Headline Round-Up!

in Internal Stuff

Grab a cup ‘o joe and read along with us:

Google Could Face $10 Million Fine For Tracking Safari Users

Beyond Beastie: Adam “MCA” Yauch’s Creative Legacy

‘Seismic Shift’ In Europe After French And Greek Elections

Disney’s “The Avengers” a winner for Paramount too

FBI Wants Backdoors in Facebook, Skype and Instant Messaging

15 Ways Zynga’s Ad Platform Could Ruin The Fun For Draw Something

Why men are out-shopping women online

What’s America’s Most Engaging Social Network? You’ll Be Surprised

Twitter Users Employ WWII Hashtag to Skirt French Election Law [VIDEO]

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Did the facebook timeline switchover catch you by surprise?

in Marketing, Social Media

As we mentioned earlier this year, Facebook changed the layout of their profile pages to a new Timeline format. Last month, they rolled this change out to businesses and this month they are modifying the Timeline layout… again.

We’re constantly on “Facebook Watch” so if you need help getting a handle on your Timeline or if you’re considering jumping in, give us a call. We can help you out with:

• Strategy & Approach
• Profile Set-Up
• Conversational Calendars
• Scripted Interactions
• Building Connections
• Expanding Your Fan Base
• Analyzing & Optimizing

Not only do we have a handle on Facebook, but also Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+. Social media is here to stay and if your businesses goals are to raise awareness and drive sales, it may be something to seriously consider.

Questions? Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or fill out our contact form.

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The FBI wants YOU to clean your computer!

in Announcements, Technology & Trends

No joke, the FBI (as in the tough guys with dark glasses, earpieces and spy gear) is asking everyone to clean up their computers by July 9th or risk losing your access to the Internet.

Why? In 2007, the FBI discovered malware that infected millions of computers worldwide. This malware called “DNSChanger” was created by cybercriminals in Estonia and infected over four million machines worldwide. This malware redirected computers to “hacker-created Websites, where cyber-criminals sold at least $14 million in advertisements. DNS Changer also prevented computers from updating or using anti-virus software, leaving them vulnerable to even more malicious software.*”

Working with Estonian law enforcement, the FBI was able to locate and arrest these individuals last November charging them with wire fraud, money laundering and illegal computer access. Because of the scope of infection, the FBI had to have a plan in place to keep users connected to the Internet allowing them time to scrub their computers and other affected systems. They approached the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to create and maintain temporary DNS servers for 120 days, which would have shut down on March 12, 2012. When that date rolled around, they found that over 350,000 computers were still infected so they extended the deadline to July 9, 2012.

How do you know if you’re affected? The FBI set up a simple DNS checker page to check your computer. There, you’ll find additional test links. We recommend the DNS Changer Working Group (DCWG) page where you can check your computer with one click. Green means you’re safe, red means you have some cleaning up to do. If you’re in the red, you can download anti-virus software to fix the problem.

We know a lot about building websites, we also know a thing or two about computers. One of the most important things – if you don’t know already – is to ALWAYS have antivirus software installed on your computer. Trust us… you don’t want to end up a victim to cybercriminals.

Read more:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), November 09, 2011
“Operation Ghost Click, International Cyber Ring That Infected Millions of Computers Dismantled”

Computer World, November 10, 2011
“Feds lead biggest botnet takedown ever, end massive clickjack fraud”

Forbes, April 23, 2012
“FBI: Disinfect Your Computer Or Risk Losing Internet Access Come July”

*PC World, April 23, 2012
“FBI Steps Up ‘Internet Doomsday’ Awareness Malware Campaign”

Time, April 23, 2012
“DNSChanger: FBI Warns Infected Computers Will Lose Web, Email Access in July”

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You May Have Established Your Business But Have You Developed Your Brand?

in Marketing

Before you call up a web developer, create that Facebook page or tweet on Twitter, let’s talk about how you will represent yourself online. We’re hoping you’ve already developed a logo and mission statement for your company. If you have, then this conversation should be simple.

Personality

What kind of information and tone best suits your business? Are you very professional or whimsical? Do you have a lot to say about your company or have lots of pictures to share? Your company’s personality should be consistent in all your communication with consumers. This includes all of your online efforts as well. Be sure to use the same logo, fonts, colors and language online and offline. Every interaction with your audience is a chance to reinforce your brand and encourage their loyalty to you.

Communication Channels

Your website should be the main focus of your online efforts. If you’re thinking of social media, a blog or newsletter, use your corporate site to tie all of the pieces together. Each social site serves a particular purpose and caters to a particular user demographic. Blogs are also another way to connect with your audience. Online newsletters help you capture a database of leads from your website and can be produced daily, monthly or quarterly – whatever fits your schedule. If you know who your target audience is, then you shouldn’t have a problem selecting a secondary channel for your online communications. Be aware that incorporating any of these efforts into your online marketing plan can be very demanding. Unfortunately, most small companies don’t have enough staff to maintain these additional channels. If that’s the case, focus on making your corporate website the best it can be.

