Affiliate Marketing & Affiliate Links

There is a lot to dislike when it comes to affiliate marketing and the idea that influencers and bloggers promote products and services for the money instead of for the benefit of the readers.

That said, here are services that I really use and like.

There is a lot to dislike when it comes to affiliate marketing and the idea that influencers and bloggers promote products and services for the money instead of for the benefit of the readers.

That said, here are services that I really use and like.


This post was proofread by Grammarly





Drive more traffic to your online store using performance based marketing.



Jim Caruso Quotes in

Jim Caruso Quotes in

This post first appeared on, click for the original

Below, you will find a number of articles from Forbes Agency Council member, Jim Caruso, available on

Damage Control: 12 Ways To Create An Action Plan For A PR Crisis

Jul 31, 2019, 01:15pm

5. Arm Your Spokesperson(s) With The Facts

Crisis training requires spokespersons to be certain of the facts before commenting on what happened. This does not mean that the spokesperson cannot be sympathetic to any anguish or suffering, but until the facts are clear about responsibility, it is critical to state that the organization seeks the facts. – Jim CarusoM1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

11 Inventive Ways Agencies Can Use AI To Improve Productivity

Jun 28, 2019, 08:15am

7. Improve Writing

Grammarly is a simple writing tool that can correct errors when you are writing in your favorite word processing software. You can sign in to Grammarly and paste a document into the tool to quickly find and fix issues that word processors do not uncover. The Grammarly tool also offers checks on writing tone and the consistency of your writing tone.

– Jim Caruso, MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

12 Tips For Spreading The Word When Your Company Receives Kudos

May 17, 2019, 08:15am

1. Create A Press Release

A press release is ongoing proof of your company receiving recognition from customers and the industry. Press releases are distributed widely because of national (or international) syndication. You can keep this proof on your website. In addition, your company is free to post the award as news in your social media stream. All the award coverage is solid social proof.

– Jim Caruso, MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

Is Your Business’ Website Traffic Declining? Here Are 14 Tips To Diagnose The Drop

May 16, 2019, 01:15pm

6. Check For Outdated Terminology

First, review your site’s text for the latest terminology. An example is “marketing” versus “sales enablement.” Second, review how prospective customers find or don’t find your site. Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) is one approach. An example is a Web search for “marketing agency” versus “sales enablement agency.” As industry buzzwords change, so will your page rank.

– Jim Caruso, MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

Keep Your Business’ Social Media Presence Fresh With These 13 Tips

May 15, 2019, 01:15pm

3. Blend Original Content With A Curated Stream of Industry News

Researching a calendar of social media posts is the first step. Have your editor blend sources onto an editorial calendar document. The sources could be news outlets and articles your staff read, such as industry trends (don’t include competitors). Blend your press release and blog post content with the curated news to provide the most value to your audience and avoid just talking about yourself.

– Jim Caruso, MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

Seven Ways Companies Can Improve Their Outreach In 2019

Feb 13, 2019, 07:30am

4. Engage Consistently

Find an agency that understands your space and has a record of success, and then team with them to achieve your objectives. Don’t stop and fully commit your staff and spokespersons. Engage consistently with your audiences across marketing channels — think omnichannel.


– Jim Caruso, M1PR

Video & Text Transcripts from SXSW

Here are transcripts of my videos from SXSW (a few years ago). There are several short videos, so I put them all on one page with the transcripts.

Need reasons to go the SXSW; here you go:

  • Connections with speakers and doers across disciplines
  • Cross-pollination of ideas and technologies
  • Authentic use of social media, including new apps
  • Celebrity sightings and connections
  • New apps launching with demos, trials, and active use
  • Trade Show for visibility, sales, and hiring

Make Great Connections

Jim Caruso here at South by Southwest. One of the great things about South by Southwest, or “South By” as it’s known, is that you meet all kinds of people. So you make connections locally, they connect you to regional states near you. I happen to be out of Atlanta; I met a bunch of guys from the Carolinas and Florida, but also it helps you to make connections on the West Coast. These can be great connections for partnership, for subcontracting to or from, the ability to form a company. There are all kinds of entrepreneurs launching companies here. It gets you close up and personal feeling for everything that’s being launched in the tech space in the social media space. I recommend South by Southwest (SXSW), give it a look.

Why I Like SXSW, Cross-Pollination of Technology, and Design

Jim Caruso for Media First again, broadcasting from South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, 2011. Lots of very interesting sessions. The thing that I like about South by Southwest is the cross-pollination, is what I call it. So you have front and web designers, and you have all kinds of programmers. You have marketing people of every flavor. PR, social media, and the really … I guess you could call it an emergent discipline, but it’s actually a very well-founded discipline of content strategy. So content for the web. So all these different sessions you can go to. So you can go to design one day, a mobile session the next day, and a content strategy the next day. Or hour by hour as you choose. South by Southwest. I highly recommended it.

SXSW for Authentic Social Media

Jim Caruso, South by Southwest, 2011. Why did I first come to Southby or South by Southwest, Southby, as it’s known? I came because I wanted to see its social media in action. So, if you want to see social media, this is the place to see it. Twitter was launched here, Foursquare, the Foursquare Gowalla battles with all the other location-based services is happening here on the ground by heavy users who are giving use cases, and accelerating adoption, and being examples for users all over the country. So this is a great place to launch a service, but it’s a great place to authentically take a look at what’s going on in launches, existing services, how it works, how people are implementing it.

You should take a look at South by Southwest as an event to attend if you’re interested in learning about social media on the ground.

Celebrities in the Mix, Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Walking by me just a second ago was Bill Nye the Science Guy. Wow, that’s just an example of the kind of celebrity that you might find just walking the halls here at South by Southwest, walking the convention floor, walking through the halls in the sessions, attending, presenting, hanging out after hours at all the events that are given by many sponsors–official and otherwise. Take a look. Bye.

Launching Right Here, Right Now

So here we are broadcasting. This is Jim Caruso with MediaFirst PR – Atlanta. broadcasting from South by Southwest (SXSW). So the big thing this year is private chat groups by companies such as ChatMe, Social Fast, and others that are providing a private space to do chat and interaction. You can tell your friends what bar you’re at. You can tell your friends what conference session you’re at. It’s a good way to get in touch. So that’s the latest thing from South by.

Turner Booth for Hiring Skillsets

Jim Caruso at Southwest Southwest. This is just a great example behind me. This is the Turner Broadcasting booth. They have the initiative to hire great talent. In the 15,000 or more attendees here at Southwest Southwest 2011, Turner is able to find great talent, present themselves and show what they’ve got going on on the web. See all the great brands and properties that they’re promoting and see how they connect to prospective employees for the skillsets that they’re looking for.

Take a look at Southwest Southwest. I recommend it.

Influencing “Winning Attitude”

How To Influence A “Winning Attitude” In Your Team

Influence Players Without Creating Undue Pressure

Author: Jim Caruso

NOTE: I wrote this a long time ago when I was coaching youth and adult soccer. It still applies.

Developing a “Winning Attitude” demands the inner strength to overcome the single most limiting factor of attaining your goals – yourself.  The limiting factor results from habits of your mind – how you perceive and react to a particular situation.  The challenge to the elite athlete and their coach is to develop the attitudes (mental toughness) that creates a competitive performance.  Attitudes are habits of the mind–and all top athletes must learn to develop a winning attitude.

Coaches empower players by giving them the knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits that players require for success.  Creating high, performance levels requires a cumulative process of setting and attaining goals.  This cycle of successes is motivating and feeds on itself, positively.  The coach guides players towards preparation to win.  Winning Attitude is a matter of personal maturity and reflects characteristics, such as goal orientation, self-direction, problem-solving, social learning (help from peers), creating a foundation of experience, making the “winning attitude” relevant, and creating the motivation (desire for change–dissatisfaction with the current state of play).

    • What Is Winning Attitude?  A desire to perform at the highest level.
    • Individual Winning Attitude: desire & daily commitment to do what it takes to win.
  • Team Winning Attitude: desire & the habits that prepare the team to achieve success.

According to a survey reported in the Journal of the American Psychological Association, Shari Young Kuchenbecker of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in a survey of 658 coaches of males and females ages 3 to 22 who participated in 43 sports, including soccer.  Kuchenbecker found that these coaches overwhelmingly selected psychological characteristics.  Among the top ten were: “loves to play” (43 percent), “positive attitude” (32.7 percent), “coachable” (29.8 percent), “self-motivated” (27.4 percent), “team player” (25.7 percent), “strives to improve” (21.1 percent), “dedicated” (20.8 percent), “gives best effort always” (18.5 percent), “good sportsmanship” (16.3 percent) and “encourages/praises others” (14.6 percent).

Effective motivation is a lifestyle. Motivated people live a lifestyle where they are motivated to achieve excellence in everything they do.  Coaching for a Winning Attitude requires helping players want the athleticism that powers elite performance and the psychological desire to win.

Fun – Playing With Joy

Youth sports must be fun and skill development is a critical component of fun – skill development is more important than winning – even among the best athletes.  The most rewarding challenges of sports are those that lead to self-knowledge.  Self-knowledge is the intrinsic reward that is the result of self-competition and that is more important in creating lifetime athletes than extrinsic rewards, such as victory or the attention of others.

Many sports psychology studies show that at peak athletic performance, athletes report being with the flow (or –in the zone) as a result of confidence and enthusiasm for the job at hand.


If you play with the objective of performing at your personal best, rather than worry about winning or losing, you can be pleased with your result and less anxious about the game.  Nothing gives an athlete confidence like knowing they have done everything they possibly could have done to their best of their ability in training and preparation.  As you practice, so will you play.  So for the coach and athlete, we must create an environment within which players are motivated to put forth their best effort and acquire the skills they need to solve the problems of the game.

Undue Pressure?

Pressure comes from not doing what was should have been done. My friend and Nigerian Olympic Coach calls this, “playing to instruction.” Doing what your coach asked you to do.

Avoiding undue pressure involves focusing on the right factors–whether the quality of play was up to the realistically high goals of player and coach–as easily recognized and acknowledged by the player.

A focus on winning and losing, rather than playing as well as possible, leads to poor performance, muscle tightness, anxiety, and nervousness.  Undue pressure includes being intimidated by unrealistically high goals.

In her survey, Kuchenbecker also found that coaches cited the two top damaging forces to developing young athletes as criticism and pressure.  The question needs to be “How did you play?” rather than “Did you win?”.


a) “Mental Toughness Training For Sports,” James E. Loehr

b) “Sporting Body, Sporting Mind,” John Syer & Christopher Connolly

c) “Training Soccer Champions,” Anson Dorrance

d) Youth Sports Survey from the Journal of the American Psychological Association, by Shari Young Kuchenbecker of Loyola Marymount University

e) United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “Y” (Youth License) course materials

Video Conferencing Applications

Video Conferencing, Screen Sharing, Video Chat, and Online Presentation applications

Screen Sharing Apps, Video Chat Apps, and Online Presentation apps

I don’t like apps that let another person take over your computer; this is an information security (infosec) issue. Therefore, I don’t do LogMeIn or remote desktop applications. If you really force me to, I have allowed this on a spare machine with me watching the process and then wipe the disk clean and reinstall the OS).

These enable collaboration needs by allowing calls via audio or video call. Some have tools for presentations, screen sharing, or drawing on a virtual whiteboard. These are considered conference calling and web meeting apps.

