier than put your own ideas and facts, but still that requires substantial amount of time and good language skills.

There is however a solution for those who bring foreign posts and use one of the available on the market Articles Rewriters to modify the post the way that it will be not recognized by Search Engine as duplicate, but will be still properly readable by your visitors. You do respect your visitors, and you do not want that you post will look like automatic translation from Swahili through Google Translate.

Today, we will present one of such tools from Small SEO Tools Website. You copy the post and insert in the window. The online tool will process thorough scan through your content for words which will get replaced with a valid replacements. All words that are replaced with alternatives will be properly highlighted to give you an opportunity to see them right away and to make appropriate changes for better readability. So, you will be able to click on highlighted synonyms to return them to the original words or replace with better fitting alternatives.


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Developers added over 500,000 synonyms in the program vocabulary to boost the value of this articles spinner, with the aim of supplying the best words or phrases for the authors, helping to keep the healthy differences with the original text, passing successfully the plagiarism checker.

Here are some tips on how to use this tool effectively while not taking risks for negative implications from SEO algorithms:


  • Start with a high quality article. This implies a novel topic or viewpoint on a really specific subject. The posted information should be really valuable to your blog readers. If your source article quality is low, it is unreasonable to expect that after using article rewriter you will get an excellent content.  
  • Read through the modified post as a potential reader, and be sure to alter the words and expressions, which do not make sense, or complicate the understanding the material. If you don’t feel it reads well, click Rewrite once more for a brand new version. If none of the alternate words match, attempt to modify the initial word in order to trigger any new suggestions.
  • If you want to be extra-careful, you may run the final draft of the post through the Plagiarism Checker Tool just to verify it is good enough to pass the plagiarism assessments employed by search engines, before you publish on the online.
  • It is highly not recommended to overuse this tool by performing multiple modifications of the same article for your different blogs. It may be penalized by Search Engines and it does not add any perceived value to your visitors.


This post was written with the help of Article Rewriter, and then tested with Plagiarism tester. The results were quite encouraging.

The tool is free and does not require registration or sign-in.



29 October 2012

Jenetter – One of the Best Twitter Clients on the Web


While Janetter claims to be the best Twitter client on the Web, the statement would have be probably revise to the one that it is one of the best and one of the most flexible Twitter multi-platform clients available. The application came to public early this year and is developing fast to a good product based on the users’ recommendations.

There are multiple attractive features available, such as: multi-column view, support for multiple accounts, 27 different themes, customizable fonts and display formats, wallpaper, notifications, auto-complete, keyboard shortcuts and language translation. If you're using the Windows version you can even create your own themes in HTML.

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Official website: http://janetter.net/


11 September 2012

Free Uploader for Facebook from DVDVideoSoft



If you are occasional Facebook user, you may be fine with web opportunities and online interface to share your images and video files. However, if you consider this social network as your marketing platform, or you are constantly using Facebook, loading multiple videos and images on a daily basis and discussing them with your friends, the freeware, helping you make the process easier, would be useful.

The program is very simple in its usage, and does not require a learning curve. After getting through rapid installation process, you just open the program and browse for videos you want to upload to Facebook.

Note: You need to log in to your Facebook account in order to be able to upload media with Free Uploader for Facebook. The program will prompt you to log in and then will proceed to uploading. Within a couple of minutes the uploaded videos are available in your Facebook account.

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Select videos and images to upload to Facebook by clicking the add button. By default, the video name will be added to the title and description, but if you want you can change them before it gets uploaded to Facebook. You can customize parameters for each file separately.

Click the upload button and wait for several minutes. The uploading time depends on your video duration, image size and Internet connection speed.

Free Uploader for Facebook contains no spyware or adware. It's clearly free and absolutely safe to install and run.

Requirements: Windows XP Service Pack 2, Vista, 7 with .Net Framework 3.5 SP1





31 August 2012

BlogEngine.NET - open source blogging platform



While the most popular blogger platforms remain Wordpress and Blogger, there are much more on the market, trying to get their audience and create the substantial marketing niche with mixed results.

Today, we would like to present BlogEngine.NET - an innovative open source blogging platform developed with ASP.NET.

