Faculty Focus released some interesting findings from a survey about Twitter usage and trends among college faculty. They surveyed about 2,000 faculty members and found that about a third of the respondents say they use Twitter. Over half say they have never used Twitter at all.
“One of the more interesting findings from the survey is the high percentage of faculty who use Twitter, even if they’re still experimenting with the best ways to incorporate it into their courses,” says Mary Bart, content manager for Faculty Focus. “What also became quite apparent was how strongly Twitterers and non-Twitterers feel about the technology.”
Participants were asked if they use Twitter, and depending upon how they responded, they were asked a unique set of follow-up questions. Here are some key findings from the survey:
- 21.9 percent of respondents say they are “familiar” or “very familiar” with Twitter.
- Of those who use Twitter, 21 percent say they “frequently” use it to collaborate with colleagues; 15.6 percent do so “occasionally.”
- Of those who use Twitter, 7.2 percent “frequently” use it as a learning tool in the classroom; 9.4 percent do so “occasionally.”
- 71.8 percent of current Twitterers expect their usage to increase this school year.
- 20.6 percent of current non-Twitter users say there is a “50/50 chance” they will use Twitter as a learning tool in the classroom in the next two years.
- 12.9 percent of respondents say they tried Twitter, but stopped using it because it took too much time, they did not find it valuable, or a combination of reasons.
It is worth noting that the majority (55.9%) of participants are actually professors or instructors, while about a fourth were academic leaders, such as department chairs and deans. 16% fell into the “other” category, which includes faculty development, academic advisement, instructional design, marketing, admissions, assessment, and library services.
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The FTC recently announced guidelines for bloggers that requires that they disclose financial interests, freebies and paid reviews. This decision is seen as a shot across the bow of pay per post networks and bloggers who are monetizing through affiliate programs. The FTC has decided that compensation is the reason bloggers choose to write about a particular topic and that readers deserve to be informed about the financial relationship. The FTC logic is simple, “As much as those bloggers who receive these gifts would like to claim this isn’t the case, freebies like free laptops, trips, or gift cards are likely to influence a writer’s opinion of a product.”
On its face, the policy is defensible. As crusaders against Virtual Blight, we applaud the intent of this decision. Anything that raises the barrier to online scams, fraud and abuse even a little bit is a good thing. The FTC provides guidelines for responsible bloggers and theoretically eliminates a couple of the perks for bloggers, but it does virtually nothing to protect against fraud.
Going after bloggers’ compensation to fight online fraud is reminiscent of the RIAA attacks on individual file sharers and is just as likely to succeed. The absurdity of the power and inertia of a government bureaucracy combating individual bloggers is only matched by the ludicrous assumption the government could ever move fast enough to keep up with professional scammers who jump from domain to domain, host to host and country to country with a few mouse clicks. Prosecution could only be effective against mainstream bloggers with an established brand that are stationary targets, but these bloggers are not the right target.
Getting a proverbial free lunch in exchange for a presumably positive review may create the appearance that some bloggers are shills who lend their prestige and celebrity to their sponsors. That perception is not unreasonable, but the same charge could be made against almost every athlete, actor, musician or American Idol runner-up who profits from our celebrity culture.
Giving items to celebrities or other tastemakers in return for public exposure is a practice older than the printing press. If the FTC really wants to send a message about compensated endorsements and freebies, the answer is not to go after the mommy bloggers who get a free 42-pack of diapers. If the FTC were serious, they would begin arresting every actress wearing a designer gown to the Academy Awards and then round up the studio and network executives who rake in cash for product placements in movies and television shows.
Focus On Fraud
The statistics for online fraud are both staggering and predictable. Instead of being distracted by the sizzling, sensational charges of payola that re-appear every generation, the industry needs to focus on the billions of dollars of online fraud committed each year. According to the Center for American Progress, Internet-related consumer complaints are among the top ten in consumer complaints in 2008 and the number one complaint in four states. These complaints run from auction fraud and non-delivery of ecommerce items to reverse billing scams.
By any definition, the perpetrators of online fraud are not bloggers. If a review constitutes fraud because the reviewer was provided a free product or had some undisclosed relationship with the company who produced the product, then every journalist with a 401k full of mutual funds needs to hire a good lawyer. Indeed, if bloggers are guilty of anything it is tabloid journalism — writing low quality content with sensational headlines designed to attract visitors to their site in order to collect advertising revenue. This may not live up to the highest journalistic standards, but the only crimes are against facts and the English language.
Criminals are the people and companies who create pyramid schemes, networks of spam blogs to sell diet products like Hoodia and Acai Berry cleanse, Google money trees and the myriad so called “free” offers that create recurring charges on your cell phone or credit card.
Criminals are the people who target kids’ sites to distribute Trojans, spyware and adware that infects our computers and tricks people into buying phony anti-virus products. Most of us have either experienced malware nightmares ourselves or heard a friend’s sad story. When online fraud is so prevalent, predatory and destructive, why are government resources being committed to pursue advertorial content?
