November 26, 2014

What Do You Do to Give Back?

By Alexis G.

eGumball Inc. was proud to volunteer at the Share Our Selves food pantry on Tuesday, November 25th. A team of six employees spent the day sorting food and handing out bags filled with canned goods, desserts, and other Thanksgiving staples to families in need just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only was the cause honorable, but the team had a fantastic time working and meeting with other community volunteers.  eGumball Inc. and its employees were excited to participate in such a noteworthy cause and provide a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner to families in need around the Orange County area. Thank you Share Our Selves!

Happy Thanksgiving from eGumball!


What do you do to give back to the community? Share with us!

November 25, 2014

Uber’s Missteps Might Jeopardize Longevity of Company

By Lauren C.

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”-Henry Ford

The digital revolution has inspired countless gadgets and gizmos which have rendered older concepts of communication and transportation obsolete. The trend began with the rise of the automobile industry when entrepreneurs sought after ways for people to travel from Point A to Point B faster. When the automobile was invented, it wasn’t until large scale production of the automobile became commonplace that the working class could afford to take part in the auto craze.

The taxi cab is one type of vehicle that has become an American staple; a simple means for those to hitch a ride without worries of parking, drinking and driving, or leaving the car at the airport. Is it possible that someone has outdone this classic American means of transportation? Meet Uber, a digital alternative to an old fashioned method of travelling from Point A to Point B.

Uber is a ridesharing company that uses a smartphone application to manage rides between riders and drivers. Users download the application to their phone and then can then request a ride from drivers without ever having to make a phone call. The company is less regulated than taxi cabs, which has resulted in cheaper fees and more luxurious cars and pickups. This has made Uber enemy number one for taxi companies, who are burdened with heavy regulations and stuck with generic yellow vehicles for transport.

November 24, 2014

Amazon’s Fire Phone Smolders and Fizzles to Failure


































By Nick K.

Why was it extinguished?

The Amazon Fire Phone did not live up to consumers’ technology expectations because it was overpriced and exclusive only to AT&T. As a result, the only real fire created from Amazon’s smartphone was a significant loss in sales and an inventory of over $83 million in unsold smartphones.

Amazon tried to keep up with the times by releasing their own custom designed smartphone last July called the Amazon Fire Phone. The smartphone seemed promising during Amazon’s product presentation, especially because the Fire Phone included a sleek phone design, and a 3D user interface.

Amazon Fire Phone fizzled out because:

1.    Amazon Fire Phone tried to contend with the latest generation iPhone and Galaxy smartphones. Upon release the Fire Phone attempted to set the new standard for the next generation of smartphones until the release of the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 which ultimately put out dimly lit embers of the Fire Phone. 

2.    Amazon Fire Phone lacked popular smartphone features like Google Play applications and services. The Amazon Fire Phone ran a similar version of Android lacked basic Google applications like Hangouts, or Google+.

3.    The phone had a decent overall performance rating, but had overheating issues and an average-grade battery. The Fire Phone was no match compared to the latest generation of smartphones providing optimal performance and battery enhancements.

November 21, 2014

Cyber Monday Sending Black Friday into Darker Days

















By Justin H.

Black Friday, we are not scared of you anymore!

The novelty and aura of Black Friday has started to wear off in recent years for a variety of reasons, resulting in a changing of the guard. Gone are the days of camping out in a tent by the mall for 12 hours in hopes of getting your hands on the newest gadget. Instead we simply stay up a little past our bedtime constantly refreshing our search browser. Gone, too, are the fears of being mugged or trampled by a mob of seething shoppers at the mall. Because so many people now shop online, you will just encounter some unpleasant traffic.

At TekShouts!, we have shed plenty of light in the past on the Internet’s beneficial relationship with the retail industry, as well as the smartphone epidemic. Both of these ideologies hold true when it comes to holiday shopping. The rise of e-commerce has made Black Friday different than it once was. It can still be a fun and exciting day of shopping if you want it to be, but Cyber Monday is now just as powerful. In fact, CNBC even says that Cyber Monday has already overthrown its vaunted early-weekend foe in terms of providing deals for shoppers.