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Here's a short list of all the features of BlogEngine.NET platform:
  1. Plug ’n play. BlogEngine.NET is very easy to setup and customize. To make it work, just upload the files to an ASP.NET 4.0 web server and you’re ready to start writing. So, web server should support ASP.NET 2.0 and write permissions on the App_Data folder. No database configuration, just plug ‘n play. BlogEngine.NET uses XML to store all posts, pages etc. by default. If you prefer to use a database, a generic Database Blog Provider is included that will allow you to store data in most standard databases -- SQL Server, MySql, SQLite, VistaDB, etc.
  2. Full featured. BlogEngine.NET comes with all the features you would expect from a modern blog engine as well as new unique features such as AJAX comments and screenshot trackbacks.
  3. Web 2.0. BlogEngine.NET features social bookmarks, OpenSearch support, XFN tags, AJAX, FOAF, SIOC, APML, Gravatars, coComments, tag cloud, Google sitemap and other so called Web 2.0 features.
  4. Referrer stats. The referrer statistics enables you to see which websites link to you, so you can follow up with comments or just to have fun. This feature is a real time killer that you cannot live without.   
  5. Cool widgets. There is a variety of cool widgets that such as an AJAX post calendar or a blogroll that automatically retrieves the latest posts from each blog and displays the title beneath the blog. Most of the controls are configurable from the admin section.
  6. Advanced comment system. Comments are a very important part of a blog, so BlogEngine.NET features a very advanced commenting system in AJAX that supports country flags, live preview, Gravatars, coComments – all of which can easily be modified in the admin section.
  7. Full syndication suite. BlogEngine.NET supports syndication feeds in any possible location. You can find feeds on comments, categories, authors and a main feed. Both RSS 2.0 and ATOM 1.0 are fully supported.
  8. Trackbacks and pingbacks. All outgoing links from the posts is tracked- and pinged back, so your blog will get listed in the comments on the linked website if it supports it. When a new post is created, BlogEngine.NET automatically pings Technorati, Feedburner, Ping-o-Matic etc.
  9. Search. The search capability of BlogEngine.NET is one of the most advanced and it even allows the visitors to search in the comments. Everything about the search can be configured in the admin section.
  10. Standalone pages. Besides regular blog posts, BlogEngine.NET supports the creation of static pages that exist outside the blog chronology. Pages are useful for all kinds of information about you or your blog.
  11. Multi-author support. BlogEngine.NET fully supports multiple authors to write posts on the same blog. Visitors are then able to subscribe to the individual author’s RSS feed or view only the posts from their favorite author.
  12. Cool themes. BlogEngine.NET comes with some very cool themes for you to choose from. If you want to modify or create a new theme you can do so easily with just a basic understanding of HTML and CSS.
  13. XHTML compliance. All the controls in BlogEngine.NET are 100% XHTML 1.0 compliant. All posts you write automatically become compliant thanks to the tinyMCE text editor.
  14. Extendable. BlogEngine.NET is built from the ground up using nothing but C# and ASP.NET 4.0 all with simplicity in mind. It means that you can write new controls and themes by using the skills you already have as a .NET developer.

Developers’ website: http://www.dotnetblogengine.net/

Latest software downloading page: http://blogengine.codeplex.com/releases/view/87769

*****************
Update 12-30-13: BlogEngine.Net released beta of its latest version 2.9.

What is New:
* Completely redesigned admin UI based on Bootstrap framework.
* New standard theme, also Bootstrap based, with clean and beautiful design that is easy to extend and modify
* Improvements to theme layouts (separate single post and page templates, navigation template etc)
* New light-weight admin editor
* Admin UI uses AngularJS and SPA (single page application) techniques to talk to back-end
* Added some order to the chaos with ASP.NET Web API and Repository Pattern

Requirements:
* IIS 7 and up, integrated mode

* Full trust for website in IIS

02 August 2012

Creative Blogging with Jux


Jux is one of the new players on the free blogging marketing niche. It is characterized as a highly innovative content sharing online service. It is not a conventional blogging platform like Blogger, rather it is an advanced microblogging service, while offering multiple features, available on the conventional blogging platforms.

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By default, Jux templates don’t have the native sidebars and other widgets that are common to most blogs. Instead, Jux provides a clean and visually appealing approach to blogging. Simply create an account, and then start sharing your content.

