Monthly Archives: February 2010

Social Media

And they’re off! Bill Gates followed by 140,000 in just 1 day

A year ago Bill Gates described social networking websites as ‘way too much trouble’. Some people took this to as an indication of his disappointment that Microsoft has failed to make any effective play in the Social Networking space.

But in January Gates u-turned and signed up to Twitter. His account became verified (certified as officially his) and a Tweet quickly followed: “Hello World. Hard at work on my foundation letter – publishing on 1/25.”

And then the mad rush to follow @BillGates started. By the end of just half a day, Gates had smashed all records and had amassed 140,000 followers.

Now of course he’s up to 469,723

He’s used his @BillGates account so far to raise awareness of Haiti, and other activities that the Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation is getting up to. Supporting thousands of causes in hundreds of countries, this is no doubt an effective way to publicize their activity.

Gates is not without celebrity followers though. He said to Ashton Kutcher: “thanks to you and all the other people who have welcomed me.”

At around the same time Gates signed up to Facebook too. Since Microsoft have a small stake in the business it’s a surprise that this hasn’t happened before. The first links added to his Facebook page were for his foundation and to Microsoft.

The previous first day follower record was by Oprah Winfrey who notched up 130,000 followers on day 1.

Interested in what Bill Gates is up to? Why not follow @BillGates on Twitter. And whilst you’re at it you can follow @webeden too ;-)

How many followers did you amass by the end of your first day on Twitter? Got any good tips of how to increase your follower base? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Have you got the Google BUZZ?

The Internet is awash with rumour, chatter, and excitement. Buzz, in other words. And its a specific type of Buzz: Google Buzz.

Yesterday marked the official launch of Google’s latest attempt to muscle in on the Social Media revolution, Google Buzz. It seems the search engine and self appointed keeper of the Internet feels that the likes of Twitter and Facebook are leaving it behind.

Google Tries Again

Google have tried social media before. There’s Google Chat, Orkut, Picasa, Social Search and of course the damps squib that was Google Wave. None of these have really hit the money.

Google Buzz is an expansion of Google’s Gmail service. It allows users to post status updates (similar to Twitter and Facebook), share content, and read friends’ posts. The service is automatically hooked into a few photo sharing services. It is also slotted into Google maps, so you can see where people in your follower list actually are.

Google have placed Buzz inside Gmail since that service is already used by around 170 million people.

My experience of Buzz

Only 1% of current Gmail users have been allowed a trial of the service. I’m lucky enough to be part of that 1%, so here’s what I found:

The link to Buzz sits just below the Inbox link. You’re automatically following and followed by people who you regularly send and receive email with. Open conversations scroll down the page in a way similar to Google Wave. You can post replies specifically @ a users gmail address, or to all followers.

It’s quite cool the way Picasa and other photo sharing services are fully integrated. You get access to the high res versions of images without leaving the page.

You can also see when people you follow make comments on other websites, as long as they are signed in to their Google account when they do it. The system also links up with your Google profile.

Google Buzz product manager Todd Jackson said that it was “an entirely new world in Gmail”.

Here’s a video that describes it a bit better than I can:

Whatever your thoughts about Buzz, it does mean that the ‘social web’ is becoming increasingly important. And as a website owner this is yet another opportunity to use the social web to reach out to new potential visitors.

Make sure you add social bookmarking buttons on your website, allowing your visitors to share your content.

Integrate your WebEden website with Facebook and Twitter, try to send updates to Facebook and Twitter,  and invite people in your social sphere to become a member of your website.

Add your Twitter feed to your website so that users can interact with you on that platform too.

Anyone else got the Buzz? Do you think that this catapults Google into the social media space? Any other ways to integrate your WebEden website with the social web? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Business Owners: What to say on Twitter

Many business owners are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. People feel like Twitter is something ‘they have to do’. There’s talk about the need to ’embrace your customers’ and to ‘have a conversation’ with them.

But what exactly does that mean? How can you just start talking to people, out of the blue, without a reason?

We’ve already provided a guide on how to sign up to Twitter. And elsewhere we’ve given you some ideas about how to get to grips with Twitter.

Here’s a more in depth list that business owners might want to try.

1. Tweet the headline to your latest blog post. When you add a new post to you blog, unless users are following it via RSS the chances are they won’t be aware of it. Its only when they remind themselves to check your website that they might happen along. Twitter is a great way to alert your follows to the exciting new article you’ve added to your blog.

2. Tweet when you update your prices and offers. Make sure followers are aware of price changes – especially sales – so they can take advantage of a deal. This is a way of rewarding them for following you.

