Trending March 2024 # Search Engines Haven’t Beat Yellow Pages – Yet # Suggested April 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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The popular conception seems to be that yellow pages serve their primary purpose by keeping uneven table legs more stable, elevating TV sets for slightly better reception, or otherwise serving a less-than-informational purpose. A recent survey from the Burke-sponsored Local Search Association contradicts this, however, showing that not only are yellow page still in use – they’re more popular than web searching.

The study surveyed 8,000 adults in the United States, and the findings go against a lot of pre-conceptions, including the idea that search engines had “killed” yellow pages. While “print directories,” a category that includes both yellow and white pages, surpassed search engines in annual use (78% of users having used a print copy of the yellow or white pages within the last year, compared to 76% for search engines), search engines still surpass print directories for monthly use (67% for search engines compared to 55% for print directories).

Yellow pages really make their showing when you combine online and offline versions of yellow pages. When looking at these two mediums combined, 84% of surveyed users say they used yellow pages at least once per year and 62% said they used yellow pages in the last month. That puts the yellow pages marginally above search engines when keeping in mind both the annual and monthly use, but frequent use isn’t the only factor evaluated by the study.

More users said yellow pages or print directories are their most trusted source for information, with 51% and 45% respectively compared to 41% for search engines. Notably, social networks (another option on the list) only had a 1% “top trust” rating, contradicting much of the pop wisdom (especially that pushed by Bing) that says most users are turning to their social network to make decisions on local businesses. Yellow pages and print directories also outranked search engines for being viewed as the most accurate source of local business information, the best source to use first, and the most convenient resource for local business data.

The demographic data for the study hasn’t been applied to the data, so it’s difficult to say if these figures should be blamed on the “older generations.” Still, it’s clear that businesses shouldn’t ignore yellow pages, and the search engines still have a big gap to fill to be the most trusted source for local business information.

[via Search Engine Land]

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Open Source Search Engines Give Non

Recently, as commercial search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and MSN Search are escalating their reach of web surfers while growing stronger by the moment, there has been a reaction by the “non-commercial” crowd to bring about an alternative. Open source activists have put together Nutch search engine technology which may bring an alternative to the regular search engine field.

According to the Nutch project they provide a transparent alternative to commercial web search engines. Only open source search results can be fully trusted to be without bias. (Or at least their bias is public.) All existing major search engines have proprietary ranking formulas, and will not explain why a given page ranks as it does. Additionally, some search engines determine which sites to index based on payments, rather than on the merits of the sites themselves. Nutch, on the other hand, has nothing to hide and no motive to bias its results or its crawler in any way other than to try to give each user the best results possible.

Over the past week, three open source search engines have gathered the attention of the searching community, two of which are using Nutch and one of which is still in the idea/development stage.

MozDex

This month MozDex, an open source search engine built entirely using different open source technologies, has been tweaking and refining its search results while in beta testing. While in “deep crawl,” MozDex plans on full indexing within the upcoming weeks.

Objects Search

Search results clustering attempts to overcome the problem of information overload, since most search engines are based on keyword-based queries and endless lists of matching documents. Unfortunately, even when exceptional ranking algorithms are used, relevance sorting inevitably promotes quality based on some notion of popularity of what can be found on the Web.

One approach is to automatically group search results into thematic categories, called clusters. Assuming clusters descriptions are informative about the documents they contain, the user spends much less time following irrelevant links.

OpenIndex

According to Research Buzz, OpenIndex is not quite an open search engine project, but more of an index (as states the simple name) or a community-built search engine. Claiming that they do not have the hardware to power a huge web index (As of yet) OpenIndex is open to ideas of users who join their community.

OpenIndex puts forth the idea of a decentralized, multi-computer powered search index; “Although we wouldn’t likely have large computers available, we could have many small ones, contributed by interested volunteers, and distributed across the community – even across the globe. Perhaps it’s the only way to have a publically-owned and operated index.- it certainly seems appropriate.