Jux has excellent support for mobile devices, and is most suitable for the bloggers who lean more towards visual content, such as photos and artwork.

One of the best things about using Jux is that at this point it’s not only completely free to use, but also completely void of advertising. This truly allows the personality of a Juxer (the name developers are using for publishers) to shine through in the content of their blogs. These are huge benefits that the product has over competitors that either require integrated ads or payment to fully utilize their product.

Jux is extremely easy to use, already has a creative and engaged community behind it, and has the backing of a talented and dedicated development team. For anyone seeking to showcase their material in a streamlined, ad-free, easily navigable environment, Jux publishing platform is highly recommended.

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Visit, explore, and sign up: https://jux.com/



Sources and Additional Information:



18 July 2012

How to load animated GIF in Blogger?


One of the substantial limitations of the Blogger platform is lack of straight-forward opportunity to add animated GIF to the post. The problem is that the HTML image, generated automatically by default post editor of Blogger, displays a thumbnail and not the original file hosted. Therefore, that animation does not work.

There are several ways to get what you want by using third-party, which can store your image. We will review on how to use popular service Photobucket for these purposes.

So, you loaded the animated GIF to the Photobucket. What next?

As you probably know, when you post images, provider offers you several links to use for different types of images sharing.

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You also can get the same links without opening the image itself. When it is in the gallery of thumbnails, just pointing on the pic will call the same menu.

You would be mostly interested in the code posted in line three. Usually, I use it directly for static images, but in the test case, I need the animated image serve as a banner, pointing out on the advertised website. And if you do not modify the code, the image will be automatically linked to the Photobucket homepage, and not to the site I want it to. Also, the alt="some description" attribute describe Photobucket", so you may need to change it to alter description of your image.

You may copy the given code and modify it later, or you may create the code yourself, which may be even easier, using these instructions. The image code should be in the following format:


<img scr="photo URL" alt="some text" title="some text" /">


Replace 'photo URL' with the actual URL of the photo, which you can get by clicking in the second box (Direct Link). The attribute alt="some text" and title="some text", where you replace "some text" with something relevant to the photo, and are optional. You can definitely leave it as is. But it is highly recommended to add them as search engines spiders cannot read images, but can read what is written inside the alt="" and title="" attributes. Adding them will thus enable search engines spider your post better. Further, by adding the title="" attribute, when you hover your mouse cursor over the image, you will see a tool tip displaying the text you put between the quotation marks.

So, in my case, the link will look as following:

<img scr="http://i1009.photobucket.com/albums/af217/nesher9/Tanya_addiction-1.gif" alt="addiction treatment" title="BayAreaTherapyPro.com" /">


Now modify the embedding code and insert the link in the post.


Adding this animated GIF to the Blogger Layout is even easier (and that is what I was actually looking for). 


Add new gadget and chose Picture. In the link box, paste the destination site you want the GIF to direct to. Posting from my computer did not work, as I mentioned earlier, so I specified the same Photobucket URL through the “From the Web” option. In my case, I had to remove the Shrink to Fit checkmark as I needed the actual image size for the banner. You can see the practical implementation at the bottom of the page: http://smoking-tobacco.blogspot.com/


Sources and Additional Information:



08 July 2012

Free Electronic Business Cards from SavvyCard



If you consider your blogging as your primary or secondary business, you are definitely interested in promoting it through all possible means. Business cards are the traditional way to present your affiliation with your business, so creating your business card presenting you as the business owner may be essential.


However, times are changing. More and more businesses shift their accents toward online operations. Business Cards have not escaped the modern trends. Today, we are going to present business cards, which are going to be distributed electronically.

SavvyCards are online business cards that not only include your contact information (like regular business cards), but also offer a whole new level of functionality. You can think of SavvyCards as highly interactive "mini websites" through which you can market yourself in ways not previously possible with regular business cards. SavvyCards are indexed by search engines and can be found through online searches, particularly local ones.

SavvyCards are designed to work on any web-enabled device. In addition, SavvyCards are "intelligent" and know what type of device you are using, so they'll offer different options. For example, if you click on the "Call" button to call someone from their SavvyCard while using a laptop computer, the card will display the person's phone number so you can write it down, or use it for reference as you dial a phone. But, if you click on the same "Call" button while accessing their card on a Smartphone, the card will automatically dial that person's number for you instead.