November 20, 2014

Social Media Strategy: How to Find Your Audience




















By Lewis J.

Let’s say that you are a small business owner. Business is good, but it could be better, and you want to find a way to increase sales, find new customers, and promote your company. The solution seems obvious: social media. Half of all Americans and one quarter of the global population have social media profiles, which is why so many companies use it to promote their products and services, create favorable public perception, and attract new business. Best of all, its costs are low, allowing you to compete on almost equal terms with your competitors, regardless of their size. 

Beginner Errors


It’s common for businesses to overextend themselves when moving into social media. They establish accounts on a wide range of platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram) and start pumping out material – posts, tweets, articles, and pics – without creating any appreciable results. Their content doesn’t draw fans, no one shares their posts, and it doesn’t bring in any new business. They become tired of updating their profile and eventually dismiss social media as commercially irrelevant, a passing fad with no return on investment.

Strategizing About Social Media


A select number of companies understand that effectively engaging with social media requires careful planning. The content you release and the platform you release it on have to be considered. Not all social media networks are created equally, and neither is the content that appeals to them. You need to target the social media site most popular with your customers and design content specific to it. Once you have successfully established yourself on one platform, only then should you consider branching out to another. 

November 19, 2014

Should We Have the Right to be Forgotten?

By Megan G.

As of September of this year, member states of European Union may legally seek the removal of certain links in Google result pages.  This ruling has been dubbed “the Right to be Forgotten,” because individuals may now request that Google takes down irrelevant, out-of-date, and most often defamatory links regarding the individuals’ names.  The SERPs “forget” these articles, and remove them from public access.  The removal of such links has also been referred to as “search de-listing.”  While Google has acquiesced to some of these requests, the company has refused to take down certain links, such as less-than-stellar reviews of individuals’ works or companies. 

An Attack on Google’s Main Domain 

Recently, Google France has faced daily fines of €1,000 for not removing a selection of links from its global index.  This stink has been raised by Dan Shefet, a Danish lawyer who lives in France.  His firm has suffered a libelous campaign at the hands of various websites and blogs listed in Google’s search pages, and Shefet requested the removal of the links to these mudslingers.  Google France conceded, removing the results from French SERPs.  However, Shefet was not satisfied.  His international law firm serves clients in several countries, and wishes the defamatory links to be removed from Google’s main, U.S.-based domain. 

In relation to the recent news on net neutrality, Google’s compliance with the French court spells global censorship of its SERPs—and that includes the censoring of the United States’ free, open Internet.  A U.S.-based company like Google is hard-pressed to allow such action, and the company is currently “considering its options” by seeking advice from authorities in data protection and their Advisory Council.  Google’s quandary is this:  “How should one person’s right to be forgotten be balanced with the public’s right to information?”

November 18, 2014

SEOville: 2015 and Beyond

By Lauren C.

There was once a rural town with farmers, a few families, and large swaths of land in between properties. There weren’t many laws in the town, since most citizens kept to themselves and didn’t bother one another except when they needed to ask a favor every now and then. Everyone was fairly happy in the town, except there wasn’t much to do.

One day, a businessman came in and decided to build a factory. He hired many people from the town, as well as out of town, to come work in the factory. Soon, houses were built to accommodate all the new people. The new citizens decided that the town was fairly boring, and that it needed some more fun things to enjoy. They built a mall, new grocery shops, and new businesses. The new families flourished, and even more people moved in. Eventually, the town became a city, and that city became a hub.

Suddenly, a particular group of people weren’t happy with another because they lived close by and played their music very loud at night. A new law was created that stated music playing past ten p.m. had to be kept to a reasonable volume. More laws like this were established as more people came to the town, and there were always more travelers, commerce, and entertainment. A few grumpy farmers, who had lived in the town since the beginning, disliked the new city and longed for the solitude and quiet of the past. Other than that, life was good in the city.

November 17, 2014

Wipe out for Reddit’s CEO

By Nick K.

In recent social media news, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has stepped down from his high-ranking position. People speculate that his resignation happened for ridiculous reasons, such as not obtaining the office he originally wanted, according to The Daily Caller. Thankfully, more concrete information and details are beginning to surface.

