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Dear readers,

This is the last issue of 2006. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a great holiday season and to thank you for your continuing loyalty.

2007 will be a very exciting year as Web Marketing continues to follow the Web2.0 trend and your visitors become an increasingly important factor in improving your online visibility. If you make it easy for your visitors to spread the word about your website, blog, or products, your visibility will improve.




As you know our social promotion service, AddThis.com, can greatly help you with this task. In fact, AddThis itself uses the AddThis button to increase its own visibility, and it works (see our blog post AddThis Del.icio.us-ly Popular). By simply putting the AddThis button on your website or blog (we support MySpace too), you will help your visitors promote you and create a buzz, which will send traffic back to you. It's that simple, it's called Social Media Optimization.

Don't have an AddThis bookmarking button yet?
Get your frŽe button now, and start building that buzz!

Have a very social year 2007!

The AddThe / AddThis team

Web Marketing 2.0

Posted on December 13, 2006

By Kim Roach

If you're like me, then you are probably tired of hearing the word Web 2.0 passed around the net like a buzz word on steroids. Google alone currently shows 126,000,000 results for the search term “web 2.0″ at the time of this writing.

However, although this term may be overblown, it does have significant influence on the current changes taking place on the Internet. Most importantly, it has many implications for the online marketer.

Wikipedia has defined social search as the following:

“Social searching is the latest innovation in the search engine industry. Sprouting from web2.0 concepts like folksonomy or social bookmarking it gives the user the ability to interact with the search engine and promote what they feel are the relevant results. This is a user based approach website relevancy as opposed to the traditional webmaster based approach”

We are currently seeing a multitude of social search engines exploding onto the Internet’s virtual landscape. Sites like Digg, del.icio.us, and MySpace are attracting millions of users.


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The users search experience is being taken to an entirely new level through the “collective intelligence” of millions of individual editorial decisions.

The Internet has always strived to give power to its users. Social search develops upon this cultural bedrock.

Algorithmic search engines have essentially reached their peak. These automated software-based crawlers and indexing systems can never deliver excellent results on a consistent basis. This is due to the crowds of people who are constantly trying to beat the system.

Social search, on the other hand, provides a human editorial factor that cannot be obtained by traditional search engines. By using the wisdom of crowds, people are able to access more customized and targeted information.

A great example of this can be seen at Yahoo Answers. According to Comscore, this site has become the second most popular Internet reference site after Wikipedia. Why has this site been such a success? Because it capitalizes on the wisdom of crowds.

Anyone can ask a question on Yahoo Answers and have a crowd of millions of users available to answer their question. This technique allows users to receive multiple perspectives rather than the often irrelevant links that can be found using a traditional search engine.

In fact, many of the major search engines are putting forth an effort to get involved in the social search arena.

Yahoo in particular is betting heavily on social search. Yahoo bought photo-sharing site Flickr along with del.icio.us. Then, they also purchased WebJay, a site for creating and sharing music playlists. Yahoo is hoping to change the way people find information online by tapping into the collective knowledge of crowds.

Google has also bought a couple of social-networking sites, including Orkut and Dodgeball. However, they have done far less than Yahoo in terms of online community building. It makes one wonder whether or not this technology is a fad or a way of searching that is here to stay. If social search does become a proven technology, then it seems that Yahoo will have quite an advantage based on the fact that they have jumped into the game far earlier than Google.

Microsoft has also made plans within the social search arena. They have just recently unveiled a question-and-answer (http://www.live.com/?scope=qna) social search tool as part of Windows Live.

Microsoft research shows that generic search engines can’t answer 50% of queries asked. However, with a system like Yahoo and Google Answers, you can almost always find an answer among a user base of millions.

Today’s search giants must increase their social-search efforts to keep up with the new developments that are occuring. Social networks pose a potential threat to the well-established search engines like Google and Yahoo. Sites like MySpace and Digg are quickly increasing their market share.

What This Means for the Internet Marketer

Social search is definitely something you should keep in mind when planning your marketing activities. However, it should only be a piece of the marketing puzzle, combined with search engine optimization, article marketing, blogging, etc.

Having said that, here are some of the Web 2.0 hot spots that you will want to be involved in.

Collaborative Directories

http://www.prefound.com
http://www.zimbo.com
http://www.wikipedia.com
http://www.stumbleupon.com
http://www.kaboodle.com

Create Your Own Profile Pages at:

Squidoo.com Windows Live Spaces (http://spaces.live.com/)
Yahoo 360 (http://360.yahoo.com/
Google Personalized (http://www.google.com/ig)
MySpace.com

Social Networks:

Social networking sites are all about connections. After all, the Web has and always will be a social space. According to Wikipedia, the first social networking service was Sixdegrees.com, created in 1997. Since that time, these social hangouts have exploded, allowing you to meet and network with hundreds of like-minded individuals.