First of all, the service is free, and you can create unlimited types and varieties of online business cards, which may be directed to different groups of customers, lines of business, language groups, and so on.

Once you sign up with SavvyCard and create your free account, you will gain access to the powerful online CardBuilder. Using the CardBuilder, you will create and publish your own SavvyCard.

The CardBuilder allows you to choose from a large selection of pre-generated artwork from which you can create your SavvyCard. The CardBuilder has libraries of backgrounds you can use and an easy-to-use tool for uploading and cropping your photo and company logo. You don't have to upload a photo or logo either, you can just use text for your company name instead, or you can choose to use other artwork in place of your photo (either upload your own, or use any images from the special library). You'll also have choices for text color and what font you want to use. When you are happy with the way your card looks, you just click a button and it's published to the web and is ready to use.

Once you've created and published your SavvyCard, the system will publish it to a URL that will be unique to your card. It is easy to get your information in front of people who need it, and to make it a lot easier to market yourself and network.

You can push your SavvyCard via email or text to other people, trade contact information with other people, provide immediate directions to your place of business, provide a write up of your company and services, provide your own biography or other relevant information about yourself, recommend other people and services, list links to other websites that are important to you and your business, link to your social pages on Twitter, Facebook and any other social network, link to other web information that your customers will find valuable, and much more.

In addition, people who receive your SavvyCard will be able to take notes on the "back" of your card, forward it through their social network pages to their networks of family, friends and business associates, email it or text it to other people, bookmark it, save it as an icon on their homepage (even on mobile devices), and much more!

Example

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You can check the card functionality. It is hosted at http://savvycard.net/bayareatherapypro/eng

There is an additional benefit for those, who need to improve ranking of the professional websites in major search engines. Such electronic business card allows to create link to the main site (in this case, it is http://www.bayareatherapypro.com. As you understand, more external links your site has, easier to make its way to the top listing in the related searches.

Note that you can even use your own domain for your online card. There are two ways to do that:
  1. Domain Forwarding. Domain Forwarding is essentially just pointing a domain name that you own to your SavvyCard.   So if you forward a domain that you own, say mycard.mobi to your SavvyCard, then when anyone types in mycard.mobi in their browser address bar, it will "forward" them to http://savvycard.net/yourcard.
  2. Domain Masking. Domain Masking takes forwarding one step further. When you "Mask" a domain name, it forwards the person to your SavvyCard, but keeps your domain name in the web address bar! Said a different way, say you own mycard.mobi, and you forward that to http://savvycard.net/yourcard with domain masking, then the person looking at your card will ALWAYS see mycard.mobi in the address bar.  It won't change to http://savvycard.net.  It will always stay mycard.mobi.

Like the idea? Give it a try! There is nothing to lose, and there is much to gain!

24 June 2012

Penzu – Your Personal Secure Online Journal


What is the main difference between personal blog and personal journal? The first which comes to mind is the reason for creating one. In general case, blog allows you to share your thoughts, views, and findings with group of people, while your journal most likely is just for yourself – to think in writing and to save your life events, considerations, and memories. Therefore, the main feature, journal should guarantee – an absolute privacy and security for the posts (unless you want to share them deliberately).

This is the aim of Penzu - to allow users creating an online journal which is as similar to writing in a paper-bound journal or diary as it can be. While Penzu doesn't offer free-form drawing, it is ideal for writing. And since it is online, there are many benefits to using Penzu rather than paper.

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Penzu combines privacy, ease of use, and the latest technologies to make for a seamless and unique journaling experience. There is no long sign-up process, no waiting to write your thoughts down. It is the next best thing to writing on paper with all the benefits of the web.

Your thoughts are yours, and keeping them on paper isn't safe! Anyone who finds your diary can read it. Your entries are only accessible through your password protected Penzu account. You can go even further and add another password to specific entries and 'lock' them. Sign up for a pro account, and get the ultimate security of encryption locking where each locked entry is encrypted using an 256-bit AES algorithm, the same one used by the United States Government. Your entries are so safe, that if you forget the password, they are gone forever! Read more about privacy here.