Upon further research, Yishan Wong admitted that he has stepped down from CEO position based on many reasons that Forbes reported, including his lack of leadership experience and the unhealthy lifestyle that the stress of the job caused him. As a first time CEO, the amount of success Wong achieved while leading Reddit was incredible. For the 2 ½ years that he was CEO, Wong brought Reddit’s popularity to new heights and the website currently continues to grow.

Although it is surprising that this major change has happened, especially for a highly successful social media platform, Wong’s resignation is the right move.Wong commented that he was not fully prepared to handle the daunting task of moving forward as Reddit’s CEO. According to ABC News, the position had massively affected his personal relationships and he admitted to pushing himself “too far” for what the position entailed.

It takes great humility and courage for Wong to recognize that he needed to step down for the greater good of Reddit. The decision for Wong to step down ensures the social sharing site will continue its current success. Yishan Wong will certainly be missed by many, but he is confident that Reddit will continue to expand and grow under new leadership. 

November 14, 2014

Global SEO: Don’t Dream Small When You Can Dream Big


























By Justin H. 

Local SEO and maps optimization are two of the most widely-covered topics here at the Tek Shouts! blog. They help small businesses by driving up online traffic and churning out more potential business opportunities, but you already knew that. If you own a small business such as a law firm, convenience store, dental office, diner or dog grooming service, then by all means local SEO is your ticket to the Promised Land.

However, what if your business plans on expanding one day? What if your business sells cunning, innovative products that have a market not just in your little town, but across the whole world? If your business is capable of providing services outside of your area code, then it might be time to entertain some broader techniques, known as global SEO.

Global SEO could be the key to unlocking your business’ localized handcuffs. Every business owner dreams of having tons of success. For some businesses, success simply means driving a bunch of customers to one location. For others, it is becoming optimized online in other continents. Global SEO techniques will not help your dog grooming business, aside from the off chance that a Beijing native coincidentally flies to your little town, and just so happens to bring one particularly fluffy canine with them. You are selling yourself short by doing this, and before you know it, you end up living a life full of settling and compromises, and turn into a real-life Walter White from Breaking Bad.

November 13, 2014

What You Need To Know About Hyperlinks: Part II

By Lewis J.

Last week we talked about external hyperlinks, which direct internet users to other websites. Now let’s turn our attention to internal hyperlinks. Internal hyperlinks redirect visitors to different pages on your website. Because they don’t provide any link juice, people tend to undervalue them, which is a pity since they are a useful tool for site navigation and promotion.

Site Navigation

Internal links provide an easy way for visitors and web crawlers to explore your website by reducing the number of clicks needed to find content. Ideally, a visitor should be able to access any page on your website with no more than three clicks.

Internal Links

There are four types of internal links. Menu links are normally found at the top of the website and repeat on every page. 

Menu Links
Footer links are found at the bottom of the page and usually list the most popular pages or content on the website in order to help visitors who have scrolled to the bottom of the page without finding the content they were looking for.

November 12, 2014

Virtual Reality: A Novelty or Not?


By Megan G. 

Last week on Tek Shouts!, I wrote about some horror titles created specifically for the virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift.  Today, let’s highlight some recent updates, as well as its possible capabilities beyond gaming.  Oculus VR, the company that manufactures the Rift, is headed by Rift-creator Palmer Luckey and CEO Brendan Iribe.  The most recent version of the headset, Crescent Bay, features integrated audio and full positional tracking.  Iribe reports that the Oculus Rift is “many months” away from hitting the shelves, but ensures that Crescent Bay is quite close to the final, consumer product.

Virtual reality technology is not new;  VR products first surfaced in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.  Consumer interest eventually petered out, however, because of the devices’ high costs and unwieldy designs.  Is the Oculus Rift different, or will it leave people nauseated, bored, or falling on their bums?  Thanks to a streamlined design and the financial support of a social media giant, the Rift has the potential for greater consumer accessibility and longevity.