Here is my latest list of applications for video conferencing:

Amazon Chime

Clearly, with Amazon’s lead in cloud computing with Amazon Web Services, the existence of AWS-powered applications is a given.

I like this because it is lightweight; it does not require a download and code on your machine to run. This makes your computer more secure.


Around is a new video call and video conferencing app. It claims AI for camera framing and AI to eliminate background noise. It has auto-mute for background distractions, claims no echo, and handles up to 15 connections (calls) right now. It integrates with Slack to permit launching from inside Slack. I found this on Product Hunt.


BlueJeans is a conferencing app that offers video calls, screen-sharing, and live streaming. It does not require you to install any app to join; you can connect from a web browser. I was on a call recently where a vendor used BlueJeans for what ended up being a voice call and I was satisfied with voice quality and connection.

Cisco Webex Meetings

Cisco Webex Meetings is video conferencing software with a collaborative whiteboard while seeing everyone’s faces in the video call.

Google Hangouts

Hangouts is a great part of Google’s GSuite business applications that begin with GMail. Your GSuite administrator can turn on or off the ability to create a Hangout automatically when you create a meeting invite with Google Calendar within GSuite.

GoToMeeting is part of LogMeIn

I have to admit that I do not like apps that require a software download to run. In addition, this company makes LogMeIn which can take control of your computer for remote support, but I see this as an information security issue.

Houseparty | Face to Face Social Network

Houseparty was recommended by friends that used it to connect with other friends remotely

Ironically, my friend ended up in a photo while on Houseparty that showed up in this article at the Washington Post:


This is another lightweight app that makes it easy to log in with a link or just the name of the presenter (or company). However, it is also part of the  LogMeIn family of conferencing products but appears to have less of a security issue for the conference viewer/participant.

Lucid Meetings

Lucid Meetings offers a platform plus training and consulting to encourage better results (outcomes)/

RingCentral Meetings

Hundreds can be on a call at once. It includes screen sharing and a whiteboard with annotation tools.


Slack (now has built-in screen sharing)


Starleaf has web conferencing, audio and video calls, and team chat that is like group text.


Wow, with half the planet at home because of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), mentions of Zoom have taken off. Zoom has screen sharing and prefers that you download software. Now It does run in a web browser, but I’m not sure you can initiate the conference from a browser. I’ve joined from a browser and been limited in what I can do, such as use a background image. Canva, an online design tool, has a number of free, funny and serious, background images for use with Zoom.

More Guidance on Video Conferencing Apps

One of my favorite sources on app advice is the Zapier blog:

Zapier Blog: Blog Home The 12 Best Video Conferencing Apps for Teams

Another source of video conferencing software, especially new offerings, is Product Hunt.

The Krisp App mutes background noise on a call or video conference using software downloaded to your machine. Right now it only supports Apple Mac OS X. This is a helper app for your voice or video call application from any developer.


Check Web Performance to Protect Your Brand

When I do a preliminary check of a potential ally or client I have a quick procedure that includes web performance, online content, and social media engagement. This starts with speed.


Crafting website we host; performance optimized with the right plugin mix.


How Are You or Your Company Performing On the Web & Social Media?

When I do a preliminary check of a potential ally or client I have a quick procedure that includes evaluating their online performance (especially the website), online content, and social media engagement.


Press: What press coverage have you received? How many press releases have you issued over the last year? How did you promote your news? Was this news truly newsworthy? Who are your spokespersons and if your CEO is one is the CEO active on social networks (even if they use a ghostwriter)?

Content: do you regularly create and post new content, such as blog posts, bylined articles, white papers, and web pages?

Awards: are you actively winning awards for you or your clients?

Speaking: do you have regular speaking engagements, especially if attending conferences offering speaking opportunities?

Industry Analysts: do you have a relationship with an analyst, are you getting good advice and accurate reviews, and are you leveraging that relationship with webinars or requesting an occasional quote that you might use in a press release?


For any business, website speed (load time or response time) is a critical metric. From my experience using and selling computers for engineering design, you cannot overstate the value of rapid response time. Users tune-out and turn-off when forced to wait.

My favorite way to test this is a free test from the knowledgeable team at GT Metrix.

GT Metrix website performance test

The GT Metrix tool combines the capabilities of other great web performance analysis tools including Yahoo! Why Slow, now open source at and Google PageSpeed Insights. For mobile evaluation, removes your local connection as an input, giving you a better answer. Pantheon used these two in a recent presentation a.) a worldwide Ping test from and which offer a nice waterfall assessment.


The second test is for website content from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. There are many vendors offering analyses. I happen to like and use SEM Rush. SEM stands for search engine marketing.

SEM Rush insights into organic search, display ads, paid search, and backlinks

Qualitative assessment: at some point, I need to read the website, social media posts, social media engagements, and get an idea of total market reach. Factors include:

Organic search traffic from excellent content (pages, blogs, and press releases)

User friendliness of the website, starting with speed, but including usefulness (utility for the “job to be done”) or if you prefer, serving the users (functionality and content for personas).


There are hundreds of social networks in just English that are active at any time. So, which are important? For B2B companies, LinkedIn is probably the most important. We have gotten leads for clients over many years from good content posted on the LinkedIn profiles of key spokespersons or within LinkedIn Groups with the right industry.

There are analysis tools for each of these, but for a point in time, the best evaluation is to look for their pages, posts, and interactions on each of the social networks. Do the company and spokesperson have a following? What content are they posting? Do they create events? Are spokespersons and staff represented? Is there interaction and active response? Is the tone of questions or discussions positive?

What content do they post? Is content only about them or do they feature customers, partners, industry analysts, and non-competitive issue and industry commentary from the top magazines and bloggers? In other words, are they following the industry and providing a useful commentary to their followers?

LinkedIn counts, but LinkedIn Groups are also important. Look around at all the presence the company may have. A company has a page. Employees have pages that are complete or not. Brands may create additional subject-related pages. Spokespersons and staff may create, join and be active in LinkedIn Groups. How does this company participate?

Facebook is the monster of consumer online social networks and increasingly business. Again, how does this company spark and participate in conversations on Facebook?

Twitter: maybe only 15-20% of your audience cares about Twitter, but those really care. What value does this company provide to its audience?

Google+ not visible, but may still add value for Google searches. Post here for good luck on Google.

YouTube – yes, video. Everyone knows TouTube is huge and video has a value to certain users for certain types of information. Whether video or audio, I recommend providing a text transcript for both usability and SEO.

Foursquare/Swarm. Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snap, Quora, Reddit, Untappd, etc. all have audiences and may provide engagement for image and video content (product images, demos, etc.) You need to understand the audience to know if these social networks matter to them and for you.


If you have a question, call me at 770.642.2080 x218.


GT Metrix Report on a WordPress site we host with a number of optimizing plugins running.



Breweries In Vermont & New York

I met friends of mine at Tupper Lake in New York in 2018, so I collected a list of local breweries and brewpubs.

Breweries Tupper Lake, NY

I’m supposed to meet I met friends at Tupper Lake in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York next this year (2018), so I collected a list of local breweries and brewpubs.

The main (hero) image is the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. NY.  Photo from a path at the Wild Center (Tupper Lake).

The Bobcat Cafe & Brewery: On my way to Tupper Lake via Burlington, VT I happened upon the Bobcat Cafe & Brewery in Bristol, VT. This is an authentic local pub with great food, a full bar, and a range of nice beers. I only wish I wasn’t driving and could have stayed a while.

Please comment and add to the list. Thanks.

Adirondack Brewery is at 33 Canada St, Lake George, NY 12845. They serve food.

Big Slide Brewery

in Lake Placid

Big Slide Brewery & Public House – see Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, below. This is near the ski jump at the former Lake Placid Olympics location, where there is still a US Olympic Committee training facility nearby. This was my second home, even though I was staying around Tupper Lake. I visited a few times, including with friends, to eat and get some beer to-go. The food was great as was the service, both at the bar and seated at a table. They have an outdoor patio that is dog-friendly.

Big Slide Brewing

Big Tupper Brewing

17 Cliff Ave
Tupper Lake, New York 12986

Big Tupper Brewing

Comfortable spot with a bar, food, tables, and outdoor space.

Big Tupper Brewing, Brewery, Tupper Lake, NY  Source: jimcaruso

Blue Line Brewery is a brewpub at 555 Lake Flower Ave, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. They highlight their location in the Adirondack Mountains, which is home to 30,000 miles of rivers and 2,800 lakes and ponds according to Wikipedia. Blue Line has a second location at 43 Maple St, Potsdam, NY 13676.

Coopers Cave Ale Company is at 2 Sagamore St, Glens Falls, NY 12801. They serve food and, during the summer, ice cream.
Davidson Brothers Brewing Company is at 184 Glen St, Glens Falls, NY 12801. They have a restaurant and feature a number of musical performers and bands.

Fulton Chain Craft Brewery makes its beer with New York State hops and mostly NY grains. Find them at 127 North St, Old Forge, NY 13420.

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery is at 813 Mirror Lake Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946. The domain name is the name of their most famous beer, Ubu Ale (so, They have a second Lake Placid location named Big Slide Brewery & Public House at 5686 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946.


Raquette River Brewing

11 Balsam St #2
Tupper Lake, New York 12986

Raquette River Brewing

Raquette seems on the edge of town with a nice, but small taproom, some outdoor space and when I was there in the summer of 2018 they were building a big drinking hall. They have two food trucks on site all the time, too. There is a fire pit and the place hosts live music.

Leave Your Comment, Please

I see some folks from my Untappd list visit these NY breweries. So, please leave a comment if you know of these place or can recommend others within an hour of Tupper Lake or on the way to Tupper from Burlington, VT. Thanks!

Notes: Other nearby places to check out in the future:

Lake Placid Brewery (

Tupper Lake Taverns & Breweries

1911 Spirits

Black Button Distilling

Heron Hill Winery

Life of Reilley

Rachel’s Raquette Lake Elixir

Smoke Signals


Breweries Near Burlington, VT

Alchemist Beer

Brewery & Visitors Center in Stowe, VT

Fiddlehead Brewing

6305 Shelburne Rd Shelburne, VT 05482

Harpoon Brewery, Vermont location

Hill Farmstead Brewery, Vermont


Activities in New York around Tupper Lake, Saranac, and Lake Placid

Franklin County Fair NY, August 3-12, 2018

Full Schedule

High Falls Gorge is about 52 minutes from Tupper Lake.

Red Top Inn Boat Rentals

on Tupper Lake – 10hp to 25hp Aluminum Boat Rentals

New York State FIshing Guide document (PDF)

New York State Fishing License

Bog River Falls


There are breweries in Utica that would be interesting, but they are too far from Tupper Lake unless they are on your drive to Tupper.



Wild Center, Tupper Lake, NY

Rapidly Growing List of Georgia Breweries

Finally, after decades of limited brewpubs, few craft beers, and no independent brewers in Georgia, the laws were changed and that opened what seem to be the floodgates of indy breweries. Here is my lst.

This blog post is a work in progress and has been updated twice, so far. I hope to find and add new breweries as they open. Three new breweries opened recently near Roswell (where I live): From The Earth Brewing Company, Pontoon, and Variant Brewing Company.

Finally, after decades of limited brewpubs, few craft beers, and no independent brewers in Georgia, the laws were changed and that opened what seem to be the floodgates of indy breweries. Here is my list.