Keeping your journal with Penzu means it can never be stolen or lost. You don't have to worry about leaving your diary or journal behind, or someone stealing it from your hiding place. With Penzu your most precious memories are safe!

If you want to share just one page of your diary with someone you can as well. Share your entries via email to family and friends. If you want, you can remain anonymous and the recipient will not know it was you sending the message!

Similar to writing on paper, as you type an entry, it saves automatically! Your thoughts are saved as you go. Have a thought that you need to get out right away? You can start writing on the pad even without being logged in! And once you log in, your entry will be saved to your account.

If you find yourself constantly leafing through your journal to find a specific entry, your troubles end here. Penzu allows you to easily search your entries and then sort them by Name, Date Created, Size, Locked, or Shared. You can find past entries in seconds and even edit them if need be!

Free version of the service lacks some important features, like mobile access, or ability to keep multiple journals, however you can find the basic complementary version quite useful if you are not intending to use the extra features, available in the PRO (cost $19/year).



06 June 2012

AddInto - Generate your Social Bookmarking Button


AddInto is a free service for bloggers and website owners, allowing enhancing the process of letting site visitors to bookmark your page to social networks fast and easy. Instead of having a link to each of the popular social network, you have a single link or button to all of them.

So, while AddInto is helping visitors to share and bookmark your content, promoting it to the social networking services, it will also help you with massive traffic generation.

Main Features:

  • Easy to install
  • Supports Wordpress and Blogger integration
  • Highly customizable
  • More than 100 social services

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You can even see statistics on how your visitors use the widget. If you are using AddInto on pages that use Google Analytics, statistics are automatically saved.

To view statistics log into your Google Analytics account, then go to:
Content => Event Tracking => Categories => AddInto.com

Developer’s website: http://www.addinto.com


22 May 2012

BeFunky – Fast, Convenient, and Really Amazing Pictures Editing


Sometimes, you need to edit picture to illustrate your blog post fast, on the go. While there are many image editors on the web to fill the need, not all of them equally user-friendly, fast, and offer multiple options. The free service Befunky will satisfy the most demanding blogger.

The service offers so many editing capabilities, that it is hardly unlikely that you will need more than they have. Applying filters and artistic effects is easy and straightforward, and you can see the outcomes right away. If you do not like the effect, you can always roll back and start again.

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There is no need to register on the site to use the service, and as the product is ready you can
save it to your hard drive, share it, or print it.

What is important for mobile bloggers, the related Befunky applications are available for the iPhone and Android platforms, so you really can use them on the road.

11 May 2012

Free DigiXMAS Blog Pinger



DigiXMAS Blog Pinger is a very fast pinging tool that that pings your blog to hundreds of services within a minute. Using latest Microsoft .NET technology, the tool brings the beautiful user interface and the powerful multithreading technology to end users.


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The key features are:
- User friendly and easy-to-use user interface.
- Pings multiple blogs and website by one click.
- Supports both Ping and ExtendedPing protocols.
- Clear progress indicators for each blogs and ping servers.
- Centrally controlled, huge ping server list that updated regularly.
- Up to 50 concurrent connections that reduce your time to minimum.
- Support of connection via proxy.
- Free tool, but registration is required.

26 April 2012

SocialDon – Free, Easy to Use, Facebook Analytics Services


That is not surprise for you that Social Media should be considered as one of the most important channels you can use for your brand management and promotion. And Facebook is a definite leader in the social media marketplace. Careful arrangement of the marketing campaigns on Facebook requires professional tracking on the results of your actions. SocialDon is a free service to help you with Facebook Analytics, Statistics, and Monitoring.

Let’s review main features of the proposed services.

Dashboard

See what interactions and activities your brand page fans participate in. Analyze the engagement value that each page creates; from the number of your fans to the quality and frequency of their participation.


The following Stats can be provided:
  • Total Fans: Number of fans who 'like' the page.
  • Fan Data: Fan trends (increase/decrease) based on 7 and 30 days.
  • Interactions On Admin Post: Number of fans interacting with the admin posts.
  • Interactions On User Post: Number of fans interacting with the other user posts.
  • Avg. Interactions Per Post: How much a fan is interacting with an admin/user post on average.

Fans


Evaluate and understand the trends and behavioral patterns.