Ad Networks Are the Key
The biggest thing these criminals have in common is that they perpetrate their scams by buying advertising through ad networks. These networks have achieved the scale that makes it efficient for legitimate advertisers to reach millions of consumers and that makes them an ideal vector for scams, abuse and deception.
In an unregulated auction-based advertising market place, fraudulent offers can often pay the highest bids for keywords. In FTC Going After Bloggers – Epic Fail, Aaron observes that ad networks that syndicate ads based on “maximizing yield efficiency“ are well suited to syndicate fraud. Advertisers of scams can afford to pay top dollar for ads because their profit margins are nearly 100%.
Ad networks are morally responsible as collaborators in interstate and international frauds perpetrated upon hundreds of thousands of victims each year. Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and many others are far more culpable in consumers being defrauded than any blogger or network of bloggers.
In False and Deceptive Pay-Per-Click Ads, Harvard’s Ben Edelman estimated that as much as 70% of the revenue generated by some online scams actually wind up in the hands of the search engines. He estimated in 2006 that Google and Yahoo were making over $200,000 a month from advertisements for screensaver software which contained spyware. As of July 15, 2009, the top paid search results on Google for “screensaver” contain “add-on features” which include spyware, change your default browser settings, ad toolbars and otherwise aim to monetize by deceiving users. Adding insult to injury, Edelman observes that many of these adware tools monetize by sending traffic through AdSense and DoubleClick, making Google a silent partner for adware companies like WhenU and Smiley Central.
Fight the Problems that Be
Scams and fraud not only harm the consumer, they foster the perception that the internet is not a safe place, hindering the growth of online business and delaying the transfer of marketing dollars from old media. Instead of waiting for government agencies to step in and create regulations aimed at yesterday’s scams, as an industry we need to become proactive and develop a cooperative framework for mutual self-defense, a neighborhood watch designed to keep consumers safer while helping law enforcement focus resources on the most serious trouble makers.
The war on online fraud is going to be a huge struggle and one we are unlikely to ever declare victory. The issues are complex, but the industry could significantly reduce the problem by creating a transparent mechanism to collect user feedback about advertisers. Search engines and ad networks are quick to endorse behavioral targeting and social recommendations to boost earning per exposure. For some mysterious reason, they have not applied these innovations to getting user feedback about advertisers.
If the Internet is the cesspool that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google says it is, one way to start cleaning it up would be to create a public reputation system for advertisers. This would simultaneously reward honest companies while helping consumers protect themselves against the bad guys. eBay created public reputations for buyers and sellers many years ago. Why are advertisers free to operate without scrutiny?
It seems straightforward to build an advertiser rating system to share relevant statistics and user feedback. Why not provide the tenure of the advertiser, normalized click volume, the percentage of users giving feedback and a ratio of clicks to complaints along with a link to detailed reviews that could surface fraud, misleading advertising and scams? If comparison shopping engines can do it, why can’t ad networks?
We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we see the problem and its sources. Government agencies need to ask the ad networks why they accept money for promoting fraud. Ad networks need to grow up and behave like responsible businesses.
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009
We have seen an insane amount of blogging software on the market today. This seems to be a well established ”automated” process to start your turnkey blogging business. If you want to learn the basics to blogging at an affordable price read through below. Good Luck, R.W.Casandra
Blog and Ping Uncovered by Joseph Tierney,
I get tons of emails everyday asking me:
1. What exactly is blog and ping and how will it help my websites?
2. What programs do I use?
3. How often do I post to my blogs?
4. How often do I ping my blogs?
5. Does blog and ping STILL work?
6. What is better – Blogger blogs or my own blogs on my server?
7. What content do you post to your blogs along with the links?
8. Do you recommend any content generator to use with my sites?
9. Where can I find a bigger ping list?
10. Where do I recommend to hire Indians for Blogger blog creation and other outsourcing?
11. Did I make the majority of my money from Blogger blogs with Adsense or using Blogger blogs to
index my Adsense websites?
So, without further ado (fluff)… What exactly is blog and ping and how will it help my websites?
The simplest way to put it is with a step-by-step example:
1. Collect links from your website(s) that have not yet been indexed by the search engines.
2. Post those links to your blogs.
3. Ping your blog.
4. When your blog is pinged, search engine spiders come running to it, and in turn follow the links that you
posted to the blog.
5. Now the spiders will start to crawl your un-indexed website and start to index it at record speed.
So the whole blog and ping process will help your websites because they are most likely not receiving any
traffic unless they are in the search engines. If you blog and ping them you can get them indexed in record
time, which will in turn start to send you traffic.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
What programs do I use?
I actually use my own programs to blog and ping that I offer for free for everyone, you can check them out.
The first program is GrabLinks. All you have to do is enter your sitemap URL into the program and a list of
links from your website will automatically be saved to a file for you, which saves a heck of a lot of time.
The second program is BlogPoster which can post to Blogger and Wordpress blogs. All you have to do is
enter your blogs’ usernames, passwords, and URLs into a text file and use the links file that you created with
GrabLinks. Now all of your links will be randomly posted to your blogs.
The last program is BlogPinger. For BlogPinger all you have to do is enter a list of your ping services into one
file (it comes with 25 ping services already), and a list of the URLs to your blogs. Now all you have to do is
enter the interval for pinging the blogs and click start. All of the blogs will now be pinged to the ping services
at whatever interval you set.