The Oculus Rift Sails to the Mainstream

In March of this year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg bought Oculus VR for $2 billion after being impressed by the Rift’s capabilities.  This financial boost gives Oculus team more time to create a solid VR device that has the ability to last beyond the lifetime of its ancestors.  Oculus VR has used these FB funds to flesh out their research and development division.

November 11, 2014

Don’t Like it? Then Don’t Read it: Free Speech on the Net and the Democratic Process


By: Lauren C.

“The Goliath of totalitarianism will be brought down by the David of the Microchip”-Ronald Reagan, 1989

An open and democratic government with citizens who are free to express their opinions is predicated upon education, information, and a fearless ability to express political beliefs. Many of our politicians forget that everything they say can be checked and double checked by conducting a quick Google search or viewing a YouTube video. Even in a country like America, where freedom of expression is fundamental to our traditions, there are still those in the government and media who forget that news stories can no longer be controlled by a few sources. An open Internet promotes democracy, but an open Internet only exists in a society that values individual rights and freedom of speech.

Internet that is easily accessible amongst the general population has several advantages for a democratic society. Namely, there is a wider range of information available to the masses, it allows citizens to have a voice and participate in the democratic process, and it helps create transparency and accountability amongst governing bodies. On the other hand, there are countries such as North Korea, which have censored Internet access let alone newspaper and television access save for government propaganda. Furthermore, some regimes like Iran have suppressed online revolutions, while others like Egypt had enormous changes as a result of them. What then, is the determinate factor in whether or not the Internet promotes democracy, and why is this important to freedom around the globe? The answer lies in the amount of freedom that already exists within the country itself.

November 10, 2014

Android 5.0 Lollipop: Just How Sweet Is It?

By Nick K. 

Once again Android has outdone itself with the release of its latest operating system update. Like previous Android updates, Jelly Bean 4.1 and KitKat 4.4, Android is sticking with its candy update theme by introducing Android 5.0, Lollipop . Android has promised that this OS update will satisfy any Android user’s sweet tooth. 

Let’s unwrap the Lollipop to see what Android owners can enjoy:

Sweet visual overhaul
Android’s main goal with the Lollipop update was to focus on visual changes by providing brighter and trendier icons and menus. Android wanted to reduce overall on-screen clutter associated with opening and closing of pages. As a result, the latest update has created a “pencil and paper feel” to how pages and applications are displayed.

Exquisite performance enhancements
The new Lollipop update implements major application performance and responsiveness upgrades, battery improvements, and many security updates to ensure that users’ information is kept safe. Lollipop allows for extended battery use by minimizing the amount of energy used by applications. For increased phone security, Lollipop introduces encryption improvements and a smart lock feature that activates when users pair their phone with another device.

November 7, 2014

Panda-monium!





























By Justin H.

We at TekShouts! are continuing our tour through the proverbial search engine zoo. Having already covered the bases on Google Pigeon and Google Penguin, we will now be detailing Google Panda in lieu of its recent update.

Just like its cuddly real-life namesake, Google Panda was massive in stature upon its release. It was launched on February 23, 2011, and immediately affected 12% of all search results. Panda laid a beating on sites with thin content, content farms, high ad-to-content ratios and many other problems that were having negative impacts on user experience.

Panda 4.1 – Google’s 27th installment of the algorithm – was released in September of 2014 with the goal of allowing more high-quality small and medium-sized sites to rank higher. With over a month under its belt, users now can see tangible results from Panda’s update. This slow rollout of the update paid huge dividends for some sites, and did damage on others, as always. Based on feedback from many of the users and webmasters, this recent update allowed Google to uncover some new methods for Panda to target low-quality content more efficiently.

The rollout will allow sites previously affected by the last Panda update to prove that they have made necessary changes to move back up the search rankings. For example, if a website had questionable content that hurt its rankings, the update presents it with a chance to show that it has improved its content, and/or produced plenty of new content that abides by the appropriate standards. Believe it or not, just a few bad pages of keyword-crammed, weak content is more than enough to send a site plummeting down the rankings.

November 6, 2014

What You Need To Know About Hyperlinks



By Lewis J.

We’ve mentioned the relationship between hyperlinks and Google rankings before (Game of Thrones, Penguin) without ever delving into how they operate or why they work. It’s about time we did. Links are one of the most important factors in your Google Page Rank.