Social Proof

As long as you exist, people will talk. It doesn’t matter whether you’re online or not. Many businesses overlook the value of social influence, which is basically what people are saying about you and how it’s influencing others. If you can find trustworthy associates to vouch for your product or services online, it ripples across the Internet. Those who haven’t experienced your brand could stream in based on what their trusted resources are telling them. It’s very important to monitor this incoming traffic to see what is or isn’t working.

Reputation Management

Now that you know a little more about social influence, let’s talk about negative comments. Before creating your online presence, have a plan on how you’ll deal with not-so-nice messages. This will especially help whoever is managing your online communications to stay consistent with your brand.  While the occasional disgruntled user may seem like a wrinkle in your rep, it could also be seen as an opportunity to find out how to make improvements to your services. Of course, if the individual is just flat out vulgar with his/her choice of words or doesn’t seem like the reasonable type, simply disregarding the message all together may be the best solution.

These are only a few of the many tips to help you maintain your brand’s personality online. If you’d like to know more, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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Is Your Developer Optimizing Your Website for Multiple Browsers?

in Design & Development

As many know, there is a wide selection of browsers to choose from when viewing the Internet. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari are a few of the more popular ones. Browsers come and go and each contender fights for market share. Internet Explorer had quite a cushy spot for years as the most popular browser, but now they’re playing catch up with browsers that are faster, fancier and more mobile.

Some browsers, like Internet Explorer and Safari, enjoy the benefit of being pre-installed on a PC, Mac or iPad, giving them a leg up on their competition. Others, like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, have fought for their right to be at the top through aesthetics and functionality. With the latest craze of content sharing, iPads and smartphones have users demanding more speed, performance and mobility.

How Do These Rankings* Affect YOU?

If you’re thinking of developing a website or already have one, browser compatibility should be part of your web developer’s maintenance plan. Hopefully they are keeping up with the rankings and updating your website as new browsers rise and older ones fall. They also need to physically test your site in different browsers. Some developers use an application that takes screenshots of your site viewed in various browsers. This doesn’t cut it, especially when you need to check the functionality and not just the visuals.

Why Is Maintenance Necessary?

Each browser behaves differently and not all users access the web in the same way. Because of this, the code a developer writes may not be understood by all browsers. If a developer builds a website without considering cross-browser compatibility, they could end up with a completely broken website when viewed in another browser.

Something else to add to the mix is browser versions. Each browser releases new versions to keep up with the latest technologies, update security features or upgrade new features. A little known fact for most non-developer types is that Internet Explorer is probably one of the hardest browsers to develop for. Older versions of this particular browser had proprietary code that wasn’t compliant with any industry standards. They also released new versions without fixing bugs in older ones (they’re now on version 9). When Microsoft announced they were phasing out Internet Explorer 6 – we breathed a sigh of relief.

What About Mobile?

Yes, kids. It gets even more complicated. Mobile sites have an entirely different species of browsers to contend with. As new smartphones are coming out on a regular basis, many have their own operating systems which results in a whole new set of browsers to test. While we highly suggest building a mobile version of your site, make sure your developer performs the same maintenance plan detailed above. If that developer is us, then no problem

Curious who tops the list of mobile browsers*? Wonder no more! Mobile platforms account for 1.3% of the market share. Of that percentage, here is how it breaks out:

1. iPad 0.44%

2. Android 0.38%

3. iPhone 0.22%

4. Other 0.17%

Now you know a little more about what we do to ensure your website is functional and beautiful for every user. We hope this makes you want to hug us. To talk more techy fantastic-ness, fill out our contact form or call us at (915) 351-8440.

 

*Rankings are generated monthly by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

in For Funzies, Internal Stuff

Quick poll around the office for favoritest Dr. Seuss book evah:

 

 

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The Social Media Revolutionary: From ‘Slacktivism’ to #Activism

in Social Media, Technology & Trends

The activity once coined as “Slacktivism” has evolved. Nowadays individuals are changing policy, reversing corporate decisions and toppling governments via social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. From the Arab uprisings, Bank of America fee reversals to SOPA/PIPA bills, raw emotions swept across social media like wildfire, motivating those who normally would not be inclined to do something. Sometimes, it’s as simple as passing the message along or visiting a site to sign a petition. Other times, it’s a call to mobilize. The point is: people are realizing that they have a channel for their voice and that voice is mighty powerful.