First, My Favorite Spots

My favorite spots for craft beer have outstanding food (Wrecking Bar and Brick Store Pub) and/or a pet-friendly patio for my four-legged girlfriend, Cissie (picture below). They tend to have great decks, inside charm and are dog-friendly.

The Brick Store Pub in Decatur. It’s not a brewpub but a bar and restaurant with an amazing beer selection, a Belgian Bar, and delicious food. Try the Belgian Bar (check the open hours). There are three outdoor tables in front.

Halfway Crooks in Summerhill is a more recent local spot.

Monday Night Brewing, – both the new “Garage” and the original location are dog-friendly, indoors and outdoors, spacious, and have different selections of great beers.

Wild Heaven Beer has a wide selection of beers that taste great; it is my pick for most drinkable beers, lots of space, dog-friendly, and some food trucks.

The Wrecking Bar Brewpub has indoor charm, outdoor space, and a couple of different indoor event spaces with some of the best local craft beer tasting events, including the Strong Beer Festival and the Wild Beer Festival Dog-friendly and delicious food, too.

I need to recognize the breweries closest to me, which all have great experiences and fine beer: Abbey, Gate City, Pontoon, and Variant.

Breweries I’ve Visited

For example, I had attended the opening of Monday Night Brewing about six years ago and just attended their opening of “The Garage” on the Westside Trail of the Atlanta Beltline. They’ve had several beer releases and tastings at the Garage.

So far, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting 5 Seasons Brewing, Akademia, Anderby, Atlanta Brewing Company (was Red Brick), Blue Tarp, Bold Monk, Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative (Vickery Village and Halcyon), Contrast Artisan Ales, Creature Comforts, Currahee, Eventide, Fire Maker, From the Earth, Gate City Brewing Co., Gordon Biersch, Halfway Crooks, Hop Alley (closed, becoming Currahee), Hopstix, Jekyll, Little Cottage, Lost Druid, Monday Night Brewing on Trabert and at the Monday Night Garage, New Realm, Orpheus, Park Tavern, Pendley Creek, Pontoon, Red Hare, Reformation Brewery, Rock Solid, Round Trip, Savannah River, Scofflaw, Second Self, Schoolhouse, Southern, Sweetwater, Three Taverns, Tucker, Twain’s, Wild Heaven, Wrecking Bar, and Variant.

There are many beer gardens and tap rooms, such as Red’s Beer Garden, Truck & Tap, Proper Hops, Moondog Growler, Ale Yeah!, Stout Brothers, and Georgia Beer Garden.

There are almost too many to visit and more opening all the time

I’ve not visited most breweries in the Atlanta metropolitan area, but I’m working on it.

I’m going to try to keep up with all the announcements about breweries and locations.

Big List of Georgia Breweries (sadly, this fine brewery seems closed)

Atlanta Brewing Company (was Red Brick)
Banyan Roots Brewing 2018? opening 2018 (an NC brewery, opened where Hop Alley was) beers in distribution, no location yet

Fire Maker Brewing Company opening 2018
Halfway Crooks Blending & Brewing fall 2018 (reopened as Currahee) summer 2018 (just opened a new taproom in Woodstock) (this is the restaurant next to Cherry Street) opening late summer 2018 in distribution, location in build-out, opening late in 2018
tucker brewing (Grand Opening 6/2/2018)


Rock Solid Brewing Co

Heavale Brewing Company

One of my drinking buddies, Cissie!

Pro Bono Work Achieves Business & Personal Goals

Amnesty International Logo

Pro Bono Service Provides Value to You and Your Firm

You get internal and external value, via:

  1. Making the world a better place for everyone
  2. Recognition for having an innovative giving strategy
  3. Positive influence on your community or planet
  4. Personal, brand, and company visibility and reputation
  5. Leadership role and experience through philanthropy
  6. Team-building opportunities and connecting to your community
  7. Attracting recruits who recognize your company offers opportunities to give back
  8. Demonstrating your and your company’s core competencies
  9. Connecting with prospective and current clients, customers, or alliance partners
  10. Demonstrating commitment to the community
  11. Fostering innovation and getting real experience

Jim and his firm, MediaFirst, are proud to be involved with these nonprofits.

Communities rely upon the involvement and leadership of citizens. Our nation and the planet require informed advocacy. At MediaFirst, we consistently strive to learn more about the world we live in and take part in making the world better for all.

Fostering Community & Community Goals

We help charitable organizations selected by the staff through:

  • Helping existing partners operate more efficiently and effectively
  • Building local community relationships
  • Targeting issues and causes
  • Supplementing the capacity of partner organizations to better achieve their mission
  • Giving programs that reach current and new partners
  • Verification of giving efficacy of supported non-profits

Father Christmas Cup. The Father Christmas Cup, Inc. holds an annual fund-raising event to provide comfort and financial support to local families who have lost a parent within the last year. The Father Christmas Cup is based around an annual soccer tournament consisting of local soccer players and compassionate volunteers, many of whom have ties to the beneficiary families. MediaFirst has sponsored the Father Christmas Cup for many years and now provides marketing, PR and social media support for the benefit tournament and non-profit organization. Like Father Christmas Cup on Facebook.

Amnesty International: Worldwide, Amnesty supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of conscience, and an end to torture.

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure to maximize digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (

Youth Soccer. Mr. Caruso served as an assistant coach for Boys Under-12, U11, and U10 Select Soccer teams. For two and one-half years, Mr. Caruso helped an Olympic Coach and World Cup player as assistant coach and manager. This team attained a southeast rank as high as 17th. Mr. Caruso coached youth soccer clinics, emphasizing individual player development, enjoyment of the game, appreciating our cultural differences, and the individual skills that build player confidence. He holds a US Soccer National Youth Coaching License. He has served as head coach for youth teams from age U-8 to U-19. Jim has also participated in events and fundraisers for Soccer in the Streets

International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) supports a ban of landmines through an international treaty, the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, for which it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts. ICBL is a global network covering 100 countries that works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines. Previously we supported Clear Landmines, a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) program: Every year more than 20,000 people are killed or mutilated by landmines. Notably, children are about 45% of civilian casualties.

The vast majority of victims are civilians and not soldiers. Year after year, Landmine Monitor has reported that civilians account for 70 to 85 percent of casualties. This is not just during a conflict – most of the countries where casualties are reported are at peace.

High Meadows School: Mr. Caruso served as a member of the board of directors of this extraordinary pre-K through eighth-grade school. He led the first annual campaign for fundraising (establishing an ongoing annual campaign), developed a template for school Press Releases and issued a press release when High Meadows was awarded a Goizueta Foundation Grant.

Kiva: Loans That Change Lives. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Kiva promotes dignity, accountability, and transparency. MediaFirst’s staff made more than 27 loans in more than 14 countries, of which more than 26 have been repaid in full. There have been no defaults or delinquencies on any loan. See an example on the Kiva lender page of our CEO, Jim Caruso.

National Kidney Foundation of Georgia: Noelle Rutecki and Jim Caruso developed a brochure, which presented of giving opportunities. This work was performed for Sue Hughes.

Rugby: Mr. Caruso is a long-term member and supporter of the Atlanta Renegades Rugby Football Club (RFC).

Men’s Soccer Over-30 League: MediaFirst created and maintained a league Web site for Over-30 and was instrumental in organizing Over-40 and Over-50. Mr. Caruso ran an adult Over-30 team, many-time season and tournament champions. He orchestrated the founding of Future Stars, an adult soccer club, Future Stars fielded several adult teams in various leagues and in tournament competitions in Georgia and beyond, winning in Orlando and Charleston. Mr. Caruso was asked to serve as mentor and chair for the founding of a new youth summer soccer camp, Future Stars Soccer Camp and wrote the announcement press release. In 2012, MediaFirst supported the three-time national champion, Veterans Cup winners FC Georgia United with a press release.

Education & Job Coaching: Previously, Mr. Caruso served on the boards of the: Education Information and Referral Service (EIRS), which became the Career & Education Information Center. The organization provided learning and career information for adults.

Early in his career, he was a member of the board of directors of the Bluegrass Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) and Metro Industries. As a board member of the Bluegrass ARC, Jim spearheaded efforts to refurbish a facility for the Growing Together Preschool (GTP), which enabled expansion of program offerings, notably an integrated program that mixed normal and developmentally disabled children and allowed this pre-school to be spun off as an independent non-profit organization. He conceived of the plan and spearheaded board approval for funding a new home for the preschool, enabling expansion of the program. The efforts involved renting and renovating a dilapidated, two-story house owned by the city. Read the nice story of the community coming together at a time of federal and state budget cuts and the loss of their former facility.

Roswell High School: Jim developed a Press Release for a local youth wrestling program: Roswell Junior Hornet Wrestling Tournament 8 Jan 2005.

Wikipedia is the world’s largest, most popular encyclopedia. It is online, free to use and free of advertising. Wikipedia contains more than 30 million volunteer-authored articles in over 287 languages. Donations pay for staff salaries and technology. Wikipedia and its sister projects together reach 530 million people every month. Donate.

Arcadia Power

Environment & Sustainability: For every kWh, we use with our local utility, Arcadia matches it with Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) for an equal amount of wind energy. The RECs track off-site renewable energy production from Arcadia’s partner wind farms.  Arcadia Power’s mission is to change the way America consumes energy and convert from fossil fuels to renewables. Arcadia Power provides any individual or business an easy and affordable choice to use 100% Wind Energy. Choose clean energy through Arcadia Power, you match your usage with renewable energy produced across the country and join a community dedicated to sustainability.

Pet Adoption

A supporter of pet adoption programs from the Atlanta Humane SocietyFulton County Animal Services, and other local organizations.

Sierra Club

If your firm is interested in publicizing a nonprofit collaboration or event, feel free to call Jim Caruso at 404.788.0188 to discuss your project.

Total Eclipse August 21, 2017

Yes! It happened just as predicted by science. Plus, we were lucky enough to have left ridiculously early to drive towards the totality of the solar eclipse path near Clemson, SC. So, we enjoyed a view of the eclipse, partially obstructed by some cloud cover. We joined a party held by Tile Council of North America (TCNA) [] and the National Brick Research Center.


Here are a number of NASA ( photographs (and a representation) of the eclipse yesterday, plus a screen capture of the map of the eclipse path across South Carolina, near where we were.

If you missed it or want to relive it, try eclipse 2017 photo gallery.

Eclipse Background from Wikipedia

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” by the media,[1] was a total solar eclipse visible within a band that spanned the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. As a partial solar eclipse, it was visible on land from Nunavut in northern Canada to as far south as northern South America. In northwestern Europe and Africa, it was partially visible in the late evening. In Asia, it was visible only at the eastern extremity, the Chukchi Peninsula.

You may find more descriptions on the NASA website, but their link was removed.


WordPress Site Performance, Plugins, etc.

Here is a post on WordPress administration. It lists some settings, themes, plugins, and other baseline installation requirements for speed, stability, security, and usefulness.

Note that this site is hosted at and that this blog post refers to other sites we own or manage with the open source software from

HOSTING: Stable, Fast, and Secure

I use two hosting platforms right now, WP Engine and Pantheon.

I’m also a fan of Drupal, another open source, web content management system (CMS). All our Drupal sites are now at Pantheon.

We try to run all sites in PHP 7.

After making a change to a website, we reset file permissions and flush the website cache.

