Never See Another Google Ad Again

I was just posting a comment on Scoble’s Blog about advertising and I mentioned that I don’t even see Google Adsense advertisements. That gave me an idea to share what I do. I don’t know if everyone knows this but what the heck you might be interested.

I use Firefox, the new shiny 2 actually. There is an extension, or I should say “add-ons”; as they have changed the name now (not sure why, anyone know?) called Adblock which I have installed. You can customise which advertisements you do not want to see by filtering elements at the source address, or just right click and select block. You can also view all the blockable elements on a page or white list a whole page. Plus a lot of other options and features.

So to block Google Adsense ads on any site you visit put this in your filter set under options:

http://googlesyndication.com*

The “*” is a wild card that blocks the domain regardless of sub domain addresses (I think I got that right!). That is all you have to do, no more Google Ads – woot! (although I do know of someone that likes Google ads, personal choice I guess)
There is one other alternative and it too is a Firefox Extension called Adblock Plus. I have never used it so I can not comment on how good it is but it does appear on the top Extension for Firefox so that speaks volumes.

You could also choose to install Adblock Filterset.G Updater  which blocks most ads on the Internet. Adblock Filterset.G Updater is a companion to both Adblock and Adblock Plus and should be used with either. This extension automatically downloads updates every four to seven days. This is a “nuke all” approach and may be what you are looking for.

You are probably wondering why I block certain ads and not others. Well the simple answer is that I block the ones that annoy me, Google Adsense ads annoy me, a lot. Especially the sites that go overboard and have half a page of them. The rest that don’t annoy me as much I leave as they are.

The reason I do this is that I feel that ads are sometimes a part of a sites experience and feel. Sure you can go the totally sterile approach if you wish, but if an ad is unobtrusive and doesn’t cause nasty things to happen then that is fine with me. Another good reason to block ads and banners is that they save you bandwidth and speed up your surfing experience. Especially if your connection is a bit on the slower side.  The other reason that I leave a lot is because of the podcast. It is sometimes good to know who has what ads on their site so you can spot those “cash for comment” posts or maybe a bias report or something like that. I also like knowing what is going on rather than leaving it up to a filter set, I am a control freak.

I know this post has been about Firefox’s ability to install great add-ons to the browser and that is because if you use Internet Explorer you are buggered and have to look at ads if you want to or not. Choice is great, do yourself a favour and choose Firefox.

Firefox 2 Rediscover the Web Again Banner

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Marketing Podcasting

I was reading Don Thorson’s Blog today and he was talking about “Whole Product“. Marketing he says:

“…come[s] down to a few basic rules. They’re basically the same rules we were taught in our first marketing class.”

I am not a marketer, nor have I studied it in any great detail. I would however say that I do marketing. I have been marketing The Global Geek Podcast since it’s inception as well as this blog and the brands associated with them. So given Don’s formulae I thought that I might try to apply them to podcasting and see what I come up with.

The rules of marketing are simple enough:

  1. Does it solve a problem?
  2. Is it easy to understand?
  3. Is it easy to get?
  4. Is it easy to use?
  5. Is it easy to share?

Does Podcasting Solve a Problem?

In my opinion podcasting is an audio or content delivery system. So I would answer yes to this question. You have content that you want to share and “casting” it is a solution. Syndicating your podcast is a method that makes it available to your listeners. Although that statement is a bit of a weird one because podcasting is syndication of audio content.

Podcasting also solves the problem that radio does not always deliver the content that I want to listen to. More often than not the radio is terrible and contains content that I have no interest in at all. The radio also demands that I listen to it at a certain time in order to listen to the content that I am interested in.

I can listen to podcasts when I want to for how long I want to. So podcasts are “on demand” they do not dictate to the listener, the listener gains more control over what they listen to. That in my opinion means that podcasters need to remember that they have an audience that knows these things and that they should “target” their audience.

Is It Easy to Understand?

You say “podcast” to someone and more often than not you will get a dumb look. The dumb look is not their fault. Podcasting is a new media delivery method, it has not become mainstream. This presents a problem, does that automatically mean that it is hard to understand just because it is a new “product”? I don’t think it should be.

I try to explain podcasting as: A radio show on the Internet. That at least fits into the category of a product that can be explained in five words or less. It would probably pass the “Mum test” as well. But I do think that seriously undercuts what podcasting really is and because of stereo types causes the other person to make some inaccurate assumptions.