3. Tweet when you’ve got problems. It might seem unusual to a traditional business, but it’s a good idea to let your followers know when you’re experiencing problems with your products or service. Rather than be put off, Twitterers will appreciate your openness.

4. Help people with customer support. Whilst Twitter shouldn’t be the primary or only support channel, it’s a good idea to help people who have a problem. To start with, they will appreciate you helping them in an open way. Secondly, it’s the opportunity to demonstrate your customer service skills to everyone watching the conversation. And lastly, others may be experiencing similar problems so you will be solving them too.

5. Ask questions. Twitter gives you a direct, open, instant, one to many channel to use for research. Find out what people like about your product and what they don’t. Ask them what they want to see more of. If you compile the responses into a poll you can then feed the results back to your Twitter community, sharing what everyone thinks.

6. Do you hold events, seminars, attend conferences or similar? Use Twitter to communicate your presence at these locations, and retweet news from other people attending the event.

7. Hold a competition. Twitter can be a great platform to run a competition on. Ask your followers to retweet news of the competition as an entry to the competition. You need to make the prize sufficiently juicy to incentivise entrees.

Don’t for get to use Twitter search to monitor mentions of your company. It might be that you can get involved, ask questions, and address concerns even though a question or comment hasn’t been directed specifically to you. Be aware though that this may be a bit intrusive – many Twitter users forget that the platform lets anyone see what they’re saying

That’s all I have for now. Do you have any other suggestions about good things to say on twitter? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Clean up your Twitter with The Twit Cleaner

Today we’ve got another Guest Blog by Alison Cross from This time its all about Twitter tool ‘The Twit Cleaner’.

Its Almost Springtime!

Spring is about to be sprung so while you are busy hoovering dust bunnies from beneath the beds why not give your Twitter account a bit of a spring clean too?

Fortunately, instead of spending hours trawling down the back of your Twitter account for sticky spambots and dusty twitterers, there is a marvellous tool to make this tedious chore a breeze: The Twit Cleaner.

What does The Twit Cleaner do?

What Twitcleaner does is run through all the people you follow and sorts out the time-wasters, spammers, the boring, the bots etc. All without you having to lift a feather duster…

All you need to do is allow the twitcleaner account access to your Twitter account – which uses the secure ‘oauth’ scheme (which means the twitcleaner people don’t get to know your twitter account passwords etc)

The Twit Cleaner Report

Twitcleaner compiles a report that shows just how many of the people that you follow are, frankly, a bit rubbish.

The report splits them into groups:

a.. People that aren’t following you back
b.. people that tweet nothing but links
c.. tweet the same links all the time (ie repetitive behaviour)
d.. folks that haven’t posted in a month
e.. accounts that totally ignore you
f.. accounts that hardly follow anyone

Be Selective!

Now, there are many reasons why accounts behave as they do, and Twitcleaner gives you the option to save some of those potentially rubbish accounts.

For example, if you follow celebrities such as @billgates or @tonyrobbins, they will pop up as an account that hardly follows anyone – but you’ll still want to continue following them if you’re interested in their work. If you want to save someone, just click on their icon and watch them fade off the report.

And purge those followers!

Satisfied that you’ve saved everyone that you want to save? Then hit the button and watch those dull, dreary tweeters vanish……

Twitcleaner is a really useful tool for keeping on top of your Twitterverse – after all, if you are using this for business, you want to make sure that the people you are following are worthwhile.

Twitcleaner is free and it will allow you to unfollow the folks that you agree are needing cleaned out of your account. However, if you need to unfollow more than 25,000 they will levy a charge for the unfollow!

Now, where did I leave my duster…

About Alison Cross
Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice about social media or web design, visit her website

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Social Media

When a URL shortener doesn’t shorten the URL

Those of you who are regular users of Twitter will already know what a URL Shortener is.

For those of you less familiar, a URL shortener…. shortens URLs! It makes website addresses shorter, so that it’s easier to paste into an email, a Tweet, or a text message.

For example, let’s say you wanted to show someone the WebEden video tutorial that shows you how to put AdSense on your website. The full URL is

If you’re trying to cut and paste that into a Tweet then it uses up lots of character space. Bear in mind that you only get 140 characters to make your point – this URL uses up 115 of them in one go.

If you put this long URL into a URL Shortener ( for example), you end up with Anyone clicking on this second link will automatically be sent onto the first, long URL. And this second URL is just 20 characters long, leaving you much more space to say other things.