AKISMET: Blog Post Comment Spam Prevention

Akismet is a plugin from the company behind WordPress (Automattic) that screens each comment on a blog post. It is spam detection for a WordPress website and works well.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

The AMP plugin we use is developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

Google reCAPTCHA 2: Form Submission Spam Prevention

Captcha and Google’s new reCaptcha 2 force validation when a web visitor attempts to submit a form. The latest versions have a check box that says “I’m not a robot” but can also have no visible validation box. Older versions had simple math challenge questions or showed an image with text that the user had to enter into a validation field.

JETPACK: Multi-Tool Plugin from WordPress

Jetpack is a plugin from the company behind WordPress (Automattic) that provides lots of functionality.

Display Speed & Faster Page Loading with EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud or TinyPNG for Image Size Reduction

I am using one of two plugins, EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud or the one from TinyPNG that use lossy compression to reduce the file size of JPEG And PNG images, thereby reducing web page load time and bandwidth requirements for image transfer from your website’s server to the web browser of your website visitor.

MailChimp: Email Service with Great Functionality

We love MailChimp as our go-to email service provider (ESP). We send newsletters the are generated using the content of blog posts. We can also use MailChimp and their transactional email service, Mandrill, to send transactional or triggered emails. I am also using TinyLetter from MailChimp.

SMTP Plugin: Lets Your Website Send Emails Reliably

To send informational and password reset emails directly from the website, we use a transactional email service, such as MailChimp’s Mandrill offering along with an SMTP gateway plugin.

Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager

Google Analytics is the default website analytics tools for webmasters. There are open source alternatives, such as Piwik. Google Search Console validates your site with Google and performs some checks.

Google Search Console, a part of Google Webmaster Tools, validates your site with Google and performs some checks. You register how you want your site indexed by Google’s search engine. For example, does the domain name of your site show http:// or https:// (https:// secure sites now rank higher in search results). Does the site resolve to (non-www) or (www)? What is the target country for visitors to your site? Google Search Console also lets you submit a site map of the content you want Google to index.

Google Tag Manager: we intend to use this.

Forms: Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and WuFoo

We use all these form providers Gravity Forms, (not free), Contact Form 7 (free), and WuFoo (varies). There are also specialized form providers, for tasks such as a poll, survey, or multi-page surveys, like Survey Monkey or Typeform.

Settings to Double Check

Settings->General->Site Address (URL) = make sure this resolves to the URL you want visitors to visit, such as, note the secure Certificate for https

Settings->Reading = uncheck the box, “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”

Settings->Permalinks = best set to “Post name”


Utility Plugin: Search & Replace

Search & Replace plugin: I was in chat with a support guy from WPEngine, who helped me solve an issue where links were created that were not https or were Using search and replace, I was able to easily change all the URLs in the WordPress install to Plus, it had a preview feature that let me see the selection results without making the modification, so I was comfortable to proceed with the database changes. Here is a second option that I have not used but has good reviews, Better Search & Replace.

Display Speed: Above the Fold

There are many tricks to speed page loading for a visitor to your website, one is to load only what is visible to that user, the content “above the fold.” Above the fold refers to newspapers (the paper ones) and how they come folded, so only the masthead and top stories are visible. We are using XXXXXXXX, but have also used a plugin named Above The Fold Optimization.

Web Accessibility

wA11y -The Web Accessibility Toolbox plugin removes barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities. The data show 1 in 5 people have a disability, so you may be excluding 20% of your potential web visitors.


To route email to, we use Google G Suite or a new offering from Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is not a web hosting issue, but it comes up when you get a new domain name. Here are two G Suite referral codes Q393JVDEEYGCDD7 and A3DC43K3HLMNY9D, which expire at year-end 2017.

DNS by AWS Route 53

We’ve moved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their Route 53 service for DNS hosting. DNS is the service that points domain names to services like a web site (like or an email address (like

If you have a question or want web hosting simplified, call me, Jim Caruso, at 404.788.0188


Tips on Blog Formatting for Readability

These Tips Make You Blog More User-Friendly

They Immediately Improve Your Writing, Blog, Press Release, or Website Regardless of the Writer or Their Writing Ability

Here are some initial observations I prepared for a client, evaluating across all the writers and content of blog posts, press releases, and websites.

These suggestions improve the reading experience for the web visitor and improve SEO. Writers should do these, full stop.

The Headline Conveys Value In An Instant

Headlines often omit the newsworthy item in the announcement, missing an opportunity to differentiate client offerings and announce what is important. Omitting the newsworthy item often results in missing a keyword opportunity. “Company launches Version X.0” is a great example of not much substance and no keyword (this was a client’s press release). If anyone brings up character count limits for social media, that is not a justification.

A Sub-Headline Is The Second Opportunity To Quickly Impart Value

Many written pieces I found had no sub-headline, where you can further explain and highlight why news is important or a blog post is of interest. More keywords go here which boosts SEO (HTML h2 tag).

First Paragraphs Need A News Hook, Motivating The Reader To Keep Reading

Everyone should write a better, early (1st paragraph) “news hook” for each piece; why the article is important to the reader. Why continue to read?

Third & Fourth Level Sub-Headlines Offer More Opportunities For Visual Appeal & Easier Reading

Few written pieces have a third level of headers, which have several benefits: more prominent keywords (in the HTML h3 tag), better quick viewing by a reader, and I believe it helps the writer with better flow and segmenting of the information provided.

Bullets Give Even More Visual Appeal & Easy Reading

Bullet points. Almost every piece should consider bullet points within the body of the article, which makes the piece friendlier to the reader and more visually appealing. Make sure bullets are not too long.

Bullet points add:

  • Emphasis on my statement that formatting helps the reader;
  • Tasty, edible treats of information in an easy-to-consume package;
  • Clarity of the writer’s intent and the benefits the reader receives;
  • Improved readability;
  • Easily scannable content; and
  • Fulfillment of your promise to impart valuable knowledge to your audience.
  • Summary & More Blog Formatting Tips

These previous ideas: better headlines, sub-headers, third or fourth level headers, and bullet points all combine for better visual appeal and are more inviting to the reader.

Optimize for five Keywords, not one. Many firms optimize for too many or fail to optimize even for one.

“Related Articles” can be a widget (block) offering links to several related blog posts or web pages. Usually, related links are internal to the website but could link beyond. Related Articles are generically Related Content, a block of links to related blog content. “Popular Articles” blocks at the bottom of the page are unusual and can be user-hostile.

Blog Categories should be competitive differentiators or highlight must-have functionality or service offerings. Pick key differentiators as keywords and blog categories.

Avoid stock photos if you can get a customer, partner, or company image.

Capture Leads & Use Blog Content In Your Email Newsletters

Make sure your website has lead generation buttons that allow you to ask for an exchange of email for valuable (sometimes downloadable) content. These are often referred to as a Call-To-Action (CTA) button. Make it clear to the visitor so they may provide an email address for your newsletter or email and phone to be a prospective lead.

You don’t have to use traditional methods of lead capture, such as Call-To-Action (CTA) Buttons, lead capture forms, or email collection for email lead nurturing, but you may want to start there if you do not have these now.

Find An Editor With A Sharp Scalpel

Assign an editor to double-check work submitted for publication on your site, whether a web page or blog post. Then you can catch errors, such as my use of “forth” rather than “fourth.” This is a great example of why you must know how to spell to use a spellchecker.

For me, the sharp scalpel means an editor who will make the content better without changing my writing style to their writing style.


Add a Call-To-Action (CTA), this is mine, below:

If you like, I can speak with you about this. Call me, Jim Caruso, at 404.788.0188.

Tie PR Strategy Directly To Tactics For Best Results

One method for attaining higher quality results, is a PR process that embeds strategy within the tactical documentation for the client.

MediaFirst identifies the desired, future positioning for a client. This is a view of how the client firm wishes to be viewed in a year. Since most of our clients are privately held, we work for executives that have shareholdings in their firm and want to increase valuation. To succeed we use a technique applied by excellent, venture-backed companies. This technique establishes: a.) the qualification and capability of the management team, b.) the value proposition, c.) the pursuit of a market size large enough to generate revenues worthy of investor interest and strong growth, and d.) the team’s ability to execute effectively across creating customers, competitive offerings, revenue growth, and respectable margins. Our approach drives valuation, which enables attractive funding or exit, by communicating your successes to investors in their language. This has led to the acquisition of many MediaFirst clients. This positioning also supports merger, acquisition, or Initial Public Offering (IPO).

TARGET AUDIENCES: Reaching a desired audience is the prime goal of a client. Reaching the audience generates awareness and knowledge of a client’s offerings, value proposition, and successes. Target audiences are reached through media outlets: magazines, newspapers, Websites, blogs, social media, news wires, etc. Therefore, a targeted Media Outlets List is one of the first strategic decisions in PR. Embedded in the tactical, working documentation, the Client’s Editorial Calendar (EdCal), it becomes the basis for researching potential news stories – yet to be written over the next year. The tactical Client EdCal evolves into a tickler of opportunities for a client to be covered in an upcoming article. Each opportunity is a chance to “sell” the client’s story, spokesperson, case study, offerings, etc. to a reporter or editor. The result is an interview with the specific reporter or editor assigned to the story. This connects the reporter with the client spokesperson – and possibly the client’s customer, alliance partner, technology provider, or industry analyst. The scope of work is proportional to the number of targeted media outlets. Metrics that MediaFirst uses in assessing performance include: quantity of EdCal opportunities that “fit” for the client, number of interview opportunities acquired with reporters/editors, number of interviews conducted – or missed – by the client spokespersons, and the quantity and type of press coverage obtained by the client.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES: The Proposed Press Release Schedule is the tactical document that MediaFirst uses to capture strategic initiatives of the client, scheduling the release of news and positioning each initiative in ways that match the desired positioning. This schedule is used to consistently release information on the client, covering the:

Management Team press releases describe how the client has the top talent that enables success. This includes announcing awards, promotions, hiring, and other newsworthy recognition of the executive management team.

Offerings include hardware, software, or services (products and services) that reflect the client’s ability to deliver what customers want – recognizing the emerging needs or opportunities for customers to be better served by the client than elsewhere.

MediaFirst writes (press releases, newsletters, Web pages, brochures, etc.) in ways that prove that the client understands the needs of the marketplace and executes to provide better value for the customer.

Market: our writing describes the market served by the client and the importance, size, and client success in meeting that industry’s needs. In addition, MediaFirst writes to position the client as a thought-leader in identifying and meeting emerging needs of customers.

Ability to Execute: The ability to execute is shown through press releases that announce: new clients, alliance partners, new product or service offerings, winning awards, speaking at industry conferences, hiring the right people, and growth in revenues, profitability, or staff.

For private firms, growth may be described in percentage increases – avoiding disclosure of exact revenues. Quarterly growth – or quarter over quarter growth over the period of a year – are examples of other, flexible ways to describe growth.

Social Media Merging Online Reputation, Personal & Business

Instagram booth at Facebook F8 Conference

The online craze that is social media or social networking is creating a greater overlap between an individual’s personal and business reputations.

For most of us, this phenomenon is most evident from Facebook. Facebook is now the largest of the social media networks, closely followed by MySpace. MySpace, however, is a younger demographic or heavily entertainment (notably music) oriented. LinkedIn is what many of us believe is the professional’s online social network of choice. Yet, my rough guess says this is only true if you were born after about 1976, or so. If you were born earlier than 1976, odds are that the vast majority of your online connections are on Facebook.

