YouTube Now Offers Subscription Options

Screen Shot YouTube Red

Though the popular video-streaming website, YouTube, has notoriously been free, it has managed to be successful by selling advertising. In fact, it was YouTube that popularized pre-roll video advertising, so much so that some users have come to despise these ads.

That put YouTube in a conundrum: keep playing ads they know users don’t like or make users pay a fee and ditch the ads? This is a similar conundrum several social media platforms encounter. Well, YouTube decided to do both. The free, ad-ridden viewing ability still exists, however, YouTube has introduced a subscription service called Red, where users can pay a monthly fee of $10 to not only have an ad-free streaming experience, but also to download videos, access YouTube Music (another new service), access exclusive subscriber-only content such as original series and movies, and more. This puts the video giant in direct competition with existing services such as Hulu or Netflix for video and Spotify or Pandora for music. Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl stated that advertisers need not worry because 99 percent of the content will remain free to view, and that ad revenue will continue to grow.

When YouTube was created in 2005, it was the first platform of its kind and remains the number one video platform globally, attracting more than 1 billion—yes, that’s with a B—users a month.

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Apple Maps to Crowdsource Business Listings

Apple Maps Connect

Apple’s map and navigation app has run into troubled waters over the last few years due to poor performance and strong competition from other apps such as the Google Maps app. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has promised to work “nonstop” until it is the best map app out there, and even wrote an open letter apologizing for the lack of performance back in 2012. With that being said, fast-forward to today, and Apple Maps is still a bit of a disappointment.

It’s no secret that Google rules the realm of business listings, and Apple is desperately trying to keep up. So much so that the company is turning to you, the small business owner, for help. Apple has recently rolled out a new self-service data entry portal, Apple Maps Connect, which will assist business owners in uploading their business information to create an Apple Maps business listing.

Crowdsourcing this information is a win for both parties. Apple gets the data it wants and needs, while the business owner gets full control of a free business listing that will help drive consumers to their doorstep. If your company is already listed on Apple Maps, you will still be able to have control and edit when needed. The Apple Maps lists will not only show the street address, but will also provide the web address and links to the business’s social media accounts, including Yelp.

Business owners can reap several benefits of having properly optimized and verified local listings. Robmark Web assists local businesses in Savannah and the surrounding areas in setting up and managing local listings across multiple platforms, including Apple Maps, Google Local, Bing, Yelp, Manta, and more. If you are interested in creating new listings or claiming existing listings, please call 912-921-1040.

Image Recognition Tool Changes The Way Brands Use The Visual Web

When managing a brand’s social media, it is imperative to track the user-generated content (UGC) that is being curated about the brand. Whether it’s positive or negative, you need to know what is being said. That task has become increasingly difficult as the way people use the Internet changes.

Text, hashtags, comments, and other types of tagging have made it relatively easy for marketers to track what people are saying, however, users are now using less text and more photos, making the tracking process more difficult. According to Brian Kim, Director of Product Management at GumGum, 80% of images that feature a brand are never seen by that brand, but thanks to Mantii, that’s about to change.

Mantii is a new image recognition tool by display advertising platform GumGum that finds photos across the Web that are relevant to a brand, even if they aren’t labeled with hashtags or captions. It can even track imagery associated with a competitor’s brand. Intrigued yet?

This image recognition tool can help PR firms, agencies, and brands control their visual identity as it relates to UGC, from tracking campaigns and social reputations to connecting with top influencers and gaining user insights. This new ability will change the way marketers use social media and the visual web.

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From AdWords to Zeitgeist, Google Alphabet is Here


Google started as a search engine in the late 1990s, and over time it has evolved into a multi-international technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. Some of Google’s services include search, online advertising technologies, software, cloud computing, social networking, mobile operating systems, and so much more! Because of the large growth and diversity of Google’s products, as well as the growth and change that is constant within the industry, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have decided to make the company cleaner and more accountable by creating a new company called Alphabet.

Instead of Google being the umbrella for hundreds of different products and services, Google’s subsidiary companies, including Google itself, will now become their own companies, with their own CEOs, all housed under the holding company—Alphabet. This restructure will allow each entity to prosper through strong leadership and independence.

Investors need not worry. “Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity,” says Alphabet CEO Larry Page, “and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.”

Alphabet is not only beneficial for the companies involved, but it also allows the holding company to venture into areas that might be unlikely for Google, and allows Page and Brin to stay in control of the bigger picture of the company they founded almost 17 years ago. This new found freedom could be world-changing.