As per your required duration and interval, you can get the following stats:
  • Total Fans: Number of fans who 'like' the page.
  • Fan Data: Fan trends (increase/decrease) based on 7 and 30 days.
  • Fans Distribution: Number of fans allocated to the selected page(s).
  • Fans Growth Rate: Percentage of growth in fans.
  • Fans Change Per Weekday: Fluctuation in fans per the day of the week.

Interactions

Evaluate and understand the trends and behavioral patterns.

As per your required duration and interval, you can get the following stats:
  • Admin Posts: Number of likes and comments on admin posts.
  • User Posts: Number of likes and comments on user posts.
  • Admin Interaction Rate: Percentage of interactions on admin posts.
  • User Interaction Rate: Percentage of interactions on user posts.
  • Admin Interactions Table: Number and percentage of likes and comments versus post made by admin.
  • User Interactions Table: Number and percentage of likes and comments versus post made by users.

Pages/Groups

Archive your brand data, and group the various industries for easy data access and comparison.

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10 April 2012

What to Do if you’re Prospective Employer Asks for Facebook Login?


You need this job badly, and you want to be the best candidate for the position. If so, you will try to please your potential manager and other interviewers, who have a decision making power. However, how far you are ready to go in the process of collaboration?

Recently there have been several reports in the press about job candidates being asked for their Facebook login password by prospective employers. Before they began asking for log in information flat out, employers have long researched the backgrounds of potential job candidates by conducting simple searches for public information on internet search engines.  Social Intelligence Corporation, for example, specializes in “credit checks” of job applicants’ social media activity by combing the internet and gathering publicly shared information for an employer’s review. A 2010 survey done by Microsoft Research revealed that 70% of employers have ruled out applicants based on public information they found online.

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Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. Becoming aware of these practices, social media users started heightening their privacy settings, excluding access to their private information, posts, photos, and other details to the public.  Therefore, to get legal access to this information, employer still needs for the perspective employee’ login data.

Some companies do not ask directly for passwords, but may try other ways to get behind the locked profiles such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers even have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.

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Facebook, which often finds itself the subject of attack regarding privacy concerns, has sided with users on this issue, proclaiming that users shouldn’t be forced to share private information and communications just to get a job.”  Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, states that such requests are a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and that the requests could even lead to legal liability on the part of the employer.

Profiles provide a plethora of personal information such as age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. All these details are protected by federal employment law, which prohibits employers from asking questions about them during an interview. Allowing employers access to one’s Facebook profile therefore allows them access to information otherwise prohibited from consideration. It is this exposure to protected information that Facebook warns may make employers vulnerable to litigation. For example, if an employer discovered that an applicant was a member of a protected group and refused to hire that employee for those reasons, the employer may be subject to discrimination claims.

Additionally, the practice may violate federal statutes relating to unauthorized access to computers and electronically stored information. The Stored Communications Act (SCA) and the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) “prohibit intentional access to electronic information without authorization, and prohibit intentional access to a computer, without authorization, to obtain information,” respectively.  Congress has now become involved to ensure that requesting Facebook credentials does not violate these Acts.  Although applicants would appear to be providing their log in information “voluntarily,” Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal have questioned whether the practice is unduly coercive and therefore considered unauthorized access.  The two senators are calling for investigations by the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and plan to file a bill that would fill in any gaps not covered by current law.

State governments are also taking action. California Democratic Sen. Leland Yee introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants and current employees for their social media log in information. The state bill would also prohibit employers’ from requiring access to social media content, thereby barring requests for printouts of that content.

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While it is nice to know that Facebook and Senators on your side, you still need this job! While the legal prosecution for this unethical practice has not been introduced yet, what should you do if you are asked for access to private information?

Attorney Vincent Antoniello at the Resnick Law Group suggests that you "just say no." He adds "you don’t want to work there anyway." You certainly can politely decline to provide that information and hope you are selected anyway. Employers, of course, have the right to choose someone else, which is the likely outcome if you do not handle your unwillingness to provide that information tactfully.

Most career experts suggest that, instead of simply refusing to provide your Facebook password, you offer other ways to obtain the legitimate information that the employer might be seeking. For example, Ms. Calo suggests that you ask "if there’s anything specific that you would be looking for if you were to search my Facebook account? I would welcome the opportunity to have an open discussion now about any reservations you might have for hiring me based on those criteria."