This is especially true when you look at the Wikipedia definition of a podcast which is 123 words long! But it does take into the account the special attributes that make podcasts very appealing.

However, John Dodds in his “Geek Marketing 101” Post makes me feel a little better in that he states that:

“Reductive marketing that simplifies ideas does not undersell your complex creation.”

In other words, just because you describe something simply does not mean that you are selling your idea short or degrading it’s potential. So maybe my very simplistic definition is a good one for people that have never heard of podcasting. The idea and the medium itself is not a difficult one to understand but the fact that it is wrapped up in “geekology” and “tech” does cause a block. They think that because it uses a computer and the Internet it is hard to understand. Which means the delivery is important.

Is It Easy to Get?

This is where I think the idea of podcasting is a failure as far as a marketing is concerned. No, I do not think it will fail but the current state of podcasting means that there are issues with accessibility, especially for the new listener.

The simplist way to listen to a podcast is a flash player on a website where a podcast calls home. Any podcast should have one for this reason. Vist the page and hit play, it could not get any simpler right. But, this type of listener is not taking advantage of podcasting especially if you are applying the strict definition where according to Wikipedia:

“Though podcasters’ web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital audio formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.”

So someone listening off the web page is not listening to a podcast, they are listening to streaming media that calls itself a podcast. Strange but true according to the definition.

For a listener to subscribe to a podcast via an RSS reader or aggregator that supports enclosures is; in my opinion is one of the biggest failures of podcasting. Podcasts or any feed for that matter are not easy to understand or subscribe to. This needs to be simplified in a big way for podcasts to “take off”.

I have managed to get one friend that I know of to understand how to subscribe to feeds and podcasts and use it regularly. He is a fairly smart person and computer literate, even then on more than one occasion I had to assist him to subscribe to a feed or understand something about RSS feeds, or his aggregator. What hope is there for the person that just uses their computer to email and look at a few [add interest here] sites? Or the person that has no help at all, who I can almost guarantee will give up soon after clicking a feed button and they see the raw RSS feed and write it off, who wouldn’t?:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>Liftoff News</title>
    <link>http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/</link>
    <description>Liftoff to Space Exploration.</description>
    <language>en-us</language>
    <pubDate>Tue, 10 Jun 2003 04:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
    <lastBuildDate>Tue, 10 Jun 2003 09:41:01 GMT</lastBuildDate>
    <docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>
    <generator>Weblog Editor 2.0</generator>
    <managingEditor>editor@example.com</managingEditor>
    <webMaster>webmaster@example.com</webMaster>

etc…

Once a user has got this far they need to either listen to the media on their computer or transfer the file to an MP3 player. This for some people is put in the “too hard basket”. Listening to it on the computer negates the “on demand” concept I talked about earlier in so much as they are restricted to listening to it when they are on their computer. It also makes a podcast a less attractive product.

There are moves however that are dealing with the complexities of subscribing to content. As much as I loathe iTunes I think part of it’s success has to do with the fact that it makes this process easy. Subscribing, downloading, transferring to a portable player – it is all done seamlessly. I am sure that some iTunes users have no idea they are subscribed to an RSS feed. You can get up in the morning, the iPod is charged with new content and off you go.

Firefox 2 that launched this week is also a step closer to making RSS feeds more accessible, one click subscribing to an RSS feed with the aggregator of your choice. At least when users click on the RSS feed link they get a note at the top of the screen explaining what it is and what they can do about it. IE 7 also has better RSS management as of the latest release. This makes podcasts that much easier to get. Although Windows Media Player is yet to see the light, which is poor to say the least and little wonder Apple has the market wrapped up, at present anyway.

Podcasts and RSS feed subscription has to become seamless and invisible for it to hit mainstream. Otherwise podcasts and feeds will just remain a neat geek technology trick.

Is It Easy to Use?

I think most people can play a music file now, or an .mp3 file. Here is one of the powerful aspects of podcast marketing, if you can double-click or press play then you can listen to a podcast. The fact that even a basic install of a computer recognises file types and associates the appropreate application to play it with. From a listener’s perspective once you can get your hands on the file it is easy and accessible. Even vidcasts would fit into the easy to use category.