A distributed system of servers would apportion all of the tasks of running an index among them. This would create a massive system of computers running in parallel, doing tasks as they are required. Costs would be distributed among the servers.”

Meta Search Engines : Why Use Them? Still Important?

Engines which work on top of search engines has been a growing area ever since Web Search went mainstream.

The question here is – are meta search engines of any value today when search itself seems a saturated market. Here are my reasons:

Knowing the Difference

No search engine is perfect. While it is true that many queries can be answered in a succinct line or two, in-depth details on any topic from relevant sources takes research and research entails reference to more than one source.

Search Engines as the Rudimentary OS on the Web

From the desktop perspective, an Operating System is defined as “the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer (Web) and provides programmers (Users) with an interface used to access those resources.” The definition does neatly fit into what the Search Engines are doing on the net today. Meta Search engines are essentially applications that sit on top of this OS for the Web, applying and integrating still more innovations on to those engines.

Looking from this perspective, the present day mainstream engines are performing the rudimentary operations of Operating Systems. Just like the OS is not about a bunch a device drivers, meta search engines have their utility.

TestBed for Innovation

The Web is a massive set of data. The single largest repository (in loose terms) of content. The time that it takes to start on a venture as scalable as the Web is also a prime factor why there have been brilliant ideas in the waiting to take off for quite some time now. Trawling content on the web is a mammoth task. And it is that task which is really an issue with newer web search technologies (no wonder up-coming engines have been so long in incubation period). Meta-search engines are testbeds of innovation. Successful strategies will span out and scale out in future.

Why Re-invent the Wheel

The fact that Yahoo, Google Live and chúng tôi account for 99% of Web search goes to say that they are doing more than a commendable job of indexing content on the Web. So why re-invent the wheel?

If I were to start a search engine based around a new technology, why not use the top 50 results from these engines and then in course of time scale up. To that extent, new engines using the results trawled by the biggies is effectively a good way to save a lot of computing and intellectual effort.

These are but a few of the reasons why I believe Meta search engines are as important as from-the-ground-up engines.

Verizon Router Yellow Light? Try These Fixes

Most Verizon customers won’t have to deal with yellow lights regularly, which means they can be a bit perplexing when they appear. While a yellow light might indicate a problem with your connection, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be without internet for a significant time. Often you can fix the issues a yellow light indicates with a few easy steps. 

A yellow light on a Verizon router means there’s some kind of problem with the service. The internet isn’t being delivered as it should be, even if you can still get a connection on your PC. However, most users with a yellow light may find they have to do any online troubleshooting on their phones since devices using Wi-Fi probably won’t connect during that status.

A solid yellow light means that you need to start digging into the root of the problem so you can restore your Verizon internet service. 

A blinking yellow light doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with your internet connection. Instead, it can measure how well connected you are to your internet range extender. The faster it blinks, the better the link – but that doesn’t mean it’s set up right.

The blinking yellow should get faster as you move the extender in range. Once it’s close, the light will go solid until it’s done connecting to the extender. So if you’re in the process of setting up a range extender and that’s when you’re seeing the yellow light – just move the extender closer until the flashing stops.

Once everything is solid, just wait for the light to turn white, and it will be paired with the extender. 

Before troubleshooting your router, ensure the problem is on your end and not with Verizon. Sometimes the light will turn yellow because an accident or weather-related incident caused the service to stop. Other times, Verizon is upgrading and repairing the network, leading to a temporary outage. 

Most problems solvable at home will require a hard or soft reset of the router itself unless you’re experiencing a hardware issue that requires new equipment. 

Before troubleshooting your router, check with Verizon to see whether the network works.

If there’s no issue with your connection, it’s more likely the problem is at home. Your next step should be to try to fix your hardware so that you can get back online. 

Soft resetting your Verizon router means ending the connection and then reestablishing it. Nothing changes in your router or network settings. 

Each device may take a few minutes to fully connect to the network. Don’t rush the process by plugging in the router before the modem is up and running. Doing so might cause you to have to repeat the steps.