The effect is that Facebook is only going to get bigger, having already secured the mindshare of the professionals and managers of the future. …and, although the LinkedIn crowd are not Luddites – in fact, they are online in high percentages – this group can’t grow at the rate of professionals on Facebook.

This matters because the social connections and activities we do, while younger, are becoming documented on communities, such as Facebook.

As one looks at the entirety of social media offerings – and see the interconnections made by the OpenSocial standards – one can see how photographs, vacations planned, sports, and many personal events are documented and commented upon within Facebook or posted across all of your social networks via interlocking feeds.

For business professionals, this requires two actions: the first is to embrace, not fear social media; and the second is to actively participate.

As a dear friend once said, “a friend is someone who knows you and likes you anyway.” What this really means is that people respond to authenticity – to the real you. Fearing social media deprives you of the opportunity and pleasure of knowing and working with people who appreciate you. This works for your employer, too. Customers seek the same authenticity in dealing with suppliers (vendors). Companies, like yours, are comprised of real people – so be real.

Active participation is a key because you can’t be authentic, if invisible. You can’t get your secretary (personal assistant), mom, or child to be the authentic you online. Moreover, as social media adoption continues to take off, you as a professional, manager or executive fall further behind in “getting it.” You don’t need to compete for the most connections, but you should seek out your real life friends and connect with them online.

In another blog post, I’ll cover what I believe constitutes a minimal professional (and business) presence for today’s social media.

Clients’ Top Ten Requested Traits

This is a list of the top traits for our media relations team members by our clients. These traits have won us praise over many years:

1. Communicate well with me

2. Be competent and experienced, in technology and business

3. Establish good relationships and be a teammate of my staff

4. Demonstrate leadership

5. Be innovative and creative

6. Understand and address my real needs

7. Know and leverage the available resources for best results

8. Complete work on time and within budget

9. Be responsive

10. Do high-quality work

Certainly, one could say these are obvious, but in practice, we get clients that have had poor experiences with other PR agencies and referenced one or more of these issues.

Good communications mean both being available when a client has an issue and being proactive in showing the client that they receive the media relations work for which they pay.

Competence means a lot in our core space of technology, software, and logistics, but it matters even in consumer PR. The primary skill is an understanding of “why.” Why does it matter that regulations change or the basis of competition changes or supply or demand changes? How do changes influence suppliers and customers? Valid comments on the business consequences of change make interesting reading for your audience and the audience of the news publication that would like to interview your spokesperson.

Good relationships often mean becoming part of the client’s team; an extension of the resources that the client brings to media relations.

Leadership is valid and valuable guidance through the many approaches to publicity.

Innovation plays on competence and an understanding of industry issues to form creative ways to position clients as thought leaders and forward-thinkers.

For us, real needs keep overhead low and value of our services high. Our tasks implement the strategy, create awareness, impart knowledge, help sell, and help close.

For many years, most of us have become part of a pool of resources to achieve a goal. As an agency, we must understand and execute on leveraging the client’s resources and ours to get results. The account lead is often a manager of available resources.

We work on retainer, so that keeps us on budget. Living documents and periodic reviews keep us on schedule.

For us, being responsive is both being accessible (by phone, text, or email) and being flexible to deliver what clients need when they need it.

High-quality work achieves the goal. Quality is conformance to requirements.




Awareness Is The First Step In Customer Creation (Sales)

“Customer Creation” is the lifeblood and purpose of any business, according to management guru, Peter Drucker. One view of the sales cycle is that Awareness is the first step in the multi-step process of Awareness ~> Knowledge ~> Selling ~> Closing. Guide Prospects Through The Sales Cycle This process of creating customers requires identifying prospects and guiding prospects through a well-conceived sales cycle. The process of engaging prospects should lead prospects to awareness of your brand and towards knowledge of your offerings and value proposition.

PR Is Selling The Client’s Story To The Media

Our process of getting targeted industry press for clients is analogous to a sales process, in that we sell reporters and editors on using your organization’s spokesperson, clients, partners, or technology providers to complete a story. In our efforts, we seek to understand the needs of reporters and editors and meet those needs. Reporter’s needs vary from breaking news to background on industry trends, to industry expert views on the changing shape of competition. We provide the service of helping the media do their job–by delivering spokespersons and interviews that make good stories.

Identify Your Audiences to Focus Resources

Sales efforts begin by identifying the audiences you wish to reach. In PR, the right media and publicity tools are conduits to your target audiences of investors, financial analysts, industry analysts, and prospective or current employees, business partners, prospects, or customers. PR is a direct complement to sales because it leads prospects through these first two steps of Awareness and Knowledge. Effective Programs Communicate Features, Advantages, & Benefits Clients see our public relations and marketing efforts clearly complementing their efforts to sell products and services. By understanding the relationship that you have with customers, we frame your value proposition in the very words of your prospects. Your offerings are framed in the authentic context of customer needs.

PR Wins Third-Party Endorsement of the Media

Public Relations enhances awareness by endowing your firm with the third-party endorsement of the media. Your venture’s spokespersons reveal or address industry issues and trends—their quote makes them the expert. Our business experience covers business and technology, which allows us to better help the media by supplying newsworthy comment or story ideas that focus on you, your partners, and customers.

Speaking Opportunities Reach Target Audiences Effectively

Speaking opportunities leverage the valuable time of your most articulate spokespersons across large, targeted audiences. We manage opportunities by identifying desirable opportunities and securing your slot. Marketing Programs & Materials Educate Prospects Marketing programs, such as trade shows, conferences, direct mail, lead generation, Web sites, collaterals, and others, reach out to capture the interest of your target audiences — imparting knowledge about your firm’s offerings and value proposition.

In PR, the right media and publicity tools are conduits to your target audiences of investors, financial analysts, industry analysts, and prospective or current employees, business partners, prospects, or customers. PR is a direct complement to sales because it leads prospects through these first two steps of Awareness and Knowledge. Effective Programs Communicate Features, Advantages, & Benefits Clients see our public relations and marketing efforts clearly complementing their efforts to sell products and services. By understanding the relationship that you have with customers, we frame your value proposition in the very words of your prospects. Your offerings are framed in the authentic context of customer needs.

Lead The Social Media Charge

 For Today’s Business Professional, LinkedIn + Facebook + Twitter Matter Most

Businesses and individuals increasingly see the value in online social media for industry connections or introductions and clearly for employment opportunities. Beyond these are company branding, business reputation management, and professional business networking. It is true that online networking can degenerate into the kind of networking event where you show up and everyone else is there to sell you what they have. But most online social networking can be contained to the important kind, not just a virtual room of vulturous vendors.

“Old Style” professional connections are not dead, they’ve just met up with the latest technology tools.

These tools, such as LinkedIn (very B2B), Facebook (evolving to more B2B from a college-oriented service at its start), and MySpace (very B2C and younger) let your firm have an online page or presence with its own fans.

These connections are individuals connecting to the business. Some list current and former employees. They are increasingly tied to other feeds, maybe your great press coverage.

In any case, a forum where your firm and customer experiences are discussed. Beginning to see the value in monitoring and participating? The better known online social media services enable personal or professional, 1-to-1 connections. These services provide access and information about you and your firm.

Here is a minimal plan for a social media presence for you and the company

Customer-facing employees should be on LinkedIn and Facebook, and participate – The company should have its own page on LinkedIn and Facebook – Employees should have a photograph on their LinkedIn page – most do not – Press releases and news should be aggregated on the company Website and probably via online services, such as (also now at,,, or – News and events can be posted on Twitter. Direct messages or replies on Twitter should be monitored so you may respond – engaging with the audience for your firm.

There it is, a straightforward way to implement social media at your company. Remember that these tools represent are an innovation – just like any new tool that you might adopt for the business – so think of Social Media tools as part of the company’s continual improvement program. (I’m a fan of W. Edwards Deming, a famous proponent of quality and continual improvement).

Call Jim at 770/642-2080, x218 to talk more about social media for business.

OpenSocial Rapidly Interconnecting Collaborative Social Networks

What’s amazing about OpenSocial is how it accelerates the pace of interconnection, previously rampant mostly within single, rapidly growing social networking communities.

OpenSocial ties these fast-growing communities together for a quantum leap in value and connection (to people, groups, organizations, philanthropic causes, etc.)

Blogging, tagging, media (video and picture) sharing, and online personal or professional communities have become interconnected.

Browser technology, such as from Flock, add to the usefulness of these ever-more useful tools.

They are also ever-more intrusive and everyone should recognize (and maybe restrict) the personal information sharing, which can be automatically enabled within some of these online services and applications.

Link to OpenSocial

 Economist Is Wrong To Dis Apple iPhone

The Economist magazine, which usually is very perceptive about global business, takes a divergent path by offering a hollow analysis of the Apple iPhone in its article “Apple pipped: The iPhone may already be outdated” [From dated 13 April 2007. I sum up their argument as based solely on the data bandwidth of the phone, in the short term slower GSM (Cingular’ EDGE) versus the Helio Ocean (VE-DO).

It is noteworthy that The Economist spends their last four paragraphs discussing WiMAX, which is far from an option–much less a market winner, for many years. Although various MVNO (Multiple Virtual Network Operator) wireless providers may capture future market share, it seems unlikely that Earthlink (the service provider of the Helio has an upper hand.

The Economist seems to forget that music resides on home computers and laptops, synchronized to a mobile device, such as an iPod or mobile phone. They seem to forget that mobile telephone use is still dominated (and may continue to be dominated) by low-bandwidth services, such a voice calls and Instant Messaging (IM) or Short Messaging Service (SMS).

I am a big fan of rapid response time and a subscriber to the Economist, but this article is off the mark. It is almost as if the authors don’t understand how people use mobile phones – and I mean even the “young trendsetters who appreciate the ease of use and cutting-edge design.”

I am certain that I would enjoy an Apple iPhone, but I am pleased with both my mobile telephone, a Nokia N80, and wireless carrier, T-Mobile, despite the lower GSM bandwidth. Find the article at:

 Apple TV Is Well Executed

Yes, I bought an Apple TV the day it was announced. It’s installed and operational.

The packaging is consistent with Apple’s nice design, set-up is simple, menu and navigation straight-forward, and viewing/listening is a great experience.

Watching 320×240 formatted video on a large-screen, HDTV set is surprisingly satisfying.

There is a lot of syncing to do, via ethernet cable and/or Airport wireless connection. In fact, I just ordered an Airport extreme for wireless access to the AppleTV, but I wired via ethernet for the moment. I can sync any of the video, audio, or photo content stored within the Apple applications iTunes and iPhoto. The default is not to sync it all, so I changed the setting to all in the preferences.

So far, I’ve tried out music, music video, television show, and movie content. After all the content is synced, I’ll blog again.

 Study Shows Layout Speeds Reading

USC/Annenberg Study Confirms Value of Page Layout to Memory and Reading Speed of Articles

“Eyetracking points the way to effective news article design” is a story in the Online Journalism Review of the Annenberg Center for Communications at USC.

Featured finding #1: Rewrite + Reformat = Remember

Writing (or rewriting) a story to meet an ideal format (may require reformatting) improved the reader’s reading speed and retention of the information.

Featured finding #2: Precise and relevant editing = successful design

Featured finding #3: Photos edited for relevance = photos viewed

An interesting aspect of this last finding is that male viewers focused on the private anatomy in an image of an animal. In other words, men stare at the crotch.

