JC Penney’s Black Hat SEO Gets Busted

An interesting story this week: JC Penney has been penalised by Google for implementing black hat SEO techniques to boost search results. The department store claimed ignorance of the methods used to secure top placing for various keywords, but Google have taken steps to manually remove illegal links that were bought to increase ranking. In the last month, JC Penney has dropped significantly from the being the first result for numerous clothing and home furnishing keywords, effectively being buried by the search engine in punishment for employing unethical search techniques.

At Ikroh, we ONLY use ethical, organic, white hat search engine optimisation methods to achieve our results. With diligent, experienced and honest SEO work, your company can compete with the big dogs without resorting to underhand techniques – and as a result you will stay at number one and never be penalised.

The New York Times has a detailed article on the JC Penney scandal here.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Tweets are Public Property | Ikroh

Tweets are public

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled that messages posted on Twitter should be considered public and can be published freely.

Along with this announcement is the recent guidance from the Supreme Court, which is now happy for ‘live text-based communications’ to be used by journalists, legal representatives and the public in courtrooms. Electronic communication – emails, tweets, Facebook posts, blog comments and forum discussions – are also fair game for use in legal disputes, to be used as proof and a ‘digital fingerprint’ or ‘electronic paper trail’ for court cases.

Social media is moving even further into the public domain, and raises an unsurprising question about privacy. It’s safe now to assume that what is said on Twitter does not stay on Twitter… For seasoned Tweeps, this might seem obvious – even if you are not a follower of a particular user, you are still able to read their tweets – UNLESS they have locked them, in which case they are only visible to approved followers only. A realtime search for a Twitter user or a keyword brings up tweets in Google/Bing results; a retweet can send a tweet rebounding to hundreds of thousands of people; the butterfly effect ensures that one little innocuous tweet will not necessarily stay that way.

This was the basis of a complaint issued last year by Sarah Baskerville – an official of the Department of Transport – who claimed that the use of her tweets in the Daily Mail and Independent on Sunday was ‘an invasion of privacy’. The messages referenced being hungover at work and criticising government policy, and though she had not privatised her tweets, Baskerville claimed that she should have had a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ and that the information was not meant to be seen by anyone other than her followers. But even her disclaimer that her tweets and retweets do not represent the opinions of her employer did not protect the content from being public property, according to the PCC response:

“As more and more people make use of such social media to publish material related to their lives, the commission is increasingly being asked to make judgements about what can legitimately be described as private information.

“In this case, the commission decided that republication of material by national newspapers, even though it was originally intended for a smaller audience, did not constitute a privacy intrusion.”

So Tweeple, the lesson clearly seems to be: if you don’t have anything nice to say…. then at least make yourself anonymous, or lock your tweets to the public!

Tweets are public

You can chat with us on Twitter by following us: @ikroh

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook Mobile Deals – Rewards on the High Street

FaceBook Places | Ikroh

FaceBook Places | Ikroh

Facebook Places launches a new aspect to their mobile experience for users in the UK today – the opportunity to save money and use special offers by ‘checking in’ to Facebook on your mobile when shopping on the high street.
Designed as a natural extension to how users are already using Facebook Places, the social giant is now adding an incentive for Facebookers to post their location, by offering discounts and vouchers from third party companies.

Similar to the FourSquare template, customers log in to their Facebook profile, telling the world they’re visiting Yo Sushi, Debenhams or Starbucks for example (all verified participants in the scheme), and are rewarded with a kind of virtual loyalty card or coupon. Other British participants include: Mazda, O2, Alton Towers and Benetton, with more likely to follow.

Emily White, spokeswoman for Facebook Places, explained how over 200 million users are already posting their location from their mobiles with no incentive, and the new addition to the service creates, a “chance for businesses to be part of the conversation” and the “opportunity for users to find even more value from Facebook on their mobile phone”. Facebook is not apparently taking a cut from the affiliations, asserting that it’s really just about a “killer user experience”.

Deals available to Places app users also include “golden ticket” rewards and bonuses for users who bring their friends, as well as the chance to help charities – for example, every check-in to Argos automatically donates £1 by the company to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Speculation, of course, surrounds the potential threat to similar loyalty-scheme-based companies: FourSquare, Groupon, Living Social and Quidco to name just a few. White assured that these companies are “not in the line of fire”, that businesses like Groupon are have a different focus to the service Facebook Deals offers. Groupon in particular, she says, is more about discovering new products and companies, whereas Facebook Places is about “presenting offers in places you’re already going to”. True enough with regard to Groupon, or Living Social, but what about the others? Is it a coincidence that Quidco recently launched the option of registering your credit/debit card with your account so that you receive points every time you use it on the high street? As we’ve looked at previously – mobile marketing is certainly the future of commerce, but is it likely to be monopolised by Facebook right off the bat?

From a customer point of view, things seem pretty sweet (unless you’re especially paranoid about the social fat cats/government/martians tracking your every move of course), and with Facebook offering the service for free to participating businesses, the flipside appears to be beneficial as well. So far the scheme is only open to the big guys, though over time Facebook hope to be able to include small businesses as well.

Facebook’s stake in this seems to lie in an increased dependence on the network by its users (we suggest the following tagline: Facebook – more addictive than crack!), with incentives to use the platform for every on- and off-line movement and purchase. Facebook also hopes that advertisers will be encouraged to invest in even more lucrative deals with the social network to assist with physical as well as virtual traffic to their shops.

Will the new incentives entice you get connected? Are you already using Facebook Places? Or are you a die-hard Groupon/Quidco fan? Discuss.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.