You won’t have to unplug two devices if you have a combination modem and router. Instead, you’ll just perform these steps on the setup you have. The principle is the same no matter what configuration you’re using. 

Sometimes networking cables are a hidden source of network issues. The cable that connects your router to your modem – or the cable connecting the modem to the wall – could be the suspect causing the yellow light.

Credit: Verizon

If you have compatible cables lying around, try using them in place of the original wires. You can perform the steps to soft reset the router and modem again. This time, though, replace the cables before plugging everything back in. 

If the yellow light goes away and the router appears to be working again, a damaged cable may have been at fault. Throw away the old one and plan to get a replacement if you can’t use the cable you plugged in for testing. 

Sometimes your router’s configuration is what prevents it from connecting to the network. Doing a hard reset that wipes any personal changes and returns it to its factory state can help restore service when these changes are the cause of the yellow light.

However, you will have to restore any changes you made in the router’s online settings. It requires signing into the portal for your Verizon router and repeating any steps you did the first time around. For example, if you had the router set up to log activity or prioritize service, these steps must be repeated after the hard reset.

If there’s any chance the yellow light is caused by a service outage on Verizon’s end, wait to do the hard reset, so you don’t have to reconfigure the router for nothing.

If the yellow light is still there and you’ve verified there are no service outages, reach out to Verizon. A service technician may be able to help you figure out exactly why your service isn’t working correctly. 

Sometimes you can get a bit more information about the problem you’re facing if you check Verizon’s ONT. This is the box they route service through and may be located outside the house, in the basement, or in another location. If you aren’t sure whether you have an accessible one, you can talk to a Verizon tech.

Some users recommend hard resetting the ONT by unplugging it from its power supply or pressing the reset button. If you’re comfortable with networking devices and know where to access the ONT, this is another solution that might fix the yellow light on your Verizon router.

However, if you have to unlock a box or unscrew anything to access it, it’s better to reach out to Verizon and get help. 

Many customers choose not to use Verizon’s router when they sign up for service. As long as the router you choose is supported by Verizon and rated for your select speed, it should work to deliver internet to your house.

If you use a different model router, the yellow light might mean something else entirely. Each manufacturer and model has its own setup with its own set of indicative lights. Check the manual for your device if you aren’t using a router direct from Verizon. The yellow light you see could mean something entirely different. 

Zaap Hydra Extreme Review: Doesn’t Beat The Competition

Bluetooth speakers are a dime-a-dozen in the market. Setting their products apart from the competition should be a huge challenge, but we see rivals routinely aping designs from each other or going with ODM-designs from China, which means that competing speakers look identical.

We won’t delve too much into box contents, because there’s literally nothing in the box besides the speakers and the requisite aux and microUSB cables. It’s as basic as it gets. Instead let’s look at the design of the speakers.

Zaap Hydra Extreme: Design and Build

The body looks seriously serious. There’s not a touch of playful design here, with the ports protected by sober rubber flaps. The exposed screw-work is another touch that definitely makes these speakers look and feel masculine.

I definitely can see many people dig this design, and it certainly matches the promise of being a rugged speaker, even if it looks a little run-of-the-mill for this category.

That aside, I don’t think I have any complaints about the look of these Bluetooth speakers; they look as promised and definitely make you feel like it’s rugged. The defunct compass was a shame, but then again, I don’t know anyone who would use a compass to navigate these days.

Zaap Hydra Extreme: Sound Quality

While the look gives you the feeling of the speakers being robust and full, I probably should not have expected much from the small sound chamber in these speakers. Sure it gets loud and has booming bass, but the sound quality is far from stellar. It comes with 12-watt stereo speakers and dual subwoofers for a very bass-forward sound.

For one, the speakers are not great for songs or genres which let the treble shine, as they don’t reproduce the highs very well – it tends to get shrilly and shows distortion easily at higher volume levels. Secondly, the mids are muddled by the bass. If you like bass-heavy genres or generally want to feel that boom, you should definitely pick these up because it has a very, very warm sound. A lot of the delicate instrumentation or layering is lost with so much emphasis on the bass.