The article has a graphical presentation with fine examples that make all these points clear…and the conclusions are funny.
URL: Data Loss Archive and Database (DLDOS) should scare anyone

This post was originally published on Twitter as a Tweet on 3 March 2013:

Breaches of personal privacy and information loss are well documented and archived at Data Loss Archive and Database (DLDOS) at I mentioned this in a recent post, but it deserves its own.

This is what happens when politicians and regulators fail to take action.

Everyone is at risk. Russia and North Korea are taking no action to stop hacking since they are two of the top countries where is this occurring.

Data Breeches 2004 – 2018 from Wikipedia




Organization type


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 2018 75,000 healthcare hacked
Facebook 2018 50,000,000 social network poor security
Ticketfly (subsidiary of Eventbrite) 2018 26,151,608 ticket distribution hacked
AerServ (subsidiary of InMobi) 2018 75,000 advertising hacked
MyHeritage 2018 92,283,889 genealogy unknown
Google Plus 2018 500,000 social network poor security
21st Century Oncology 2016 2,200,000 healthcare hacked
BMO and Simplii 2018 90,000 banking poor security
Accendo Insurance Co. 2011 175,350 healthcare poor security
Adobe Systems 2013 152,000,000 tech hacked
Advocate Medical Group 2013 4,000,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Affinity Health Plan, Inc. 2009 344,579 healthcare lost / stolen media
Ameritrade 2005 200,000 financial lost / stolen media
Ankle & Foot Center of Tampa Bay, Inc. 2010 156,000 healthcare hacked
Anthem Inc. 2015 80,000,000 healthcare hacked
AOL 2004 92,000,000 web inside job, hacked
AOL 2006 20,000,000 web accidentally published
AOL 2014 2,400,000 web hacked
Apple, Inc./BlueToad 2012 12,367,232 tech, retail accidentally published
Apple 2013 275,000 tech hacked
Apple Health Medicaid 2016 91,000 healthcare poor security
Ashley Madison 2015 32,000,000 web hacked
AT&T 2008 113,000 telecoms lost / stolen computer
AT&T 2010 114,000 telecoms hacked 2008 18,000,000 web hacked
Australian Immigration Department 2015 G20 world leaders government accidentally published
Automatic Data Processing 2005 125,000 financial poor security
AvMed, Inc. 2009 1,220,000 healthcare lost / stolen computer
Bailey’s Inc. 2015 250,000 retail hacked
Barnes & Noble 2012 63 stores retail hacked
Bedford/St. Martin’s 2012-2014 unknown retail unknown
Betfair 2010 2,300,000 web hacked
Bethesda Game Studios 2011 200,000 gaming hacked
Blizzard Entertainment 2012 14,000,000 gaming hacked
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee 2009 1,023,209 healthcare lost / stolen media
The Bank of New York Mellon 2008 12,500,000 financial lost / stolen media
British Airways 2015 tens of thousands retail hacked
California Department of Child Support Services 2012 800,000 government lost / stolen media
CardSystems Solutions Inc.

(MasterCard, Visa, Discover Financial Services and American Express)

2005 40,000,000 financial hacked
CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield – Maryland 2015 1,100,000 healthcare hacked
Central Coast Credit Union 2016 60,000 financial hacked
Central Hudson Gas & Electric 2013 110,000 energy hacked
CheckFree Corporation 2009 5,000,000 financial hacked
China Software Developer Network 2011 6,000,000 web hacked
Chinese gaming websites (three: Duowan, 7K7K, 2011 10,000,000 web hacked
Citigroup 2005 3,900,000 financial lost / stolen media
Citigroup 2011 360,083 financial hacked
Citigroup 2013 150,000 financial poor security
City and Hackney Teaching Primary Care Trust 2007 160,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Colorado government 2010 105,470 healthcare lost / stolen computer
Community Health Systems 2014 4,500,000 healthcare hacked
Philippines Commission on Elections 2016 55,000,000 government hacked
Compass Bank 2007 1,000,000 financial inside job
Countrywide Financial Corp 2006 2,600,000 financial inside job
Countrywide Financial Corp 2011 2,500,000 financial inside job
Cox Communications 2016 40,000 telecoms hacked
Crescent Health Inc., Walgreens 2013 100,000 healthcare lost / stolen computer
CVS 2015 millions retail hacked
Dai Nippon Printing 2007 8,637,405 retail inside job
Data Processors International

(MasterCard, Visa, Discover Financial Services and American Express)

2008 8,000,000 financial hacked
Defense Integrated Data Center (South Korea) 2017 235 GB military hacked
Deloitte 2017 consulting, accounting poor security
Democratic National Committee 2016 19,252 political
US Department of Homeland Security 2016 30,000 government poor security
Domino’s Pizza (France) 2014 600,000 web hacked
UK Driving Standards Agency 2007 3,000,000 government lost / stolen media
Dropbox 2012 unknown web hacked
Drupal 2013 1,000,000 web hacked
Dun & Bradstreet 2013 1,000,000 tech hacked
eBay 2014 145,000,000 web hacked
Educational Credit Management Corporation 2010 3,300,000 financial lost / stolen media
Eisenhower Medical Center 2011 514,330 healthcare lost / stolen computer
Embassy Cables 2010 251,000 government inside job
Emergency Healthcare Physicians, Ltd. 2010 180,111 healthcare lost / stolen media
Emory Healthcare 2012 315,000 healthcare poor security
Erie County Medical Center 2017 unknown healthcare poor security
Equifax 2017 143,000,000 financial, credit reporting poor security
European Central Bank 2014 unknown financial hacked
Evernote 2013 50,000,000 web hacked
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 2015 10,000,000 healthcare hacked
Experian – T-Mobile US 2015 15,000,000 telecoms hacked
EyeWire 2016 unknown tech lost / stolen computer
Facebook 2013 6,000,000 web accidentally published
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 2010 400,000 financial hacked
Fidelity National Information Services 2007 8,500,000 financial inside job
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice 2013 100,000 government lost / stolen computer
Friend Finder Networks 2016 412,214,295 web poor security / hacked
Formspring 2012 420,000 web accidentally published
Gamigo 2012 8,000,000 web hacked
Gap Inc. 2007 800,000 retail lost / stolen computer
Gawker 2010 1,500,000 web hacked
Global Payments 2012 7,000,000 financial hacked
Gmail 2014 5,000,000 web hacked
Greek government 2012 9,000,000 government hacked
Grozio Chirurgija 2017 25,000 healthcare hacked
GS Caltex 2008 11,100,000 energy inside job
Gyft 2016 unknown web hacked
Hannaford Brothers Supermarket Chain 2007 4,200,000 retail hacked
Health Net 2009 500,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Health Net — IBM 2011 1,900,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Heartland 2009 130,000,000 financial hacked
Heathrow Airport 2017 2.5GB transport lost / stolen media
Hewlett Packard 2006 200,000 tech, retail lost / stolen media
Hilton Hotels 2015 unknown hotel hacked
Home Depot 2014 56,000,000 retail hacked
Honda Canada 2011 283,000 retail poor security
Hyatt Hotels 2015 250 locations hotel hacked
Internal Revenue Service 2015 720,000 financial hacked
Inuvik hospital 2016 6,700 healthcare inside job
Iranian banks (three: SaderatEghtesad Novin, and Saman) 2012 3,000,000 financial hacked
Jefferson County, West Virginia 2008 1,600,000 government accidentally published
JP Morgan Chase 2010 2,600,000 financial lost / stolen media
JP Morgan Chase 2014 76,000,000 financial hacked
KDDI 2006 4,000,000 telecoms hacked
Kirkwood Community College 2013 125,000 academic hacked
KM.RU 2016 1,500,000 web hacked
Korea Credit Bureau 2014 20,000,000 financial inside job
Kroll Background America 2013 1,000,000 tech hacked
KT Corporation 2012 8,700,000 telecoms hacked
LexisNexis 2014 1,000,000 tech hacked
Landry’s, Inc. 2015 500 locations restaurant hacked
Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center 2010 130,495 healthcare lost / stolen media 2012 8,000,000 web accidentally published
Living Social 2013 50,000,000 web hacked 2014 860,000 web hacked
Mandarin Oriental Hotels 2014 10 locations hotel hacked
Massachusetts Government 2011 210,000 government poor security
Massive American business hack

including 7-Eleven and Nasdaq

2012 160,000,000 financial hacked
US Medicaid 2012 780,000 government, healthcare hacked
Medical Informatics Engineering 2015 3,900,000 healthcare hacked
Memorial Healthcare System 2011 102,153 healthcare lost / stolen media
Michaels 2014 3,000,000 retail hacked 2012 163,792 web, military accidentally published
Ministry of Education (Chile) 2008 6,000,000 government accidentally published 2007 1,600,000 web hacked
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney 2011 34,000 financial lost / stolen media
Mozilla 2014 76,000 web poor security
NASDAQ 2014 unknown financial hacked
Natural Grocers 2015 93 stores retail hacked
Neiman Marcus 2014 1,100,000 retail hacked
Nemours Foundation 2011 1,055,489 healthcare lost / stolen media
Network Solutions 2009 573,000 tech hacked
New York City Health & Hospitals Corp. 2010 1,700,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
New York State Electric & Gas 2012 1,800,000 energy inside job
New York Taxis 2014 52,000 transport poor security
Nexon Korea Corp 2011 13,200,000 web hacked
NHS 2011 8,300,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Nintendo 2013 240,000 gaming hacked
Nival Networks 2016 1,500,000 gaming hacked
Norwegian Tax Administration 2008 3,950,000 government accidentally published
Ofcom 2016 unknown telecom inside job
US Office of Personnel Management 2015 21,500,000 government hacked
Office of the Texas Attorney General 2012 6,500,000 government accidentally published
Ohio State University 2010 760,000 academic hacked
Orbitz 2018 880,000 web hacked
Oregon Department of Transportation 2011 unknown government poor security
OVH 2013 undisclosed web hacked
Popsugar 2018 123,857 fashion hacked
Premera 2015 11,000,000 healthcare hacked
Puerto Rico Department of Health 2010 515,000 healthcare hacked 2012 98,167,935 web hacked
RBS Worldpay 2008 1,500,000 financial hacked
Restaurant Depot 2011 200,000 retail hacked
RockYou! 2009 32,000,000 web, gaming hacked
Rosen Hotels 2016 unknown hotel hacked
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission 2011 180,000 government hacked
Scottrade 2015 4,600,000 financial hacked
Scribd 2013 500,000 web hacked
Seacoast Radiology, PA 2010 231,400 healthcare hacked
Sega 2011 1,290,755 gaming hacked
Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (UK) 2008 50,500 government lost / stolen media
Slack 2015 500,000 tech poor security
SnapChat 2013 4,700,000 web, tech hacked
Sony Online Entertainment 2011 24,600,000 gaming hacked
Sony Pictures 2011 1,000,000 web hacked
Sony Pictures 2014 100 terabytes media hacked
Sony PlayStation Network 2011 77,000,000 gaming hacked
South Africa police 2013 16,000 government hacked
South Carolina Government 2012 6,400,000 healthcare inside job
South Shore Hospital, Massachusetts 2010 800,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants 2011 300,000 healthcare hacked
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System 2011 400,000 healthcare lost / stolen computer
Stanford University 2008 72,000 academic lost / stolen computer
Starbucks 2008 97,000 retail lost / stolen computer
Starwood Hotels

