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Archive for January, 2008

Internet Makes Plagarism a Breeze

January 28th, 2008 by Bob Bly

A survey conducted by Rutgers Business School found that nearly half of college students said they were guilty of plagarism: using content in their papers that wasn’t theirs, without permission or attribution.

Of those, nearly 8 out of 10 said they committed plagarism either solely or mainly when using online research materials.

Reason: it’s so quick and easy to cut and paste the text from the Web site into their document.

Printed source material is plagarized less frequently — presumably because it’s too much work to rekey the material into their laptops.

Among high school students, who were also surveyed, 6 out of 10 plagarize, and 3 out of 4 cheat on tests.

Students felt little guilt about plagarism and cheating. They cited lack of time and the need to have high grades to get into a good school or job as ample justification for their dishonesty.

Another reason cited was peer pressure: the students felt that, with so many of their peers cheating, those who don’t cheat are at an unfair disadvantage.

What a world!


Category: General | 49 Comments »

Corporate Blogging: a Load of B.S.?

January 24th, 2008 by Bob Bly

In an article in the New York Review of Books (2/14/08. p. 18), Sarah Boxer implies that the idea of corporations paying people to write (or help write) blogs for them is doomed to failure.

“Bloggers are golden when they’re at the bottom of the heap, kicking up,” writes Boxer. “Give them a salary, though, and it just isn’t the same. And this includes, for the most part, the blogs set up by companies.”

Why? “When you write for pay, you worry about lawsuits, your boss, and your superego looking over your shoulder. And that’s no way to blog.”

Does this mean that “corporate blogging” is at best, an oxymoron, and at worst, an outright fraud?

Or is it perfectly legitimate for corporations to hire bloggers, blogging coaches, and blogging consultants, just as they hire ad agencies to create ad campaigns and ghostwriters to pen speeches for executives?

Your thoughts?


Category: General | 47 Comments »

Marketing in a Recession

January 21st, 2008 by Bob Bly

The business editor of our local daily newspaper e-mailed me about a story on marketing during a recession.

Economists are divided as to whether we are officially in a recession, but most agree the economy is in a troubled state, to put it mildly.

My advice was that, during a recession, companies should be more flexible and accommodating in matters of price, terms, delivery, service, and sales.

For instance, a printer of specialty films might have a minimum order quantity of 1,000 sheets.

If during a recession, customers complain that they don’t need that many, they should consider waiving that minimum order or at least reducing the minimum order quantity.

That was MY tip.

My question is: what do YOU do in your business — in terms of selling, marketing, pricing, and customer service — to survive and thrive during economic downturns?


Category: General | 109 Comments »

Is Long Copy Dead?

January 15th, 2008 by Bob Bly

An article in BtoB (1/14/08, p. 43) notes:

“Today, long-copy ads are relatively rare. In an Internet-driven age, people are conditioned to absorbing only flashes of information. There’s much less tolerance for a well-told tale or an ad that builds its arguments with words, not images.”

Do you agree with the article’s argument that our attention spans are so limited, prospects only respond to short copy — and long copy is obsolete and just doesn’t work anymore?

Or do you disagree –and believe that informative, well-written copy can still engage readers from start to finish, regardless of its length?

What say you?


Category: General | 60 Comments »

Can Small Businesses Compete in SEO?

January 14th, 2008 by Bob Bly

It seems to me that large corporations have a decided edge in optimizing their Web sites for search engines over small business in general and solo practitioners in particular.

Reason: SEO is a complicated process with many different time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks, from keyword research to optimizing press releases.

A bigger company can afford to dedicate one or more employees full-time to each of these major tasks. For instance, I know a company with a full-time staff person who does nothing but seek incoming links, one of the steps in SEO.

By comparison, if you are a solo entrepreneur or an understaffed SOHO, no one in your office may be able to spare more than a few MINUTES each week securing incoming links to your Web site.

Is there any way a solo or SOHO entrepreneur can compete with medium or large companies in the SEO game … any tricks or shortcuts you know to level the playing field?


Category: Online Marketing | 93 Comments »

What”s a Critic to Do?

January 7th, 2008 by Bob Bly

Playwright Edward Albee, author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” has some harsh criticism for critics.

“Some critics cater to existing taste,” says Albee. “What they should be doing is trying to improve it.”

It seems to me that opinions as to the function of critics vary, and there are basically 3 schools of thought as to what a critic should do:

A) Let you know what he, the critic, thought of the movie, play, book, or record.

B) Help you determine whether you’d like it and should spend your time and money to read, see, or hear it.

C) Help you improve your tastes so you CAN enjoy a higher level of art (as Albee seems to think).

Which do you think is the critic’s role — A, B, C, or something completely different? And why?


Category: General | 35 Comments »