Location-based social networking draws upon the power of GPS to enable users to share their location through their portable devices. Typically, communications stem from a mobile email or text message. Quite frequently, people use these tools to enhance their social lives, as they can not only read about new places to go but also track where their friends are at any given time. Many people use the functionality of location-based social media to spontaneously get together with friends and business colleagues.

The fast growth of webphone users has expedited the growth of location-based social media. People who have purchased these gadgets want to take full advantage of mobile phone apps that will assist them with their day-to-day life. People with web phones, of course, want information when they are in an unfamiliar location. Whether they seek the find the nearest coffee shop to a given location, or reviews of a restaurant, details “on the go” are always quite valuable. There is a clear power and allure to relevant, real-time information.

Another reason people have gravitated to these location-based social media tools is that they enable them to combine the real and virtual worlds. For example, Foursquare enables people to compete in a competition to win “badges” at a favorite club or restaurant. When you check into a location multiple times you can earn a badge or other recognition. Certain users can also earn the title of mayor. Many have gravitated to this network because they enjoy the added benefit of playing this game that is unique to Foursquare. Instead of posting something about what they did last night, they now have the opportunity to post about what they are doing right now – and see what others are doing in the same location.

Foursquare also allows users to add “tips” to various locations including recommendations or even random thoughts. When you are near a Foursquare location, you can read other people’s tips. This advice allows people to find new establishments that match their interests. Of the current, different location-based social media tools; Foursquare is among the most popular. In fact, according to an Inc. magazine article published July 8, 2010, Foursquare is adding 15,000 new users every day.

However, Foursquare is not without its competition, take Whrrl, for example. Whrrl is similar to Foursquare in that it offers reviews of various businesses including restaurants, stores, coffee shops, etc. Whrrl users can check out these reviews via their web phones. This content is very similar to what is typically seen on Yelp, except all of the relevant details are displayed on Google maps for easy navigation. Thus, Whrrl allows users to get details about different businesses simply by clicking on them.

Whrrl differentiates itself from Foursquare, however, by allowing users to add photos as well as text with notes. This functionality gives the user the ability to tell stories. Whrrl also offers users a degree of control over their privacy, as Whrrl lets users differentiate between friends and “trusted” friends. Another interesting aspect about Whrrl is that you earn points and rewards when other people save and complete your recommendations.

Can Affiliate Marketing Grow Into Non-Traditional Areas?

We’ve already seen how an upstart company like IStockphoto can change all the rules in a category such as stock photography. Now talented amateurs can compete alongside professionals in a business category that was once reserved for a relative handful of competitors. Now, thanks to IStock there are thousands of competitors in this category – mostly amateurs. The result was that the cost of stock photography dropped dramatically. Some photographers may argue that the quality has fallen as well, but it is not a winning argument. Stock photography will never return to the old paradigm.

The same could be said for digital printing. Customers are no longer limited to their local printers, electronic files can be sent anywhere. The cost of printing is now lower thanks to the expansion of competition.

Affiliate marketing has allowed amateurs to enter the domain of professional advertising agencies. When an individual signs up as an affiliate of a company, he places advertising online (at his own expense) for a company. If his advertising results in a sale, he gets a commission on the sale. In effect, the company gets free advertising and the individual gets commissions on the sale of products that he doesn’t own. To date, this type of advertising has been the province of second-tier companies like florists or golf products. Disney, however, is now testing this concept with their “movie club”.

I can’t help but believe that these challenging economic times might force more mainstream companies to consider the possible benefits of affiliate advertising. It’s hard to argue against free advertising when economic times are so challenging. If I’m right, we may see advertising agencies struggle against this new challenge. After all, how do you compete against free? The expansion of affiliate marketing seems to be inevitable in this bleak economy.

Don’t Forget Direct Marketing

Every time the economy turns sour, businesses always cut back on advertising. It’s understandable but counterproductive. You may have to make your budgets tighter, but you can be smarter with your decisions.

For example, we hear that everyone is cutting all media except for the Internet. Does that make sense? Are your current customers searching for you on the Web?

Your most valuable asset is your current customer base. If you had 30 seconds with a customer to convince them why they should keep buying your product instead of cutting back, what would that message be? It has to be strong, direct, and clear. Work on it till you get it right.

