Pokemon Go and the Face of Augmented Reality Marketing

Posted by Max Castleman
Now and then a mobile game will spark a good deal of discussion, as Angry Birds and Flappy Bird did in 2013. Pokemon Go is different. Businesses around the world have benefited from the app, with patrons flocking to their stores or restaurants to catch Pokemon and then staying to eat or shop. Some areas have experienced reduced crime rates because of an increase in foot traffic, with criminals or being caught in the act or being discouraged from acting at all due to a lack of privacy. Pokemon Go has even improved the health of many of its users by encouraging them to walk long distances to find valuable Pokemon. The app has entered the public consciousness in a major way, being reported at by every major media outlet in the country. In the process it has sparked a discussion about the budding world of augmented reality. Can the technology used in Pokemon Go be successfully implemented by companies to drive sales? One thing is certain: the potential of augmented reality as a marketing tool for businesses has never seemed so bright.
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The Updated Pros and Cons of Wearable Tech

Posted by Max Castleman
In January of 2014, I wrote a piece for this blog entitled The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wearable Tech. In it, I made a few informed guesses about a burgeoning, and very intriguing, market. Google Glass had just been released in a limited capacity and companies like Microsoft and Apple had already begun work on competing products. Since then we’ve gotten items like the Pebble smartwatch, the Apple Watch, the Fitbit and the Microsoft Band, to name just a few.
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How to Gather and Effectively Implement Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Posted by Max Castleman
Testimonials are one of the most powerful tools a business can possibly have at their disposal. After all, the average person puts a tremendous amount of stock in the personal opinions of other consumers. You can talk about how great your business is until you’re blue in face. The fact of the matter is that potential clients expect you to say that. No matter how good a game you can talk, the customer will always know in their back of their mind that even if your business was entirely unimpressive you’d probably be saying the same things. However, if the potential clients hears the same kind of claims not from a business owner but from an average consumer like them they’ll often start to really pay attention. It stands to reason that a recommendation from a stranger wouldn’t carry as much weight as one from a trusted friend or loved one, and yet it seems that this is largely not the case. According to a study by BrightLocal, around 88% of customers trust online reviews from strangers as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from someone they actually knew. Combine this with the fact that 88% of consumers also bas their opinions of businesses, and their merit as potential recipients of their money, on online reviews and you can begin to see just how important positive reviews are.
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Are We Prepared for the Future?

Posted by Max Castleman
  A few months ago I wrote a post about wearable tech and the societal impact it might have, both upon the wearer of said tech and the people around them. In it, I mentioned that early adopters of these items might be ridiculed and stigmatized by those who did not fully understand the devices and what applications they might have. Now, a new survey by the Pew Research Center has shown my prediction to be accurate. More than half of the people they surveyed said that they believed that wearable tech would have a negative impact upon society, and women seemed especially wary of these items, with the huge majority of those surveyed responding negatively to the idea of items like Google Glass. However, these questions were only a small part of a much larger study. Pew, in conjunction with Smithsonian magazine, recently interviewed 1,001 Americans across the country, asking them for their opinion about various future technologies, most of which are expected to be here rather soon. The results of their study are fascinating, and the implications of their results are certainly interesting to ponder.
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The Aftermath of the Heartbleed Bug

Posted by Max Castleman
Most of us realize that transmitting information over the internet has its share of risks. That’s why so many of us only share sensitive information, like credit card and social security numbers, with so-called “secure sites,” otherwise known as 'https’ at the beginning of a web address. However, as we learned on April 7th, 2014, even secure sites can fail us from time to time. In fact, as we soon were made aware, millions of secure sites had in fact been failing us, for more than two years. A full two-thirds of websites rely on a program called OpenSSL to encrypt user information, making it possible for visitors to complete credit card transactions and other similarly private tasks without fear that their information could be stolen. What most of us didn’t realize until April 7th was that there was a small error, since nicknamed the Heartbleed bug, in the coding of OpenSSL. It had been there since the very beginning, December of 2011. By abusing this error, hackers could gather some of the information OpenSSL had been put in place to encrypt. In other words, all of that information you shared in confidence, safe in the knowledge that the site you were using was secure, was seemingly up for grabs.
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Keeping SEO Clean and Fair