including Westin Hotels and Sheraton Hotels

2015 54 locations hotel hacked
State of Texas 2011 3,500,000 government accidentally published
Steam 2011 35,000,000 web hacked
Stratfor 2011 935,000 military accidentally published
Supervalu 2014 200 stores retail hacked
Sutter Medical Center 2011 4,243,434 healthcare lost / stolen computer
Syrian government (Syria Files) 2012 2,434,899 government hacked
Taobao 2016 20,000,000 retail hacked
Taringa! 2017 28,722,877 web hacked
Target Corporation 2014 70,000,000 retail hacked 2016 unknown web hacked
TD Ameritrade 2007 6,300,000 financial hacked
TD Bank 2012 260,000 financial hacked
TerraCom & YourTel 2013 170,000 telecoms accidentally published
Texas Lottery 2007 89,000 government inside job
Tianya Club 2011 28,000,000 web hacked
TK / TJ Maxx 2007 94,000,000 retail hacked
T-Mobile, Deutsche Telecom 2006 17,000,000 telecoms lost / stolen media
Tricare 2011 4,901,432 military, healthcare lost / stolen computer
Triple-S Salud, Inc. 2010 398,000 healthcare lost / stolen media
Trump Hotels 2014 8 locations hotel hacked
Tumblr 2013 65,469,298 web hacked 2015 unknown tech hacked
Twitter 2013 250,000 web hacked
Uber 2014 50,000 tech poor security
Uber 2017 57,000,000 transport hacked
Ubisoft 2013 unknown gaming hacked
Ubuntu 2013 2,000,000 tech hacked
UK Home Office 2008 84,000 government lost / stolen media
UK Ministry of Defence 2008 1,700,000 government lost / stolen media
UK Revenue & Customs 2007 25,000,000 government lost / stolen media
Under Armour 2018 150,000,000 Consumer Goods hacked
University of California, Berkeley 2009 160,000 academic hacked
University of California, Berkeley 2016 80,000 academic hacked
University of Maryland, College Park 2014 300,000 academic hacked
UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica 2015 4,500,000 healthcare hacked
University of Central Florida 2016 63,000 academic hacked
University of Miami 2008 2,100,000 academic lost / stolen computer
University of Utah Hospital & Clinics 2008 2,200,000 academic lost / stolen media
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee 2011 73,000 academic hacked
UPS 2014 51 locations retail hacked
U.S. Army 2011 50,000 military accidentally published
U.S. Army

(classified Iraq War documents)

2010 392,000 government inside job
U.S. Department of Defense 2009 72,000 military lost / stolen media
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 2006 26,500,000 government, military lost / stolen computer
U.S. law enforcement (70 different agencies) 2011 123,461 government accidentally published
National Archives and Records Administration (U.S. military veterans’ records) 2009 76,000,000 military lost / stolen media
U.S. government (United States diplomatic cables leak) 2010 260,000 military inside job
National Guard of the United States 2009 131,000 military lost / stolen computer
Verizon Communications 2016 1,500,000 telecoms hacked
Virginia Department of Health 2009 8,257,378 government, healthcare hacked
Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program 2009 531,400 healthcare hacked
Vodafone 2013 2,000,000 telecoms inside job
VTech 2015 5,000,000 retail hacked
Walmart 2015 millions retail hacked
Washington Post 2011 1,270,000 media hacked
Washington State court system 2013 160,000 government hacked
Weebly 2016 43,430,316 web hacked
Wendy’s 2015 unknown restaurant hacked 2011 62,000 web hacked 2015 6,054,459 web social engineering
Yahoo 2013 3,000,000,000 web hacked
Yahoo 2014 500,000,000 web hacked
Yahoo Japan 2013 22,000,000 tech, web hacked
Yahoo! Voices 2012 450,000 web hacked
Yale University 2010 43,000 academic accidentally published
Zappos 2012 24,000,000 web hacked
Bank of America 2005 1,200,000 financial lost / stolen media
DSW Inc. 2005 1,400,000 retail hacked 2015 300,000 web poor security
SingHealth 2018 1,500,000 government, database hacked
British Airways 2018 380,000 transport hacked MoSoSo Mobile Social Software is in the Mobile Social Software (MoSoSo) space. This seems useful and easy to use. It is within Google’s stable of applications, so it recognized my Google account and asked permission to use that account and log me right in. There certainly need to be clean ways to mix mobile voice telephony with the Web. This mix, of mobile phone, Web, and community can bypass existing niche players. One comment is that this application, unlike many attempts at user-generated content, rewards users (with utility) for creating online content. In this case, a listing of personal venues with comments solicited from all users. Nice.

Note in 2018: Well, Google let Dodgeball languish. In case you were not aware, Dodgeball’s founders then created Foursquare and Swarm, which I continue to use into 2018.

Fake News Presents A Hazard To Reputations Of Clients & News Sources

PR allows the spokesperson to take a position on industry issues or announce news. The mixing of editorial with advertising may damage the reputation of firms that promote themselves or their position with “fake news.” Ultimately, undermining the value of news sources – making readers or viewers question the validity of news – is bad for advertisers, spokespersons, and the media outlets that use fake news. So far, these questions have arisen only over video news releases.

Direct risks to the stations are: (1) The rules were prompted by payola scandals of the past, in which broadcasters accepted money from companies to hype their products without labeling the effort as advertising.” and “If the FCC decides they have violated the rules, punishment could include fines or license revocation.”

 Suzanne Vega Performs Virtual Concert, Online on Second Life

MMO’s (Multi-Player Online) Game [or MMORPG (Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games)] offer to let people present themselves through an online environment via an avatar.

I am fascinated by how businesses may eventually use this technology.

It is clear that there is Real Money Trade (RMT) in online gaming, but not clear what transition will give us all the ability to do business through our avatar.

In the meantime, it was nice to hear of this first live concert via avatar. Suzanne Vega ( did this through The Infinite Mind ( within the online gaming environment of Second Life (

There are video clips of the concert at Wired covered this at the link below (updated).
URL: Virtual Suzanne Vega Sings “Tom’s Diner” in Second Life

URL: Suzanne Vega’s avatar sings “The Queen and the Soldier”

URL: Suzanne Vega returns to Second Life July, 13. 2007



Nokia N80 Is a great mobile phone

I decided on my next mobile telephone, the Nokia N80 ( It’s a quad-band GSM phone with the full array of the top features that I wanted. First, it is a phone, not a computer shrunk to the size of a handheld and using a computer user interface.

Nokia’s Symbian 60 series OS is designed for mobile phones and therefore nice to use. It has a great screen resolution and all the functionality that I view as useful. It has a radio and music player that I was surprised to find so useful and with good sound quality.

The main functionalities I need are an ability synchronize to my laptop’s contact list and appointment calendar. I also needed (or wanted) occasional Web browsing, occasional e-mail, and a decent camera (3 megapixel). These all worked well, although I needed to download a third-party plugin for Apple iSync from nova media MDS GmbH ( for 9.99 Euros.

It has many 3rd party apps for the Symbian OS, jumps on the local Wireless LAN (WLAN). There are some nice accessories I may get, such as wireless keyboard and Bluetooth headset, but for the moment the nice wired earpieces and microphone are what I need.

This has excellent voice quality and signal strength. I prefer to order from my carrier (T-Mobile) or directly from Nokia, but I waited as long as I could stand and ordered a European unit. I considered the N73 (more camera, less business). The N80, unlike the N73, has document viewers, which I can used\ (although rarely). I think I’m way ahead of the obsolescence curve (the UPnP functionality is a example of why).

I highly recommend this phone.

PR Trends: Social Media Sites, Press Releases, Etc.

This is a well-considered blog entry (17 July 2006) by Andy Lark on trends affecting PR, such as the influence of social networking on public relations.

1.) Certainly, citizen journalism is immediate and ubiquitous, but it doesn’t replace professional journalists. There are microchannels, but for our clients, this has not changed the basis of competition. In addition, many on the bleeding edge flock to the many innovative offerings of Web 2.0 companies. However, those of us that test the many new offerings do not constitute a mainstream audience for these services. Many Web 2.0 offerings are interesting but not ubiquitous, unique – or more importantly critical. There are a very few Web 2.0 offerings provide reach to targeted audiences – and large audiences.

2.) A truly effective user interface that is a gateway to an integrated suite of useful applications (whether from Apple, Microsoft, or whatever firm) is appealing.

3.) Community creation forums, such as the Wiki, are creating ever higher expectations for collaboration software for corporations and consumers. Wikis are useful and informative, but I keep wondering when people will stop posting for free to Web sites that ultimately own all the content (check the Terms and Conditions at MySpace or YouTube). To me, the effect of blogging on content is similar to the decline in care and time taken to write letters – with e-mail and them IMing providing an immediate, yet less polished result. This reminds me of the quote of Blaise Pascal, who said: “Si j’ai écrit une si longue lettre, c’est parce que je n’ai pas eu assez de temps pour l’écrire plus courte.” It translates to “If I wrote a long letter, it’s because I didn’t have enough time to write one shorter.”

4.) The idea of building the functionality you want within an application is very appealing. It was remarkable how Apple responded to the market demand for podcasting, to the point that Apple put “pod” (as in iPod) in a podcast. Microsoft’s early adoption of RSS is a good example of quickly getting on board a winning trend.

5.) The participatory communicator is an interesting idea, but not well executed = authentically executed. More about this later in this blog post entry.
I liked his comment on but was a little surprised that as a soccer player, I had never run across it. I think there are many failed attempts to target and reach a community. It is certainly true that this is a real time of flux for the advertising marketplace – with the changes affecting budgets and spending, which changes companies and careers. However, you can gather visitors to one-off entertainment, which I think describes YouTube. It remains true that communities consistently excellent and authentic content is very difficult for corporations to create consistently. Notice that at last comment fits traditional PR activities as easily as it does the latest attempts at community-building.

1.) The idea of companies hiring “conversationalists” to ignite conversations rather than just transmit the latest information (press release, story pitch, etc.) is not really new. I believe that all good media relations, public relations, and communications require good conversationalists, persons that can write, speak, and even pitch in the authentic language of both the reporter/editor and the audience. So, every communication requires authenticity to be well-received. This authenticity is what generates a conversation, either with the reporter/editor or – most recently – with the audience at the online community.

2.) No question that media continues to fragment – and I’m not sure it will reassemble. Targeting audiences at the locations (such as online communities) where they aggregate is the latest challenge. In addition to the fractionating audience, there are many new channels and technologies to reach these divergent audiences. Citizen editors are not paid and I wonder if they will stick it out for the long-term or just experiment in today’fascinating and empowering environment of citizen journalism.

3.) The market will judge the authenticity of these ignited conversations as the market develops.

4.) Yes. As a proponent of quality (think W. Edwards Deming), measurement is a critical part of continuous improvement. As new technologies and methods (think Web 2.0 companies) emerge, testing what works is key to spending marketing dollars in the right place.