From our perspective, it’s almost vital for most businesses, public officials, governments and high-profile individuals to be active on social media. Granted, it may not fit your business profile so that’s understandable. But when you have fans, customers or a constituency, the importance of cultivating loyalty and trust in your brand can help you in more difficult times. So, when things go awry, it’s easier to extinguish one flame than acres of devastating wildfire in unknown territory.

Social media demands transparency and the ability to manage negative comments swiftly. Today, having a strategy built around not only your social media plan, but all online communications is a must. If anything has taught a lesson on the importance of strategic planning, it’s Susan G. Komen. The organization is now recovering from what may be the worst public relations fiasco in their history.

We’re continuously learning about this evolving technology. There’s no denying that it’s a powerful tool and the effects it can have are pretty profound. The key is to be prepared… and we can help you do that.

If you’d like to know more about building a social media strategy, don’t be shy – contact us! You can also give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

 

Read more stories about online activism:

AdAge – McDonald’s Yanks Radio Ad After Angering Pit-Bull Owners

CNET – ‘Dear Netflix’: Price Hike Ignites Social Media Fire

MSNBC – Activism Rediscovered Through Social Media

NPR – Social Media as Catalyst for Policy Change

Reuters – Social Media at Forefront of Social Protest

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Mixin’ It Up In San Antonio

in Announcements, Marketing

So we’re settling nicely into our San Antonio location. We’ve got the office space, the new business cards and the lay of the land; it is now time to make some web design and development connections.

As one of the first orders of business on our recent move to San Antonio, we joined the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, a must for entering the city’s business community. On Wednesday, February 22, they held their Greater Connections Mixer at The Plaza Club downtown. You know Stanton Street Technology Group just had to be there.

After being greeted by the Chamber’s gracious staff, grabbing a libation, and ogling the splendid assortment of tasty finger morsels on display from The Plaza Club, it was time to “mix” as it were. I was very pleased to meet such wonderfully warm and friendly people, many of whom were just as excited to have us in San Antonio as we are to be here.

Needless to say, we’re off to a real gun-slinging start in the historic Alamo city. We met new website business clients and look forward to showcasing our website design and development skills with many more.

Whether you’re in San Antonio, El Paso or anywhere else give us a call at (915) 351-8440 if you’re interested in getting started on a website.

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San Antonio Web Design Just Got Better

in Announcements

So far, we’re really loving 2012. We’ve got our site revamped and it’s looking mighty fresh, if we do say so ourselves! Now we’re getting comfy in our new San Antonio location. We’ve hit up The Alamo, Sea World, Six Flags, and that one awesome Mexican restaurant. Next stop… new business!

If you do business in San Antonio and you’re looking to work with a web development company in the area, don’t hesitate giving us a call. All the great services we provide through our El Paso office are available via our San Antonio location. Whether you’re an up-and-coming small business or a Fortune 500 powerhouse, we’ve got all the tools to give your online presence that extra oomph you’ve been needing. Websites, Intranets, Internet marketing, app development, social media maintenance and more are all available through Stanton Street’s services.

Melissa Swanson, Stanton Street’s Operations Manager, is running things down in San Antonio and would be more than happy to meet and discuss your needs. Shoot her an email at mswanson@stantonstreet.com or give her a ring at 210.526.1932 if you have questions!

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What WE Need to Know Before Designing Your Awesome Site

in Design & Development

We like you. You like us. We’re ready to commit. But before we dive into happily ever after land, let’s be sure to have a quick chat to assure we’ll stay friends no matter what, k?

Sound a little silly? Sure. We’re okay with that though because we’re about to start an important relationship that will affect you financially and professionally – so let’s get started on the right foot. Knowing the expectations and making right decisions early can prevent misunderstandings later. Here are a few things we’ll talk about during our first meeting:

Staffing          

Who is our day-to-day contact? Will they also be the decision-maker? Identifying these key individuals will benefit everyone involved. Also, if there is more than one person managing the site on your end, it could get messy really quickly.

Needs vs. Wants

Determine what you need versus what you want. There are so many sites that have cool stuff, but will that cool stuff work for you? Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the two. Don’t worry – we can help you sort it all out.

Identify Your Audience

Figure out who your audience is and how you want to speak to them. Is your goal to build a relationship or simply give them information about your business?

Determine Goals

What are the goals of your site? It’s important to identify this early on because these goals will be driving your content.

Deadlines

Be clear about when you need things completed and understand that it takes collaboration to have the most epic site ever. We love to be on time and we’re hoping you do, too. Let’s be on time together!

Budget & Billing

By now, you’ve figured out what you can afford up-front and on a monthly as well as annual basis. Before we start, we should chat about payment schedules, expectations and other delicate issues that may come up during the duration of your project.

Ask Questions

We don’t expect you to know everything about websites. That’s why you looked for us in the first place. We want you to trust us and we encourage you to ask questions any time!

To find out more about what we can do for you, call us at (915) 351-8440.

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