Posted by Max Castleman
For some, SEO might seem like a shifty concept. After all, they reason, isn’t SEO, or “search engine optimization” built around the notion of manipulation? Isn’t it about using search engine algorithms, formulas meant to benefit the user, for your own devices? Those who think this way about the SEO industry in general are simply misinformed. Yes, there are those who use SEO immorally, but that’s no reason to demonize every SEO company out there. The fact remains that most professional SEO companies do not utilize manipulative tactics. Search engine results pages, or SERPs, are organized to place the most relevant sites at the top. Type a keyword into Google and the results will show the sites most strongly identified with that particular keyword. Therefore, the best way to build SEO is to increase a site’s relevance, both to the keyword in question and in general. And it stands to reason that the more relevant you make a site to a particular keyword the more beneficial that site will be to a user who inputs that keyword. As such, most white hat SEO practices are truly beneficial to both the companies who utilize them and the users who depend on SERPs to provide them with accurate information and trustworthy services.
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wearable Tech

Posted by Max Castleman
For a long time, wearable tech has been little more than an intriguing concept. We already augment our bodies with various peripherals, using watches to tell time and glasses to protect our eyes or correct our vision. But what if those devices, and others like them, could do even more for us. What if our watches and glasses and jewelry could do what our smartphones do, and perhaps even more? Perhaps the most notable piece of wearable tech available today (albeit on a limited basis) is Google Glass, a pair of glasses augmented with a virtual display which adapts to your environment. It can record whatever you require, translate signs in other languages, give you facts about your surroundings and answer questions on the fly, among many other features. Basically, it’s like constantly having Google in front of you, allowing you to interact with it in real time without the barrier of a computer screen. What some might not realize is that Google Glass is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many pieces of wearable tech currently being developed, everything from interactive fitness equipment to bracelets that tell you when you’ve received a Facebook message. The only question is how soon these items will catch on and how successful they will truly be.
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Avoid Security Breaches: Build a Better Password

Posted by Max Castleman
 
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Bitcoin: The Inherent Folly of the Internet's Cryptocurrency

Posted by Max Castleman
In 2009, an experiment was conducted. Its intent was to determine the viability of a concept known as “cryptocurrency,” funds which could be traded for goods and services like traditional money but with complete confidentiality. In our current economic system that level of security is virtually impossible. Money is regulated by governments and as such anything you do with it will remain under some level of scrutiny. In order to trade money for goods and services identities must be revealed and sensitive information must be shared. In theory, cryptocurrency would eliminate those elements. Each transaction would be blind, an unknown party doing business with another unknown party for their mutual benefit. This idea had been entirely theoretical until the “experiment” of 2009. It was conducted by a “crypto-specialist” who went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. He invented the world’s first actual cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, essentially just to see if he could. As you might imagine, the currency had no value at all. Nakamoto’s invention was entirely hypothetical, essentially imaginary. That would soon change.
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The Real World Effects of Twitter Hacking

Posted by Max Castleman
Back in April of 2013, the Associated Press sent out a horrifying tweet: there had been two explosions at the White House and President Obama had been injured. Naturally, the tweet claimed a great deal of attention, with as many as 4,000 retweets in the span of a few short minutes. Now, if you’re reading this wondering how you completely missed that time in April that somebody tried to blow up the president, you’ll be relieved to know that the incident never occurred, a fact which the Associated Press itself picked upon very quickly as they soon removed the offending item and released a simple statement of apology. The tweet which had alarmed so many, especially considering its proximity to the recent Boston Marathon bombings, was nothing more than a prank perpetrated by a hacker. However, as far as pranks go, this one was considerably more impactful than most.
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