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Inc 500 companies I want to know more about

Inc 500 ConferenceI’m in Chicago this week and will be blogging while I attend the Inc.com 500 Conference

As you probably already know, Inc recognizes the top 500 fastest growing companies in America based on 3 year revenue growth. The conference, presented with OPEN from American Express, Principal Financial Group and Dell, is a celebration of entrepreneurship and recognition event for the 500 honorees.

Here are couple Inc 500 class of 2007 entries that look very interesting.

  • Bill Me Later - #6 – Bill Me Later is a convenient and secure new payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone.
  • Zorch International – #28 – New approach to branded promotional products
  • Right Media – #46 – Interactive ad network now owned by Yahoo!
  • Wpromote – #62 – Search marketing firm
  • Vibes Media – #92 – Interactive mobile marketing – the phone’s the thing
  • Instinct Marketing – #199 – Doing some nice things with local search and CRM
  • AbsorbentInk – #216 – Another promotional products company
  • eROI – #402 – Lead generation firm using email and other e forms of marketing
  • DirectoryM – #458 – Local online directories

More to come!

Finally a solution for blog comment spam

This is a blog spam comment that I received and had to share – finally, a true solution to blog comment spam.

hello , my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments ,I can help you with this problem . I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50% .In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it , its just done for higher rankings in search engines. Contact me at (Romanian email address) , i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

If you use the Akismet plug-in for WordPress you can block most of this kind of stuff.

Twittering the possibilities

Twitter for businessTwitter has fascinated many while disgusting as many. Some seemingly normal individuals have become obsessed with it.

In case you’re not familiar – Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to tell the world, or your best friend, what you are doing now. The most basic tweet, as it is called, is an answer to what you are doing.

I’ve been drawn to it in a curious way, but never put much in it as a business tool because I don’t know that it has any real value, particularly if it’s going to cause me to build a list of followers and then post continuously. (Although I love it for events and meetings because event participants can use it like a news flash and announcement service in real time.)

    Recent updates to the service have made it mildly more interesting from a business standpoint

  1. You can now search and find anyone you know to follow (they have to give permission, but it makes building a list easier)
  2. Alex King’s twitter plug in allows WordPress users, that would be me, to post your tweets to your blog, but, and this is the best part, it also automatically creates an alert on your twitter feed every time you post to your blog – effectively giving your followers notice.
  3. Growing list of Twitter add-ons for the twitterati

I’m still mixed on the tool for small business, but if it has a fan base and it’s really easy for you to use, what the heck, play with it.

You can follow me by going to Twitter and searching on my name.

Building Your Own Social Network

KickAppsSocial Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are all the rage at the moment for the potential they offer some businesses. They do offer tremendous applications for building community and even building business but these giants also possess some real limitations for most businesses due to the overwhelming size and potentially unfocused nature of the community inhabitants. (Do you really want some creepy 16 year old reading all the private, intimate details about your products?)

So, maybe you’re like many who think that the idea of building a community with lots of tools that help them share, interact, and create content that is focused on a single, perhaps very niche, topic of interest to all the members of the network is a great idea.

If so, you could easily find a developer to spend hundreds of hours hacking together a network offering just for you or, you could look into a growing list of tools that are made for people who would like to create their own social network branded just for their business or topic needs.

The leaders in this space are Ning and KickApps, but there are others as well. Ning wins the award for simplicity and boasts over 70,000 users. KickApps offers people with just a little bit of web coding skills the best option for creating a social network that integrates more seamlessly with your existing web presence in look and feel.

I am in the process of creating a Duct Tape community offering using KickApps that will allow Duct Tape readers to submit content, including video, share marketing stories, get marketing help and basically interact with like minded small business marketers. More to come on that!

If you have an interest in this topic you might want to start your research by reading this TechCruch article titled the 9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network

Where’s Aretha When You Need Her

10 Candles for Blogs - Aretha FranklinSam McManis of The Sacramento Bee wrote a little piece today that landed him in a few newspapers around the country. The story is titled 10 Candles for Blogs.

In the story he reveals that blogs have become popular (now there’s a revelation), but then ends it with this statement (I’m not making this up)

So, in another 10 years, maybe blogging will have matured enough to gain the respect to go with the popularity.

What? You mean you don’t actually r-e-s-p-e-c-t me? You just use me cuz I’m popular?

Earth to Sam, that ship sailed a while back!

Automatic Blog Posts with delicious

deliciousThe delicious bookmarking tool has a fairly little known feature that bloggers can take advantage of. With the right settings you can have delicious post your bookmarks to your blog once a day as content. Here’s an example post links for 2007-07-27 | nicharalambous.com

If you have a delicious account (heavens knows you should) and you want to enable this feature log in go to settings >> blogging >> daily blog posting. You can activate it putting blog’s username and password and Post URL (If you use WordPress it’s something like http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/xmlrpc.php)

Once you have this set-up, every time you bookmark in delicious it will be collected and posted to your blog as that day’s collection of links. Because you are making these public it’s a good idea to write good descriptions when you book mark. You also want to remember that anything you bookmark will show up on your blog, so if you don’t want it to you need to make sure you click the don’t make public box.

Too much of this would be pretty boring, but it can be a nice way to create dual posts for a day or come up with your a list of themed links around one subject for a Friday post.

Another Duct Tape Business Blog Theme Release

A few weeks ago I teamed up with WordPress Theme designer Cory Miller to create a business oriented theme for WordPress. The response to this release was great.

The one request I received the most was to release a version of the theme that would allow the user to create and upload their own custom graphic header. So, here you go Duct Tape Business Blog Theme Released With New Header Logo Image

Duct Tape Blog Theme

Key features:

* Three column
* Web 2.0 look
* Widget ready
* Header graphic (PSD file included)
* 125×125 graphical ad ready for your products and services

Take it for a test run here.
Download it here.

Support post for this theme.

A Facebook and Google Reader App for Bloggers

Google ReaderA few weeks ago I wrote a post pointing out the growing usefulness of Facebook as a business tool. It isn’t that I am so enamored with the social network as I am optimistic that the new open platform will allow developers to create some very useful business applications.

Today I want to tell you about one such application that I think meets that criteria. The application is called Google Shared Items. This application allows Facebook members to easily do two very useful things. First, it makes it very easy to feature your blog posts on your profile page (your Facebook home page) allowing your network to get a taste of your blog. There are other ways to do this, but this one really works well.

The real power behind that app though is that it also allows you to see a list of all the blog posts that your friends/network have shared (Shared by bookmarking them in their Google Reader) and then ranked as the most popular items. This feature gives you your very own Digg like tool to discover changing content that, if your network is like minded, will provide you with a fabulous resource of relevant reading that you may never discover on your own.

The application is very simple to install and does require a Google Reader account as well. You can see my public Google Reader Shared stream here. This is the content that is then flowing to the Facebook application for other to view and share. Of course, this is for any content in your reader that your want to share, not just your own blog posts, but those of all the blogs you read – and it throws off an RSS feed so there are countless other ways for you to repurpose this content outside of Facebook as well.

A lot of folks are flocking to Facebook and then getting there and saying, now what?

So, if you’ve discovered business uses and applications for business use, post a comment and let us know!