There are lots of URL shortners out there. Popular ones include and

More and more big brands are launching them too. Google have, Facebook have

We often give Microsoft a hard time on this blog, but this time they have done something which deserves a bit of mirth. Because Microsoft’s search engine has launched a URL Shortener… which is in fact longer than their main URL!‘ is in fact 1 character longer than the normal domain! This may not seem like a big deal, but when the whole point of the product is to use up as few characters as possible, this seems an odd decision. As Techcrunch pointed out, there are other options including ‘’.

Have you tried using URL shorteners? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave us a comment below.

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Softwate Update

Cheap Website Icons thanks to ICON FINDER


You want to use icons on your website. You have a look at word and see what icons and clip Art came with your computer.

And what do you find? Not much of any use!

You then turn to the web, searching and scouring through the net trying to find the perfect icons for your web site. At best you only find a few icons in each set.

That’s where Icon Finder comes in.

Iconfinder provides high quality icons for web designers and developers in an easy and efficient way.

You can search through 147,174 icons or browse 417 icon sets – which ar constantly expanding.

This is a great place to find FREE icon packs for your website builder. It gives you the ability to search for a particular icon e.g. TWITTER. This will bring up hundreds of Twitter icons.

Once you have found the icon you were searching for you can then view the ICON PACK, this will give you all the icons that are designed in the same way.

So you can see all the icons for facebook, stumbleupon and RSS to name but a few.

This will make your site look more universal rather than having a Twitter logo designed one way and a Facebook logo designed another way.

Some packs do have licences which means you can use them for Personal Use only or you may have to provide a link back to the Author of the icons.

You can even download the .ico version of the image, so if you are using windows you can use them for folder images as alternatives to the standard folder symbol that you get.

Hey if you designed some Icons yourself then why not submit them and share them with the world? You could maybe even ask for a link back to your WebEden website!

Well if you decide to use any of these icons, let us know…

If you have any sites that offer the same or something similar then post a comment and help out your fellow designers.

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Social Media

Twitpic shows how to make money out of Twitter

We’ve speculated quite a bit about Twitter’s plans to make money. Whether it comes from integrating advertising with the search facility, or charging businesses to use the service, Twitter at some point will have to get the cash registers ringing.

Twitter might do well to take a look at the example set by 2008 start up Twitpic. The service lets Twitter users share photos on Twitter. It is integrated with many Twitter desktop applications such as Tweetdeck, and lets users post photos which are then linked to from their Tweets.

And the good news is that Twitpic has managed to turn a profit out of the service. Founder Noah Everett has said that the website made almost $2m in advertising revenue last year. Of that $700,000 was profit.

Everett said ” our projection is seen to put us at about three to four [million dollars] in about a year or so depending. And that’s our goal. As of right now with our current revenue we’re holding a 70% profit margin,”

Thanks to the successful integration with Twitter, Twitpic is now one of the 100 most visited sites in the world, with 6.5m registered users.

Apparently Everett was recently offered and 8 figure sum for the website. Not bad for a business less than 2 years old!

Following the speculation that Twitter is planning to launch commercial services, the company has been recruiting staff to focus on ‘monetisation projects’ including licensing deals and media partnerships.

Have you tried and liked Twitpic? Do you think Twitter’s future is in advertising, which Twitpic has shown can work so well? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Bing stops growing. Yahoo continues shrinking.

Bing was big news last year. Despite some ups and downs, Microsoft’s newest search engine, was generally judged to be a success.

The icing on the cake for Bing came when Yahoo and Microsoft tied up a search deal that would see Bing results replace Yahoos on several Yahoo properties.

But whilst that deal is tied up with US regulators, both companies are having a harder time in the current market place.

According to figures from web measurement firm ‘Neilsen’, the market share growth of Bing had come to a halt in December.

And the story is worse for Yahoo, which continued a decline which began several months – if not years – earlier.

9.9% of all US searches in December were on Bing, down from 10.7% in November,

Over the same period Yahoo slid from 15.3 % to 14.4%. Back in July Yahoo had as much as 17.1%.

No guesses for where this market share has gone: Google was up 1.9% in December to 67.3%. Back in August it was 64.6%.

Bing’s slide is all the more worrying for Microsoft because they had a big US advertising campaign for Bing in December, which positioned the service as a ‘decision engine’ rather than a search engine.

Of course these are all figures for the US. In the UK, Google powers close to 90% of all web searches.

Do you just stick to Google, or do you try all the others too? How do you know whether you prefer Google? Leave us a comment below.

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