Don says that at Apple they had a rule:

“”1 minute after they start to use it , they feel like calling their friends”. ……” You will not believe what I just got””

I am sure that given insight into the powerful medium, a listener would see the advantages of the medium. That is of course assuming they have downloaded a quality podcast and not something that has awful production and content. Podcasters, you are ambassadors for podcasting and it’s future, indeed your own future as a podcaster. I am sure there is a marketing rule that says something like: “make sure that you have a product that people will want”. If I have described a listeners first experience of a podcast and that is you, please just try again there is some great, great content out there of any topic you care to name. There is a pile of rubbish as well, like anything.

Is It Easy to Share?

I had to think about what sharing is within the product of podcasting. Can I easily share an .mp3 file? Yes, I could do that but but it is not really sharing the “concept” of podcasting. That is the key, podcasting is not a thing, it is a concept. How do you convince people that you have a concept that is worth having? You become a podcasting evangelist; that is how.

I talk to people when ever I can about podcasting, blogging and whatever else might be associated with it. I have found that you don’t have to sit people down and give them the Podcasting 101 talk (unless they want it, then great).

I am reminded of someone that I work with, about as much of an anti-geek as you could find. More of a “hippy” than anything geek. She has heard me talking about podcasting and she has even asked how she could listen to a show. Yes she has listened to a show. I have mentioned small things about the show or how things have been going to her. The other day she come right out of the blue and asked me how the new co-host was working out! Blew me away. No, she is not a podcasting guru now, but she knows what a podcast is and she won’t give you the “cow in the headlights look” if you said “podcast”. That in my opinion is marketing podcasting, moving it from the geek arena to the mainstream at this present time involves word of mouth education and enlightenment of everyday people to the medium.

This is not about marketing a specific show, that is a another mega post it is about podcasting and marketing the concept. Making the medium understood in the public. Understanding leads to acceptance, use and finally demand. Understanding exerts pressure on developers to overcome the “Easy to Get” problem.

“Marketing is a conversation, but most people don’t speak geek.”

– Rule Number 2 of Geek Marketing

So yes podcasting is easy to share. Do you know about podcasting and subscribe to some yourself? If you can answer yes to this then tell people about it. You might have a podcast in your iPod, people ask you what you are listening to, offer them a listen. Get them interested in wanting the content then they will want to know how. Why not assist someone to set up an aggregator to subscribe to podcasts? Once you have got someone hooked on podcasts they will want to tell others as well. Demonstrate by example how it is done. Something that I do is to wear my “The Podcast Network” T-Shirt as soon as it is washed and ironed! It is a great way to start a conversation.

This is really my take on Geek Marketing 101 Rule Number 10:

10) Marketing demystifies.

“As the conversations develop, the users comprehend your products better and you better understand their needs. With increased confidence, they utilise more and more of your geekiness and, with increased awareness, you are better able to adapt to their behaviours. They feel more warmly about geeks and you may get the chance to buy them a drink. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?”

Nope.

My conclusion is that podcasting is a marketable product or concept but there are significant blocks to it becoming a successful one. Given the rules of marketing it fails. Podcasts solve a problem, are relatively easy to understand, use and share but they are hard to get. Four out of Five is not bad for a new technology medium. But for it to be a successful whole product it has to make five out of five. The main hurdle is that software remains relatively complicated and detailed and the user requires some assistance to set up. For podcasting to be a “whole product” we need to make the process of accessability one that is seamless within the user experience. They should be able to subscribe and listen to podcasts without needing to know anything about an RSS feed or an enclosure. It should be as simple as clicking “play”.

I am not sure how I have done as a marketer in this post, but it has made me really think about podcasting and viewing it as a product. Any real marketers out there have an opinion?

Australian Dictionary for Firefox 2

Yesterday I summarized my impressions of Firefox 2. In that summary I was said that one of my favourite features of the new version was the real time spell checking. I also said that I hoped that in time we would see custom dictionaries come online for users. Who was I kidding, this is the open source community and I should have remembered just how innovative it is.

So I was browsing the newest Firefox extensions (I should say “add-ons” but I can’t stand it) and I noticed that in the last couple of days that some different dictionaries were coming online. Such as the “Icelandic dictionary for Firefox 2.0 spell checker” and that got me thinking… Hell, if Iceland have a custom dictionary then us Aussies should have one! Yup; sure enough the English (Australian) Dictionary by Cameron is available now. Just a note though, you have to right click within an editing field and select the dictionary that you want Firefox to use as it stays as the default otherwise.

In addition to my thoughts yesterday //engtech had a take on the fox as well. It is good to see what others think of the new version. I have also removed the close tab X from the individual tabs thanks to the post. Now I have no close tab buttons at all which is great. Why I did this is because tonight on this post when I clicked the tab that this post was in I almost closed it, that would have been bad. Plus I did not like the way they looked in my theme at all, Yuk.