Twitter Might Lose Its Wings


What do the president, the pope and Grumpy Cat all have in common? They are all on Twitter! The micro-blogging site has changed the way people communicate since its creation in 2006. The short and sweet social site has been known to spark revolutions, bring instant fame and get people in hot water, as well as creating the infamous hashtag, of course. You would think with 302 million influential users, including world leaders, celebrities, athletes and top journalists, Twitter would be a force to be reckoned with. In reality, after nearly 10 years, Twitter has never made a profit. Are you surprised? We were, too.

Despite last week’s announcement of the CEO’s departure and dropping stock prices, the site still has potential, according to industry experts. However, some bugs need to be worked out in order to do so. The challenges Twitter is facing include, user interest, ease of use, trolls, application options and advertising.

After 10 years in business, Facebook had 1 billion users. After nine and a half years in business, Twitter only has 302 million. Why isn’t it catching on? We’ve seen the media catch onto it in a strong way with hashtags and Twitter handles displayed on most shows, but for some reason, users just don’t seem to care. Is it too hard to use? According to tech investor Chris Sacca, almost 1 billion users have tried Twitter, but most haven’t stuck with it.

Trolls have also become an issue on Twitter, and not the spiky haired, jeweled tummy trolls—online bullies. The ability to make fake profiles is much easier on Twitter than some other sites, allowing people to hide behind the ambiguity, causing alienation of potential and established users. In April, Twitter updated its policy against violent threats to include people promoting violence, in addition to specific threats.

If Twitter, or any other social site for that matter, is looking for advice on how to be successful, look to Facebook. The powerhouse has obviously done something right over the years to be worth $192 billion. One thing Facebook has done that industry experts feel Twitter needs to do is capitalize on their brand and offer separate apps for certain functions, the way Facebook has created the Messenger app. A lot of other popular social sites, including Snapchat, have been focusing heavily on direct messaging, an area where Twitter has simply dabbled. However, Twitter recently announced that they are removing the 140-character limit to their direct messages, so there could possibly more changes coming in the future.

The last thing that Twitter needs to do in order to stay aflight, is to better optimize its advertising. Twitter currently offers a variety of ad placements and has recently announced video ads and objective-based ads—similar to Facebook. Is this all too little, too late? Can Twitter make the tweaks it needs to keep from getting its wings clipped? Only time will tell.

Yahoo Search Gets a Google-Inspired Makeover

Yahoo has undoubtedly gained some search market share after its deal with Mozilla and the release of Firefox 34. Reports vary, but all show gains for Yahoo.

But how long will Yahoo’s gains last? Some bloggers assumed that most all Firefox users would eventually manually switch their preferred search engine back to Google. Others expected Yahoo to benefit quite significantly, assuming that typical Internet users may not know much of the difference between Google and Yahoo and will just roll with the change. But the general consensus was that Yahoo would experience a spike in usership and would then decline to an arguable degree as Google fans switched back over time.

Yahoo itself seemed to know that this gradual switchback would happen and made a move to prevent it. Last week, Yahoo released a beta interface layout that looks much more like Google, with fewer ads, a simpler navigation, and more concise search engine results. I first noticed the change when my Firefox upgraded and my default search engine automatically switched to Yahoo. Initially, I admit I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t on Google. But then I noticed the purple branding and realized I was on a new, cleaner version of Yahoo.

New Yahoo Search

SearchEngineLand has reported on this Yahoo layout change but fails to connect the dots to the timely Firefox-Yahoo partnership. Yahoo seems to be adjusting its interface to prevent a kneejerk reaction for Firefox users to switch back to Google because of the obvious difference in the number of advertisements. To be fair, Yahoo is and has always been at its core an Internet marketing company and unabashedly displays revenue-generating ads across its variety of free popular services, including search, email, stocks, weather, sports, news, answers forums, automotive, and so on. Google’s founders, on the other hand, had to be dragged reluctantly into the inevitability of advertising on their new search engine. The plentiful ads on Yahoo and the simpler ads on Google should be understood in that context.

To Yahoo’s credit, users tend to frequent Yahoo’s array of Internet services as much or more than they do Google’s (roughly 192 million unique monthly visitors on Yahoo vs. 189 million on Google as of January 2014). For many online services, folks obviously don’t have a problem seeing ads, and in those realms, Yahoo tends to lead the pack.

But the world of online search is apparently unique. Search users clearly prefer SERPs with as few paid ads as possible (and as relevant ads as possible) that the Google brand has become known for. So Yahoo, hoping to capitalize as much as possible on its new search deal with Firefox, has evidently taken some pages out of the metaphorical Google search handbook.

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