June 2011

Hoyts staff member posts anti-competitor comments in iTunes

Cinema exhibitor Hoyts have recently released an app for iPhone users to browse session times and book tickets. This comes around one and a half years after rivals Greater Union / Birch Carroll & Coyle and Event Cinemas launched their app “pocket cinema”.

Browsing through the comments it was interesting to note this review from a certain user (names have been blurred to protect the naughty):

A positive response for Hoyts but at the expense of their competitor. This got me thinking. A quick Google search for the user revealed their LinkedIn page which listed their current employer as, wait for it, Hoyts Cinemas:

Now I’m not saying this is the first (nor would it be the last) time a company posts a positive review of their own product in iTunes, but should any potential self-promoters be reading this here are two quick tips for you:

  • Tip 1: don’t use your real name, it makes it really easy for curious people like me to find out who you work for.
  • Tip 2: focus on the positives of your own product rather than the negatives of others, real customers rarely compare brands in that way making your fake review very easy to spot.

How I got my Google pagerank from 0 to 1 – my top 10

I doubt I’m alone in eagerly anticipating the day when your Google PageRank for a new website goes from 0 to 1. It might not seem like a big deal to some, indeed who wants to celebrate the fact your site is rated 1/10 by anyone. But a PageRank of anything other than 0 is that reassuring confirmation that Google have finally recognised your site as having at least some value and are now ranking it higher than the default.

In this instance I’m referring to www.flydigital.com.au – the primary website for my company Fly Digital and I thought I’d share a list of the top 10 things I did to achieve my new status of 1.

  1. I waited – 6 months in fact from setting up the website before the PageRank lifted itself off the floor. Don’t expect your PR to jump up instantly regardless of the amount of traffic you’re sending to it.
  2. I setup a blog under the same primary domain – www.flydigital.com.au/blog – where I post articles (like this) that pick up links from 3rd party sites, therefore showing Google I am growing my inbound links organically through content and not in a black hatted way through link farms or directories.
  3. I approached higher PR sites and requested inbound links – it’s amazing how supportive some people will be if you offer help in exchange for a relevant link.
  4. I asked clients to place links to my site from theirs.
  5. I added links to this site in the footer of sites I built.
  6. I became an author on Technorati and started writing pieces for their site. The “about the author” section on each of these highly trafficked pieces linked back to this site.
  7. I added Google Analytics and AdSense to this site (not sure if that directly helped, but it may have had an impact).
  8. I posted relevant comments into blogs on other similar sites with links back to articles on my site. Some were not approved, some were approved with the links stripped out, but some were approved with the links still in there again giving me more inbound links.
  9. I made sure the site was properly SEO’d – with individual page titles and meta information, descriptive H1/H2 tags, and that they were running on a fast server that loaded quickly.
  10. I kept checking and optimising the site using free SEO tools like the awesome SEOQuake so I could see what happened in terms of indexed pages or inbound links each time I tried a new tactic.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas to try for your own site. Next steps are to continue these tactics and try out some new ones and hopefully start to see that PageRank increasing even higher. Surely I can get to 3 by Christmas…

New Release: Perisher MyRide Dashboard

We’re very proud to announce the launch of the new MyRide Dashboard for Perisher Ski Resort.

The Dashboard is an interactive web app that allows skiers and boarders to check out their vertical mile coverage & lifts accessed, plus compare their performances against other Perisher customers filtered by criteria such as age group, gender, skier/boarder and time period.

The app also features an account management section to update additional paramters such as username, privacy settings and more, plus there’s an online help area.

The app was built from the ground up and utilises Googles chart api for the pie/bar chart elements.

This is the first version of the app but several new releases are already underway to keep providing Perisher’s customers with more tools and data to interact with througout the season.

You can check out the Dashboard at perisher.com.au/myridedashboard/

Twitter adds real-time URL shortening to twitter.com

Regular users of twitter will be pleased to hear there is no need to paste a link into bit.ly, tinyurl or whatever your preferred URL shortener is anymore now that twitter have added similar functionality to their own website.

Here’s how it works. Typing a tweet via twitter.com is exactly the same, however when you add a URL twitter does a few new things. Firstly the URL is highlighted and a new “Link will appear shortened” message appears next to the tweet button. Then twitter recalculates the number of characters you have remaining after the tweet will be shortened on the fly. Here’s an example:

See how I’ve posted a long link into the tweet and added copy before and after it. The total length in characters of that tweet would have been 255 but Twitter has calculated how short the URL will be once shortened and allows you to write additional copy until the newly calculated character count reaches 0.

This is how the tweet looks when posted:

A useful addition to the website. Now I wonder when image uploads will be included so we can take twitpic.com out of our bookmarks…