Insights from Nebo

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May 14, 2013

Facebook Graph Search Deconstructed

1 billion people. 240 billion photos. 1 trillion connections.

Facebook helps us stay connected to the people, places and things we love. However, the social network is pushing us to open up our world and do more. It wants us to not only connect to our friends, but to use our personal stories and experiences to help us answer life’s most pressing questions, like:

Where can I find a vegan restaurant in Mobile, Alabama?

Facebook’s new Graph Search will help us do just that by using our friends’ likes and interests to personalize search results. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Graph Search but, unless you’re one of the lucky few who made it into the product’s beta testing, you probably haven’t used it.

We’ve created a breakdown to outline how Graph Search works based on information we received from Facebook Project Manager, Loren Cheng, along with some recent developments we’ve learned about since the product launched early this year.

May 9, 2013

A Comma Misconception

Deep in the bowels of the Bodleian Library at The University of Oxford sits a dusty old tome recounting the secret history of the Oxford comma. To no one’s surprise who opens it, it’s a tale of quibbling editors and journalism students with unmerited senses of superiority.

It begins in a 1915 Oxford dorm with the first recorded argument over the Oxford comma, the contents of which are basically repeated verbatim in every Oxford comma argument thereafter. The debate started when roommates Aldous Huxley and J. R. R. Tolkien were writing home to their parents that they needed money for “pizza, booze[,] and rubbers."

Huxley, a telecomm major and staunch AP Stylebook defender, threw his dog-eared copy at Tolkien, citing the oft-referenced punctuation section, which recommends against the extra comma. The radical, drug-using women's studies major Tolkien, however, was all for it and retorted that this was the same guide that still spelled it “e-mail” and the same guide that suggested the capital of West Virginia be written “Charleston, W. Va.” He then showed Huxley this cartoon that he thought proved his point while also being “totally hilarious."

May 7, 2013

7 Things To Consider in the Mobile Age

2007 was supposed to be the “Year of Mobile.” Then later that year it was said 2008 was “really” going to be the “Year of Mobile.” Then, 2009, 2010, etc. Each year predicts the same thing about the next, but the truth is we need to stop sitting around waiting for mobile to take off and start realizing that we’ve been in the Age of Mobile this whole time.

Last year, 30 percent of all web traffic occurred on mobile devices, and that number is expected to reach 50 percent by next year. In fact, in some industries that percentage is higher. Take your pick of statistics:

  • There was a 40 percent increase in mobile purchases in 2012.
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to an action within 1 hour.
  • Soon, mobile devices will outnumber people—an 18-fold increase from 2011 to 2016.
  • Americans spend more than two hours per day on mobile (nearly equaling television with just over 2.5 hours).

Every quarter the stats pour in, and it becomes clearer that the marketers, developers and digital agencies that aren’t devoting an equivalent portion of resources to mobile will quickly fall behind. So when crafting a mobile strategy, make sure it’s truly ready for the mobile age by considering how the following apply to your audience.

May 3, 2013

Trademarks: Where Does the Liability Lie?

At the end of the day, Google is a for-profit company. Over time, a misconception has somehow arisen that Google’s mission is providing the best search results possible out of the goodness of their heart. Not so; in reality, excellent search results provide two things: 1) a vast and continual source of information about consumers and 2) a built-in base of ad viewers. In fact, despite some diversification, AdWords remains Google’s main source of revenue, with $42.5 billion in 2012 advertising revenues.

With so much money on the table, it comes as no surprise that Google has been subject to significant legal controversy over the years. One of the most hotly contested issues Google faces with the AdWords program is trademark infringement. The pivotal determination for trademark infringement is use of the trademark in commerce. Unfortunately, case law remains ambiguous on the point of if buying and selling trademarks as keywords for advertising constitutes “trademark use.”

Part of the ambiguity derives from Google’s tendency to throw money at the problem, resulting in most cases settling out of court without a judgment, and part to conflicting opinions in different jurisdictions. Without a clear precedent delineating if bidding on trademarks will be considered illegal, Google has attempted to preemptively absolve liability through their Terms of Service Agreement. However, while the Terms may protect Google, marketers may be increasingly exposed to liability for trademark infringement they may not even be aware is occurring.

April 30, 2013

The Difference between Good & Great Developers

You probably work with a lot of “good” people. They know how to do their job and do a fine job of it. No complaints. However, if you’re lucky, a few of the people you work with are truly great. The basics of doing the job—knowing the programming language, being able to write a coherent email, getting stuff done on time—are present in any decent developer. And, while some developers know more languages and others are faster at completing tasks, what makes a truly great developers goes far beyond the technical knowledge needed to do a job.