Jeremy Goldman, AVP Interactive at iluminage Inc., cautions not to "appear to be obstructionist or that you’re hiding anything." He suggests that you "offer to show your prospective employer the ‘public view’ of your profile" and explain how you use Facebook to share "specific information with specific groups of contacts, demonstrating that you’re savvier about Facebook usage than most, and as such can be a benefit to the new company." You might add that your Facebook password is the same one you use for your bank accounts and credit cards and disclosing it exposes you to the risk that it accidentally gets into the wrong hands.

Duncan Ferguson, managing director of leadership development at HR Consulting firm BPI Group, also suggests offering them an alternative source of relevant information such as your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook-linked professional profiles on Branchout or BeKnown. He notes "LinkedIn has become so integral to the recruiting process that most hiring managers would find that answer acceptable."

Management consultant Sally Mounts, president of Auctus Consulting Group, suggests that, after noting your concerns about privacy, indicate willingness to compromise. For example, you could say "If you tell me that I am the prime candidate for this position, I would be willing to reconsider my stand." This puts "the onus back on the interviewer, who should never have made the request to begin with" and it avoids "giving out private information unless there is a real benefit" to doing so.

If an interviewer insists that you provide your Facebook password, you need to really consider whether this is a company where you want to work. As Ferguson notes, "Every interaction with a company during the interview process is a window to the company culture. Asking for Facebook passwords should raise at least a yellow flag that trust might not be part of their culture."
Always bear in mind that what you put up on the internet, no matter how much you attempt to keep it private, may become public, say, by way of a friend.

Some of you will say “I have nothing to hide anyway”. I can say the same – I do not keep any dangerous pictures or posts in my social media accounts. But… it is just wrong. Think twice if you want to spend most of your daily life in the environment where this unhealthy practice flourishes.

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Sources and Additional Information:

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Update 04-11-12: Today, the Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation prohibiting employers in the state from asking current and prospective employees for their user names and passwords to websites such as Facebook and Twitter.


01 April 2012

Google in 2012: Blogger’s Perspectives


I don’t know about other bloggers, but I personally have mixed feelings on my blogging success in 2012. It goes in waves. At some point of your blogging carrier, you see that your certain steps lead to the foreseen results, and you feel proud that you know some rules of the game. But soon you realize that it does not work as expected… As you play the game, and you learnt the rules. But suddenly somebody is changing the rules, and you start learning again, what is important, and what is not.

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Definitely, there are basic rules, which never change. Like, good original content is always better than bad copied content from other site. But still…

Today, I would like to offer you another blogger insight. The guest post on Daily Blog Tips is presented by Dipendra Pokharel (http://www.meronagar.com/)

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Google: like it or not, you can’t live without it. This is true for everyday people, and for webmasters and bloggers even more. In this post I’ll talk about some changes I noticed in the search engine in 2012.

This year I made 3 new blogs on WordPress. All three were top level domains while they were on different niche. The niches were productivity, games and careers.

I built an almost equal amount of backlinks for the first two sites, which means I spend equal time promoting them. As for content updates, one of the sites was updated more frequently than the others.

On the third site I didn’t spend much time building links, and instead I focused on social media promotion, including Google +, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I was both building a profile for my site and getting mentions from other people.

The result was interesting, as I found that search traffic on the site that was promoted via social media was higher if compared to my other two blogs. What I found using Google Webmaster Tools was that my blog had many +1 on search results, and this was improving my search rankings. In other words, the +1 widget and Google+ mentions can really help your site these days.

Another thing I learned in 2012 was that effective link building is much more about relevancy now. You may build links from any source you want, but only the relevant ones will actually have a value on your search rankings.

Many people also say that getting links from bad websites may cause you to get penalized by Google, but I am not so sure about this. Obviously I don’t recommend, but I don’t think you need to worry so much. If Google would have penalized the one that has links from bad sites, I would start building links from bad neighbor to my competitor’s site. This would break the model.

Conclusion

Backlinks and content still represent the backbone of any SEO strategy, but I think we are starting to see some niche changes. First of all social media is being take more in consideration by search engines, so make sure your content can be easily shared. Second, +1s and shares on Google+ are particularly useful, so don’t neglect that.

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