Email Marketing Primer

In this article written for Mortgage Orb, our CEO gives a high-level "101" intro to email marketing.

What kind of content should you send? How often? Should you include file attachments? How should you deliver the emails when the lists get larger? These questions, and more, are answered.

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Does Your Company Need Its Own App?

Does your company need its own app?   Should you build it yourself or hire a development team?  Should it be a mobile web app, or a native device app?

Our CEO answers these questions and more in an article for Mortgage Orb Magazine:

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So Much For "Don't Be Evil"

If you haven't heard, Google is updating their privacy policy. You have until March 1st to clear out your previous browser history before all bets are off and they own it. Forever.

I'm not talking about your local browser cache on your computer. I'm talking about Google's massive database of browsing history. Because, they've been tracking everything you do and saving it for a rainy day. It's time to break out your galoshes.

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MailChimp Delivers - No Monkey Business

If you've seen our periodic email blasts, hopefully you like what you see. (And if you don't, then you ought to be subscribing poste haste! Zoom down to the bottom of this page and and enter your email address to subscribe.)

If you need to send out regular emails to your customer base, whether B-to-B informational in nature, or consumer-focused eCommerce mailings, special offers, and the like, there are many options available. We have been using MailChimp for the past year and can highly recommend it.

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My iTV Prediction

I was asked recently about whether I think Apple will in fact release a TV.

Yes, I do. That's not really "news" though - just about every industry analyst thinks that Apple will release an actual HD TV.

But I'm going to go out on a limb here and prognosticate on a key feature of the device. I've been thinking/saying this for several months now, but I'm going to put a stake in the ground here, for fun, to see if it holds up (or not) before I hear anyone else say what I'm about to say. And by the way -- I'm not claiming that nobody has said what I'm about to say, just that I have not heard it yet...

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SOPA for Dummies

There's been a huge flood of news, articles, stories and posts on SOPA recently.  Many people are scratching their heads, wondering what this SOPA thing is all about.  So this is a quick primer on why I believe SOPA is bad.

As stated above, this is my opinion (that is, Eric Robichaud, CEO of 401 Consulting).  I'm neither a laywer nor a politician, so I invite you to view the actual, full text of the proposed bill here and judge for yourself.  That said, here is my overview / option on the matter.

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Adobe Ends VHS vs. Beta Debate

If you haven't heard yet, Adobe officially announced the end of Flash for mobile devices. In some quarters people immediately exclaimed "Steve Jobs was right!" Too bad he didn't live to see it, after all those years of fighting Flash. But regardless of the Steve Jobs angle, I think this announcement is a good thing for developers for several reasons.

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Best Video From Space Ever!

This posting basically has nothing to do with anything related to this blog, but is just a very cool little digression from day to day business in order to marvel at the wonder that is Earth.

If you pay attention and process quickly, you may notice the Great Lakes in the U.S., the Sinai Peninsula, Italy's "boot" and more.  The flashes in the clouds are lightening, and the night scenes are amazing - especially those showing the green magnetic "aurora" effects in the atmosphere!



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How Chapstick Blew It, And Paid A Price

Chapstick evidently didnt "get it," and they've paid a huge price while taking a big hit to their brand. But the story serves as a great reminder for all business folks, albeit at Chapstick's expense.

It all began when they started running an ill-conceived ad of an attractive woman losing her Chapstick behind the couch. The print ad was essentially a huge shot of her bent-over, skinny-jean-clad backend.

Regardless of whether you think the ad crossed beyond the line of good taste, or couldn't care less one way or the other, the undeniable fact is that it caused a (negative) stir and consumers started saying so, posting negative feedback comments on the Chapstick Facebook fan page.

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Fixing Slow FTP Server on Mac OSX

One of the very nice things about working with multiple platforms and technologies, not to mention just having longevity in the business (which is a nice way of saying I'm old!), is that you get exposed to a lot of different ways of solving problems.  "Oh, I've seen that before.  Back in the DOS days we used to..."

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NetFlix Pricing Gaffe Followed Up With... Another Gaffe?

It's not the first time I've said this, but I just did NOT see this one coming!

Today NetFlix announced that their much-discussed and much-embattled price hikes were actually just the precursor to splitting out the DVD and Internet Streaming services as essentially two different companies with two different CEOs and separate respective teams running/focusing on each. The original NetFlix business will be rebranded "Qwickster" and the Internet Streaming service will retain the NetFlix brand.

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"Chatter" Now Free, And Worth a Look, the cloud-based enterprise CRM solution that boasts over 77,000 customers, had released a social networking tool called Chatter. It was free for users, but $15/month for non-customers. Well, they just made it entirely free for everyone and I'm giving it a test run with my team.

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Punting Microsoft's FTP Server in Favor of FileZilla Server

Since the prior blog post on troubleshooting Microsoft's built-in FTP server in IIS, I've gone back to the tried and true FileZilla Server.  Yes, the community that brought you the free FTP client software also provides a free server version.  It's great, robust and secure.  Oh, and super fast and easy to install and configure.  Very intuitive. 

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QR Codes - A Fad? I Think So...

"So what do you think about QR Codes?"

Someone asked me this question recently. My answer: "Not much."

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Why Microsoft is Doomed to Fail

You've probably seen the announcement by now:  Microsoft is buying Skype.

I like Skype.  A lot.  I'm depressed.

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How To Fix “Bluetooth Not Available” problem in Mac OSX

Ok, this will be short and sweet...

Today I booted up my iMac and my wireless Magic Trackpad was dead. I had just replaced the batteries a couple days ago, and I could see the green light was on. But nothing...

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Troubleshooting FTP Services on Windows 2008 Server

I've been running FTP Services on Windows Servers since the days of Windows NT. Personally, I prefer a 3rd party product such as RhinoSoft's ServU or Ipswitch's WS_FTP Server. But "free" is a good price, and I've setup plenty of built-in FTP systems over the years.

However, I just had the dubious honor of installing FTP on a Windows 2008 Server for the first time. Like all things Microsoft, it was a great study in how to over-complicate the simplest, most inane thing! As such, I thought I'd draft a post to list some quick troubleshooting tips to help save someone else a few minutes/hours of frustration. There's no rocket science here, just a few helpful hints.

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Google Analytics Is Impressive

Since the early days of the web, reviewing web traffic reports has been incredibly important to anyone with an online presence.

"Back in the day," as they say, I used to own and operate, which I started from ground zero and grew to be the #1 most popular screensaver download site in the world. And back in 90's and early 2000's that was saying a lot, because screensavers were the single most popular category of download online after games. We were serving 10 million page views monthly back when that was crazy huge traffic. (It's still not too shabby, but the total audience was orders of magnitude smaller back then). And traffic stats were crucial to that success.

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