The other thing is that I had no idea that WordPress had an “Advanced Post Editor”! Thanks //engtech for the tip. If you are a WordPress.com user, you can make these tools visible in the WYSIWYG post editor by pressing Alt-Shift-V. The tool bar has some nice features that might come in useful in the future.

Advanced Editing Tool bar for WordPress

Firefox 2, First Impressions

So I have now installed and have been using Firefox 2 for the last two hours. Here are my first impressions in short hand.

  • Installing was a breeze (as you might expect)
  • The process of making my extensions work was also fairly easy
  • The seamless importing of my bookmarks and extensions was appreciated
  • I had no trouble with my theme that I love working as an update was made (Noia 2.0 (eXtreme). Ironically I am yet to see the new default theme in action.
  • I did have some trouble getting the Tool Bar for RoboForm to be put back where I last saw it. I ended up having to install a new version and it seemed to just appear. I have no idea as to if this was a compatibility issue or something else.
  • I especially like the integration of my RSS reader into Firefox. This is a nice touch as it adds to the accessibility of RSS feeds to users, for me it just makes life a lot easier.
  • The auto fill for searching is great and seems to work, although I have not used it a lot yet
  • Better management of the search plugins is good. Previously deleting a search was acomplished with an “addon” (I hate the new name for extensions!)
  • I hate the red X in the tabs, as I said in a previous post you can close tabs with a middle click (mouse wheel) and I could not see the point of putting it in. It makes my theme look a little dirty and not quite as slick
  • The extra security features are a nice inclusion and the more advanced settings appreciated
  • But by far my most appreciated and most used feature in the last two hours is the inbuilt spell checker for typed words on a page, in real time. I can not spell – period. This feature works in comments, blog posting in an AJAX interface, just about everything! So far has been right every time! I love it. I sincerely hope that in time this feature improves with country specific dictionaries and such. Although at present you can add words to a custom dictionary

While there is a lot more that could be said, these are the things that have struck me over the last couple of hours. I like Firefox 2 and I am looking forward to using the features. Damn this spell check is good, post spell checked already…

Great work from the Mozilla crew yet again. The best browser just got better.

Firefox 2

Support Firefox 2.0

Firefox 2I already knew about this website but until today I did not know they had updated the buttons.

Spread Firefox is a promotional site for Firefox or more to the point it explains and provides resources for you to spread the word about Firefox and in part Thunderbird. Thunderbird is the email client from the Mozilla people.

One of the ways that they assist people is to create buttons for you to use in your blog or email signature. I was posting about Firefox 2 on the podcast blog and I looked to see if there were any Firefox 2 buttons, there was not. But today I notice that they are now available and the one you see here is just one.

The HTML code is provided for you on the page. Just copy and paste the text provided into the HTML where you want to display the logo.

There are some other very cool projects that Spread Firefox is involved with and they have a very active user base, so if interested then head on over and sign up as an affiliate.

By the way the page that the link redirects you to has yet to be updated with links to the new version, patience. As I said in my previous post, the final version has only just hit the Mozilla FTP 24 hours ago.

Firefox 2 Out Now!

I was just reading that Firefox 2 is due out tomorrow. But I have a hot tip for you… It is already there!

Firefox 2 is available right now on their FTP server [link removed, see comments]. So get in quick while the load will be smaller because they have not publicized it yet.

If you are not comfortable using FTP the great guys over at Cybernet News have put together a downloader, just select the language from the drop-down and click your Operating System of choice and it should come right at you as a download.

Officially the new version will not be out until tomorrow, if you want to wait. But as I said the rush will be on then!

Me I am way too tired to tackle it today. That is a job for tomorrow, but I will definitely check it out this week so we can talk about it on the podcast next week. I have been told also that nearly all of the popular extensions are supported in Firefox 2, which is good to know.

If you happen to come across an extension that is not supported then there are ways around it. I have collected articles of the RSS that will come in handy and this post: Firefox 2: Making your old extensions work from Download Squad in September will have all the tools and tips to help you out. Hope that helps.

UPDATE: Due to the blog post from Mozilla, the link to the FTP Server has been removed from this post. However, you can now officially download Firefox 2 from Mozilla. I will state however that I some what agree with some of the sentiments expressed in the comments of the post.