Marketing With Image Search

Thanks to Google’s Universal Search, there are a lot of new ways to appear at the top of search engines. One of these is Image Search. Google will be returning appropriate images to searchers is a “blended” results page. It’s another chance to get to the top of Google results in a very competitive field. Each returned image, of course, will link back to the site that supplies the image.

To help your chances of your images being found by Google, make sure that your image tags provide detailed information on what the image is about: 2009 Ford Mustang Image. Also, make sure that it is found next to relevant text about the 2009 Ford Mustang.

Of course, it helps if you are not competing in the consumer marketplace. For example, in some large, slow-moving, business-to-business categories, it is still possible to add an image that will be picked up by Google. Identify the image with the keyword that you want to target, “variable information printing image”. Long-tail keywords have the best chance to find a top image return in Google results.

Nearly 80% of electronic messages circulating in the world are sp@ms. Without any international legislation that would effectively fight sp@mmers, there is no reason for this percentage to drop. The only response, therefore, lies in the increasingly strict filters imposed by software and messaging servers. And this will have a concrete influence on the layout and content of the Newsletters.

The ITU ( International Telecommunications Union ) is trying to put in place legislative, technical, and educational solutions to fight against spam (sp@ms) on a global level, but the task is far from simple. In the United States, for example, spammers are more or less protected by an “antisp@m” (sic!) law of 2003 which, under the justification of free trade, leaves them practically a free hand to continue…

But the market is not going to wait for legislation to be put in place to adapt to this invasion of offers of Viagra, Rolex at unbeatable prices, financial investments not to be missed, not to mention the widow of the late president. of the Nigerian Oil Company which needs help to get its 120 billion dollars out of the country.

The adaptation of consumer behavior and the new antisp@m solutions will have a direct influence on the marketing possibilities that have been established in recent years around messages in HTML format (which include a layout and images).

First, more and more companies are configuring their anti-sp@m filters to no longer let through messages that contain links to images placed on external servers (potentially a link-activated by an employee can lead to a virus).

Second, the latest email client software (Thunderbird, Outlook, Eudora, etc.) is also configured to no longer automatically display images contained in messages. It will be up to the user to expressly activate this possibility for each new message. But how many people will bother?

In addition, to fight against ” phishing ” (which consists of luring users with a link that does not lead to the right site), certain software warns if a hidden link does not correspond to the address indicated in the message. This considerably reduces the confidence of users and therefore the click rate.

There are many reasons why a message would not be delivered or displayed. Between the antisp@m filters of access providers, the mail servers that are subscribed to the SpamCop blacklist, the installation by consumers of third-party software ( Norton AntiSpam, McAfee SpamKiller, etc.), and finally the filters messaging software which is becoming more and more strict.

Image Display

Filters that block images will force email marketers to increasingly favor that good old text format. The layouts will certainly be lighter to be able to integrate images that appear in the message as an attachment and are no longer posted on an external server. This makes it possible to guarantee correct display, even in messaging software that no longer displays them automatically.

It is always surprising to see that some mailings use images to display the most critical information (the title, the promotional offer, etc.). Not only are consumers not going to bother to click the “view images” button and never know what that great deal was on offer to them. In addition, a message that contains little real text compared to the images has a good chance of being identified as sp@m and never being delivered.

The lack of external images (and the absence of automatic display) will influence the ” reporting ” of message opening statistics. It is often an external image that is used to count the opening rate of messages when using an e-mail sending solution.

Link Display

The links that appear in the messages will also become elements to be taken into account. Email programs are beginning to incorporate so-called “ ScamWatch ” filters that warn the user if a destination link does not match the one displayed. It is, therefore, necessary to pay particular attention to the way of writing the links, because let us not forget that in most cases, the links lead first to the service provider’s server to be able to count the clicks before redirecting the visitor to the final page.

Solutions

Unfortunately, few online email marketing services incorporate these restrictions into the way they send messages. They continue to offer HTML-formatted post solutions that place images and links that pass through their servers. The effort was mainly put on the antisp@m control of the structure of the messages (textual contents) and on the negotiations with the main access providers to appear on the “white lists” (senders who are authorized to pass through filters).

They should start adapting their tools so that the solutions fit together around the client’s mail server and their web server. Using the company’s servers makes it possible to clearly sign the sender, correctly authenticate the message by antisp@m filters, and offer “trusted” links in the messages.

In a sea of ​​sp@m, the only way to get noticed is to use transparency to create trust. Recognition of the sender and the correct display of images and links become as essential in the success of a campaign as the