How often do I post to my blogs?
I post to every one of my blogs every 720 minutes if they are on my own server and post 10 links at a time.
However, if I am posting to Blogger blogs I post 10-100 links at a time and I post every 720-1440 minutes (12
hours, 24 hours). Why do I post at these intervals with those drastic different number of links?
The reason is the blogs on my own server I control. They can never be deleted and I will be okay posting only
10 links at a time because they WILL always be there, gaining PageRank and trust, never being deleted.
However, Blogger blogs DO get deleted and they DO get “CAPTCHA ‘d”. This means that you can no longer
post to them automatically, you must enter a special image code for EVERY SINGLE POST.
So, for each post that is why I post more than just 10 links at a time. If I was only posting 10 links at a time
and I got CAPTCHA’d right after that post it would basically be a waste of a blog. If I am posting 100 links at a
time that is equal to 10 posts, do you understand the logic behind it?
You might think that because Blogger blogs have this issue that they would be a complete waste of time, well
they aren’t. I will explain why they are actually BETTER than using your own blogs on your own server later
How often do I ping my blogs?
I ping my blogs every 720 minutes, which is every 12 hours.
Why do I ping at such a long delay?
I don’t want the ping services to ban my IP address, which means that I wouldn’t be able to ping them AT ALL
anymore. This would completely ruin the blog and ping process.
However, there are some people that ping every hour or 2 hours. This is not needed and will only ruin the
blog and ping process in the future by flooding the ping services with pings.
Does blog and ping STILL work?
Blog and ping definitely still works even though “guru’s” will say that it doesn’t. I have been using this
technique since August 2005 even though they said it was dead then too.
However, the process does have it’s ups and downs. One month blog and ping will work extremely well and
fast, the other it will still work – just not as fast as the month before, then back to normal the next month.
So if you see that your sites aren’t getting indexed as well as they were before, do not worry. Things like this
fluctuate with the search engines.
What is better – Blogger blogs or my own blogs on my server?
The answer to this is simple – Blogger blogs.
You might ask me, how on earth could Blogger blogs be better than hosting blogs on my own server when
they are getting deleted or CAPTCHA’d and I have to make more of them every day?
Well, the reason is because Blogger blogs get your websites indexed EXTREMELY fast and MORE pages
overall. You can be posting your website links to blogs on your own server and pinging them, but you won’t
see any real effect for 2-3 weeks+.
With Blogger blogs you can have your website start to get indexed in 2 days. That is why there is a huge
benefit to using them. The only problem is that you HAVE TO create them everyday. And by everyday, I
mean EVERYDAY unless you want to see bad results.
Creating a new account, logging in, creating new blogs by hand, and changing the correct settings for each
one will take FOREVER. I have created a program called BloggerGenerator that helps create the blogs
extremely fast compared to by hand. Buy your own copy of BloggerGenerator here.
What content do you post to your blogs along with the links?
I do NOT post any content besides the links to my sites. That is right – nothing, just plain HTML links to my
websites. Why do I do this? There is absolutely no point in gathering data from some search engine based on your keyword to post along with your links to that your blog looks more “real”.
Any real person can still see that your blog is made only to get your websites indexed. I’ve said it once and I
will say it again: “It is like throwing crap on top of more crap.”
Gathering content to post along with your links is just a waste of time. Time is money, and money is the
whole reason you are trying to get your websites indexed.
Do you recommend any content generator to use with my sites?
I only recommend using ONE content generator and that is RSSGM (Really Simple Site Creator Modified). I
use this myself personally even though in the past I have used DSG (Dynamic Site Creator), also free.
Why did I stop using DSG and now only use RSSGM?
Because DSG has a problem with it’s MySQL queries (they aren’t optimized) and I couldn’t get enough of the
scripts installed on my servers. The MySQL queries that it currently uses slowed down my server and caused
it to crash at random times – at least this is what happened to me on 3 different servers.
With RSSGM I can install up to 3000 copies of it on one server, plus the script is free! What do you have to
lose, check it out at:
Where can I find a bigger ping list?
This is one thing that can make or break your blogging and pinging process…the bigger/better your ping list is
the more exposure your blog will get, you can find an ever-updating list on some of the forums. Here is the
one that I recommend:
Where do I recommend to outsource Blogger blog creation?
The only place that I have used to find Indians to make my blogs for me was http://www.getafreelancer.com,
this is the only place that I recommend.
Did I make the majority of my money from Blogger blogs with
Adsense or using Blogger blogs to index my Adsense websites?
I made the majority of my money off of using Blogger blogs to get my Adsense websites indexed. The money
lasts for a longer term than if you were just creating Blogger blogs with your Adsense code on it, because
Blogger can delete your blogs at any time. However, this is not to say that there is no money in creating
Blogger blogs with Adsense on them.
BE CREATIVE, don’t just create a blank template with your Adsense code on it (which is also a violation of
TOS). Make a decent looking template that will get you a nice CTR. You can also create the template around
high-paying keywords to make your CPM go up.