Hyperlinks

Put simply, hyperlinks are elements in electronic documents that redirect users to a different part of the document or to another document altogether. If you’re a regular web user, you’re familiar with hyperlinks already (they normally look like this). There are two types of hyperlinks: internal and external. Internal links send you to a different page on the same website. External links send you to an outside website, and improve your Google Page Ranking. 

Popular Websites Rank Best

To Google, the simplest way to measure a website’s credibility and relevance is to determine its popularity with users. Because measuring web traffic is difficult (site visits are volatile and the information is often stored on private servers), Google counts the number of external links that a site has instead. Links are public, stable, and difficult to manipulate, which makes them an easy way to judge the relative popularity of a site. They’re a vote of popularity from the web community.
The impact that a link has is called “link juice,” but not every link supplies the same amount of juice. Links from popular sites with a lot of incoming links provide more juice than sites that have few links. Similarly, links from sites related to yours also count more strongly towards your Google ranking. If you sold baking equipment, a link from a cooking site has more juice than a link from a sewing site.

November 5, 2014

Cupcakes with Character: A Small Baking Business in the Big Marketing World

By Megan G.

I have a good friend who happens to be a talented baker.  For the purposes of this article, let’s call her “Tillie Bundt.”  Tillie has a dream of one day starting her own cupcake shop, “Butter Nonsense.”  She has imagined its menu, décor, and bustling amount of business—unfortunately, this delicious venture remains only a fanciful thought in Tillie’s mind.  With her permission, I have decided to take this imagined business and create an SEO marketing platform.  Hopefully, this can act as an example to other small business owners who want to improve their online standings in the SERPs of Google.  With Tillie’s unique vision and search engine optimization strategies, Butter Nonsense can flourish in the big world of small business.

Here are some key points for Tillie (and you) to consider.

Hey Girl, What’s Your Niche?


Unless you are watching your weight (and if you are, bless you, for you are stronger than me), a cupcake business sounds rather exciting.  Tillie shouldn’t have too much trouble making sales amongst friends and family.  On the web, however, big food culture titans stomp about, such as Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, and FoodNetwork.com.  Tillie must find her own place in the baked goods market.

November 4, 2014

If Google+ is Dead, then Myspace is Alive


By Lauren C.

The trending topic around techy tables is whether or not certain social media platforms are dead. With a swiftly evolving technological landscape, social platforms that were hot a few years ago, like Myspace, can become obsolete within minutes. Google+ is a social platform which remains alive and seemingly unimportant to most people. After Google’s Vic Gundotra announced he would be leaving the company earlier this year, popular tech sites like TechCrunch immediately insisted that this was the beginning of the end of Google +. However Google+ is not going away anytime soon, and is in fact more powerful and omnipotent than the typical social media user realizes.

Gundotra’s departure from Google was worrisome for Google+ users, since he was the creator of the social platform. Google representatives defended his decision to leave, claiming, “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy- we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.” Quick to attack Google on their apparent defensiveness, the majority of techies argued that Google+ is a drab, boring, and less engaging site than Facebook or Twitter, and has no chance of long term success. We are here to argue that although these critics may have a point on Google+’s lack of fun factor, they are wrong about its death. Google+ is not dead, and it is in fact being reborn.

November 3, 2014

SEO versus SEM

By Nick K.

Two of the most popular and effective search engine tools are search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

Let’s explore these great online tools.

The text, "SEO" created with gears, targets, links, and other tools used to investigate and experiment.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is an organic, and natural method used to align your business website with search engine rules and regulations. If your business website is optimized properly it will contain strong original content, well-written Meta tags, (keyword phrase content), and a user-friendly, simple site design.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a targeted paid search engine tool used to look for instant search engine results. According to Staples, SEM focuses on purchasing advertising space on search engine result pages. This will allow your business to appear above organic search results in a specific paid search results area on major search engines. Raise my rank also detailed the two different parts to SEM: paid inclusion and pay-per-click, advertising. Paid inclusion is when a business pays a search engine to instantly add their website to its database, ultimately surpassing all the organic searches.