Social networking sites allow you to make connections all around the Internet. These acquaintances may turn into business partners, joint ventures, or just great friends. Either way, you don’t want to be left out of the loop.

To get some additional insight into social networking, I talked to Dina Giolitto of http://www.wordfeeder.com. She is one of the first people I have seen to offer Web 2.0 marketing (http://www.wordfeeder.com/s ervices.htm#web_20) to her clients, helping web sites to get noticed on all of the web 2.0 hotspots, including squidoo.com, the Ryze Business Network, Digg, Technorati, and more.

Here is some of her insight into social networking:

“Web 2.0 will get you networking, learning, link swapping and forging alliances with millions of website owners and future customers. Join as many groups as you have time for, but then choose one or two where you see an opportunity to really get to know people on a deeper level (professionally), and then participate regularly in those places.

For me, the Ryze Business Network at http://Ryze.com was the perfect initiation into the ways of the Web. To start, post on other people’s networks. When you feel confident enough, start your own network. It’s great way to become schooled in internet marketing, attract complementary business owners who share your work ethic, goals and ideals, and establish authority in your niche - all at the same time!”

If you haven’t gotten involved in a social community yet, now is a great time to do so.

To find a group that’s right for you, check out the following list of social networking sites:

http://en.wiki pedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_web sites

Social Bookmarking:

From the beginning, the Internet has put the power into the hands of its users. Social bookmarking continues this attempt of democracy. Social bookmarking sites are composed of a community of users who submit, categorize, and rank their favorite web sites. In this system, the popularity of any individual submission is based upon the communities opinion rather than an algorithmic ranking like that of Google.

By simply submitting fresh, unique content to these sites, you can gain your website some additional exposure. To try it out for yourself, check out this list of 120 social bookmarkings sites:

http://noahfleming.com/private/?p=37

Audio 2.0

Discover, share and submit podcasts using the following directory list:

http://www.po dcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Directory.html

Video 2.0

Create, discover, search, share and store your videos at

http://w ww.econsultant.com/web2/videos-hosting-sharing-searching -services.html

News 2.0

Citizen Journalism has exploded in the past couple of years. This phenomenon is similar to that of open source software. None of us can put together the type of quality that can be brought out of our collective wisdom. You can discover, read, and even share your own news stories at the following sites.

http://www.targetyournews.com
http://blogniscient.com
http://backfence.com/home/i ndex.cfm?mycomm=BE
http://www.gabbr.com
http://n.ewradio.co.uk/
http://newsalloy.com
http://newsgarbage.com
http://newsvine.com
http://nowpublic.com
http://nulltag.com
http://reddit.com
http://rojo.com
http://shoutwire.com
http://stockdigg.com
http://tailrank.com
http://www.techtagg.com/
http://italknews.com

Content 2.0

Web 2.0 has transformed the publishing platforms that are available today. Because of this, there are now many more outlets for your articles and your valuable resource box. Listed below are some resources that will help you to further syndicate your content.

http://www.comagz.com/
http://www.zimbio.com
http://www.wikipedia.com
http://www.squidoo.com

(The lenses being created on Squidoo are getting traffic, credibility, and even showing up in top Google results. You can use a lens to increase the number of authoritative inbound links to your site, position yourself as an industry expert, announce the latest news within your niche, or promote your very own radio show.)

Social Q&A Sites:

Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/)
Google Answers (http://answers.google.com/answers/ )
http://www.answerbag.com
http://www.wondir.com

The key to being successful in the social realm of the web is to create unique and valuable content that people will want to link to. Then, once you have valuable content that is worth sharing, share by tagging, pinging, and sharing your bookmarks on all of the major bookmarking services.

However, don’t forget that you are part of a community and you are there to provide value to that community. This means that you should share other web sites as well.

This will make your involvement in the community much more valuable and people will respect your submissions. If you are only sharing and book marking your own web sites, your reputation will fall drastically.

At this point it’s hard to tell which social search engines will emerge as being the top performers. That’s why it is important to get your content in as many web 2.0 locations as possible.

Although social search technology is certainly fun to play with and offers some new and interesting ways to search the web. It still has a ways to go before anyone would become dependent upon these alternative search engines.

Their growth, just like traditional search engines, will take time. The future of social search depends greatly upon how fast the general online audience adopts it. As with all community sites, the benefits grow with the size and activity of the group.

Social search is unlikely to overcome the traditional search functionality of algorithmic search. However, it will be a great supplement to both organic and paid search and will provide users with additional insight that larger search engines cannot offer.

The ideal search solution would be to combine traditional search, social search and human editorial input. This would allow users to experience the power of human mediated search with the comprehensiveness of algorithmic search.


About the Author

Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews & SEO-News newsletters. You can also find additional tips and news on webmaster and SEO topics by Kim at the SiteProNews blog (blog.sitepronews.com/). Kim’s email is: kim @ seo-news.com

 

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