5.) Several factors influence the format of a Press Release. The new format offered by Shift is certainly valid – and better – for certain markets. Factors, such as the desired audience, which can still be a reporter or editor, who may be less interested in other formats (e.g., video or PDF), additional material (i.e., photo and logo), and additional contacts (Should everyone have direct access to the spokesperson? Does the CEO want to handle each media inquiry from the outset?). Plus, Digg,, and Technorati ranking may help some PR clients by reaching the right audience, but not all. Technorati mentions that a recent Pew Internet study claims there are 75,000 new blogs a day. I note that even being in the top 3% of sites tracked by Technorati won’t help much because they track 48.9 million sites and 2.7 billion links as of the date of this post.

6.) RSS feeds are great and the more targeted the better. For our clients, they should maintain this on their Web sites.

7.) Media Planning is one way to talk about publicity strategy and tactical execution. Our firm often faces competitors that talk the “integrated marketing” story, while having little PR expertise and no effective integration. Similarly, the largest firms in the Advertising industry continue to acquire firms in tangential markets, such as PR, Web deb, etc. These roll-up efforts maintain revenue growth but have little effect on the companies in our market.

8.) The lack of technology savvy in the PR is no surprise to us.

9.) Mr. Lark mentions the many hosted applications that are increasingly available and which will certainly change the way everyone works. I see a real need to integrate these into a single system that truly serves the need of the client. Point solutions are fine ways to prove technologies and gain markets. Suites of integrated, logically consistent functionalities are what clients (and agencies) want.

10.) OPML is an XML form commonly used to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators. This allows an RSS news feed to be integrated into another application, such as a PIM (Personal Information Manager).

Landline Bundles Appeal, But Broadband More Compelling Than Phone

In-Stat (19 July 2005) research corroborates my last post about the changes facing landline telecom carriers (ILEC, CLEC).

The survey specifically assesses bundled telecom services. Bundling of services reinforces the tie between the supplier and customer and counters competition, specifically switching carriers (providers).

The most interesting finding is that subscribers are bundling around Internet service more often than telephone service (local) or video (satellite or cable), which bodes well for independent IP-based services, such as Voice over IP (VoIP), IP-based video services, online gaming, chat, music, or Plain Old Web Browsing (POWB, my joking alternative to POTS, Plain Old Telephone Service).

In-Stat says half of the US residential market purchased a package, consisting of multiple telecommunications services, from a single carrier. This is up from just one-third in 2004. Note that capturing this percentage leaves less and slower potential for any growth of these bundled services. They say only fourteen (14%) percent of non-subscribers (non-bundled subscribers?) expect to adopt them in the next year.

“The following are typical of bundling and findings of In-Stat: – Providers give greater discounts for a higher number of services and revenue. Half surveyed by In-Stat say (a) lower price was the factor in taking the bundle. – Average revenue per user is an opportunity, but new enticements are needed.

Mobile Lines Overtake Landlines & The Evolution of Mobile Advertising

First, one should note this shift from landlines to mobile telephone lilnes, which is changing the basis of competition for traditional telecommunications carriers, Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILEC) and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC), alike. Higher end services, such as data, are now driving the thinking at the big carriers, which see their landline numbers declining. This is ironic for them I’m sure, because for a while people were adding lines for faxes and dial-up modems and they could hardly keep pace.

Second, my comment on Mobile Advertising is that conceptually it has been around for a while. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has had a special interest group with many sessions. Map data providers, integrators, and advertisers have developed the applications that now dot in-vehicle map systems and Web-based map-related, sponsored advertising links, such as you find on Mapquest, Google Maps, or However, as I walk down the street with a Palm, Pocket PC, or other data-capable mobile phone – I don’t go out of my way to get it today. So, we’ll see how compelling this becomes. URL: Evolution of Mobile Advertising

 On “CBS News Unveils Web Strategy”

On "CBS News Unveils Web Strategy." Television broadcasters have enjoyed continuing streams of revenues from advertising – even increasing streams, even after these are proving less effective for advertisers. Viewership clearly is fractured, no longer just three (anyone remember?) or four television/video channels. In addition, online everything – Web, new media (video), VoIP, chat, and gaming – are all compelling, non-TV activities that are capturing majorities of some demographic segments (=young males).

So, as advertisers slowly make their way to more compelling and effective alternatives to television advertising, it is not surprising to see that some TV broadcasters have noticed and are doing something about it.

The jury is still out on the ability of the broadcasting industry to adjust to disruptive competition.

CBS still must be sensitive to competing with local affiliates and cable operators. Plus, Web-based content must fit an audience that CBS wishes to serve.

The Web visitor that CBS wants to reach is not in today's TV viewer demographic. Or if this CBS Web visitor is in the current market, then what new demographic do they reach out to and capture. Is it a strategy to stop the bleeding? Of ad revenues? Of viewership? It is difficult to imagine that CBS can stop a migration away from the perception of one-size-fits-all content. The ability to tailor your feed of "one-size-fits-all content" will not capture new markets, stem the flow of viewers and advertising dollars to other media or different, Web-based content.

I wish CBS well, but we'll see what happens.


Skype & Mobility, Smartphone Choices for the Future

IP Telephony & Ubiquitous WiFi Are Coming

IP-based (Internet Protocol) telephony is certain to overtake switched-circuit telephony. Skype leads in the number of Voice over IP (VoIP) users and certainly has a global reach. Mobile telephone handsets will eventually communicate via IP. Now, there are some handsets, notably from Nokia, that are WiFi and coming as WiMax, and which also have switched circuit capability. In addition, Nokia’s 770, a Linux OS tablet for about US$350 and WiFi, shows the possibility of these devices becoming phones. In fact the 770 looks a little like the 7100, which has no WiFi capability. T-Mobile and others, such as around Cleveland OH (thanks to my CASE alumni news) are building hotspots and ubiquitous WiFi coverage that portends a future of wireless IP communications that will include voice.

Carriers Continue To Make User-Unfriendly Choices About Bluetooth & WiFi

So, yes I need a new handset. My Samsung, Palm OS phone no longer accepts input via the stylus. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for the handset of my dreams. The best for the moment might be a handheld mobile-phone-PDA with WiFi and switched circuit calling that runs the Skype application on Microsoft’s Pocket PC (PPC) Operating System (OS). There are some photos on the Web of the Skype founder/CEO using such a device. HTC (Taiwan) makes some nice devices, but US wireless carriers, such as Sprint don’t offer the WiFi version (guess why?), because you can bypass the carrier via the local wireless connection, in this case WiFi. Verizon Wireless was also taken to task on this issue, disabling the bluetooth in a handset it carries, so that subscribers have to send photos over the carriers own network rather than locally to the user’s PC with bluetooth.

Useful Smartphone Features & Future Products

Is it just me, or do suppliers try to impress you with features you don’t really use, such as still or video cameras, mp3 players, etc? My iPod Photo is just fine for music, as are my respective cameras for video and still photography. OK, after a little online searching the QDA700 from is the closest to what I have and looks nice, just that I can’t buy it yet. Also, I discovered that Sprint’s replacement the Samsung i550 was canceled and that Samsung’s i539 Smartphone will get launched in China. Well, the Siemens SX66 looks pretty sweet, but I’m gonna look again later.

 Mobile Phone Pick: E-TEN M500 Pocket PC (EN)

Well, after an investigation to the point of no return, I decided on an E-TEN M500 Pocket PC (EN). You can’t actually buy them from a US carrier, but Expansys has every new toy that any bleeding-edge technology adopter could ever want. Gladly, I only need one phone cause there are so many good ones.

I got it for the ability to accept a card with WiFi (802.11b/g access to run Skype (note, below), possibly upgrade to Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, small, and it looked cool. I haven’t used a keyboard input on a handheld since my HP 95 LX (ran DOS), so I opted not to get a device with a keypad and no keypad/keyboard makes the device much smaller.

I’m consolidating accounts at T-Mobile for price-especially with any data package (want to pay $0.25 each to e-mail a photo and no WiFi, then pick Cingular), decent coverage, and roaming WiFi access. I don’t believe it is likely that Deutsche Telekom would sell T-Mobile (other recent blog posts, so I decided not to worry about it.

I admit that PalmOS and synchronization of address book information have always worked. If you are over 40, you might like a bigger screen than the Samsung i-500 (PalmOS) or i-600 (Pocket PC = PPC). My i-500’s screen stopped accepting input from the stylus, so its time to change.

Previously, I posted this on “Skype & Mobility” IP-based (Internet Protocol) telephony is certain to overtake switched-circuit telephony. Skype leads in the number of Voice over IP (VoIP) users and certainly has a global reach. Mobile telephone handsets will eventually communicate via IP.

Now, there are some handsets, notably from Nokia, that are WiFi and coming as WiMax, and which also have switched circuit capability. In addition, Nokia’s 770, a Linux OS tablet for about US$350 and WiFi, shows the possibility of these devices becoming phones. In fact the 770 looks a little like the 7100, which has no WiFi capability. T-Mobile and others, such as around Cleveland OH (thanks to my CASE alumni news) are building hotspots and ubiquitous WiFi coverage that portends a future of wireless IP communications that will include voice. So, yes I need a new handset.

My Samsung, Palm OS phone no longer accepts input via the stylus. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for the handset of my dreams. The best for the moment might be a handheld mobile-phone-PDA with WiFi and switched circuit calling that runs the Skype application on Microsoft’s Pocket PC (PPC) Operating System (OS). There are some photos on the Web of the Skype founder/CEO using such a device. HTC (Taiwan) makes some nice devices, but US wireless carriers, such as Sprint don’t offer the WiFi version (guess why?), because you can bypass the carrier via the local wireless connection, in this case, WiFi. Verizon Wireless was also taken to task on this issue, disabling the Bluetooth in a handset it carries, so that subscribers have to send photos over the carriers network rather than locally to the user’s PC with Bluetooth.

Is it just me, or do suppliers try to impress you with features you don’t really use, such as still or video cameras, mp3 players, etc? My iPod Photo is just fine for music, as are my respective cameras for video and still photography. OK, after a little online searching the QDA700 from is the closest to what I have and looks nice, just that I can’t buy it yet. Also, I discovered that Sprint’s replacement the Samsung i550 was canceled and that Samsung’s i539 Smartphone will get launched in China. Well, the Siemens SX66 looks pretty sweet, but I’m gonna look again later.
** Note: Sprint just picked up a new PalmOS phone with keyboard input.

What Happened to My Technorati Profile?

Technorati profiles are history.


Update 7-2-2018

The Technorati blog index and rankings are gone.

As of 2016, Technorati was acquired by Synacor.

Blog indexes were one backlink for SEO and a source of curation for the early Web 2.0

Here is a TechCrunch article on Technorati, just after my 2005 blog post: Technorati Beta Profile.

Here is a 2014 post on the sunsetting of Technorati: RIP Technorati Blog Search & Rankings: The Once Popular Blog Tools Have Been Sunset.

From Wikipedia on Technorati:

Technorati was a publisher advertising platform that served as an advertising solution for the thousands of websites in its network.[3]Technorati launched its ad network in 2008, and at one time was one of the largest ad networks reaching more than 100 million unique visitors per month.[4] The name Technorati was a portmanteau of the words technology and literati, which invokes the notion of technological intelligence or intellectualism.

The company’s core product was previously an Internet search engine for searching blogs. The website stopped indexing blogs and assigning authority scores in May 2014 with the launch of its new website, which is focused on online publishing and advertising.[7] Technorati was founded by Dave Sifry, with its headquarters in San FranciscoCaliforniaUSAKevin Marks was the site’s Principal Engineer.[8] Tantek Çelik was the site’s Chief Technologist.