I found a neat trick to making these sound better at home. Just set them at 80-85% volume, and leave them in a glass cabinet or shelf. You could even leave it inside a drawer, with it open slightly. This creates a better acoustic chamber for the speakers and does help in controlling some of that hyper-energetic bass performance.

I do wish the speakers had a more well-rounded soundstage and didn’t lean so heavily towards lows, which is shame for someone like me who prefers listening to Indie and Alternative Rock genres. It’s not that the speakers are bad, but if you have heard the same song many times over various earphones and speakers, you would easily notice the muddled mids and weak highs.

Zaap Hydra Extreme Connectivity

The speakers come with rubberised buttons on top, with a power button, volume controls and play/pause/call answer button. They all work fine. Connecting to the phone was also trouble-free and worked in the first attempt for multiple devices easily. Double-pressing the volume button also changes tracks in compatible apps.

For voice calls, the speakers are more than adequate and the built-in microphone works without a problem. I just don’t know about the convenience of answering calls on a large speaker. If it’s for you, the good news is you can do it.

Zaap Hydra Extreme Battery Life

The Zaap Hydra Extreme is rated for 8 hours of continuous listening, and I found the claim to be more or less true. In everyday usage, at around 60-70% volume, you are likely to get a full day’s usage with intermittent listening and just over 8 hours for continuous listening. You are likely to get less than that if you also take calls on the speaker.

When it comes to charging, the speakers use the older microUSB port and the supplied cable, while not the longest, is quite adequate for charging up the speakers next to your PC. You don’t get a power adapter, so you will have to supply that yourself for wall charging.

 

The performance over aux through the 3.5mm jack is similar to Bluetooth. I didn’t find any difference in sound quality, but battery life is sure to improve over the aux connection and it’s definitely great to have.

You also get a tripod stand screw in the bottom so you can place the speakers at a height when used in a multi-speaker arrangement.

Zaap Hydra Extreme: Up Against Stiff Competition

I also compared the sound quality to a Google Home Mini, which I use at home. And the Home Mini produces richer, fuller sound without overpowering any one frequency. And given that it’s same price as the Zaap Hydra Extreme, I would recommend the Home Mini if you only want to use the speaker in a fixed location with no expectation of portability.

Zaap Hydra Extreme: Final Words

The affordable Zaap Hydra Extreme speakers definitely look great, but the skewed soundstage and the bass-forward performance really didn’t impress me from a reviewer’s point of view. As a casual listener though, the speakers are adequate and match the competition with its loud output and long battery life. If you are looking for water-resistant pair of speakers which don’t break the bank, and don’t sound any worse than the competition, then the Zaap Hydra Extreme could make sense for you.

However, as we said in the beginning there are plenty of wireless speakers these days and a casual search on Amazon threw up plenty of rivals for the Zaap Hydra Extreme, which also have water resistance such as the Boat Stone 600 (around Rs 2,500) or Sony’s Extra Bass XB10 (around Rs 2,800) splash-proof speakers. We haven’t tested either but we can’t expect the sound quality to be much worse. So yes, there’s plenty of competition and Zaap just doesn’t make enough of an impact to earn a clear recommendation.

Check out the Zaap Hydra Extreme on Amazon (Rs 2,999)

Facebook Brand Pages Best Practices

5 Examples of Facebook Brand Pages to learn from 

As marketers constantly look for better ways to use social media to engage with customers and generate positive word-of-mouth and sentiment, a well-designed, thought-out Facebook page is a key platform to target consumers. Facebook brand pages can offer businesses, both large and small, an excellent opportunity to create a presence and a brand experience, but only if this experience is well planned and executed.

In this post I’ll look at some examples of companies that I think have created a great experience on Facebook that fits their brand well. I hope these “best practices” give some ideas of improvements that could work for your Facebook presence.  These examples all show these key ingredients of a great Facebook brand page including:

A clear objective and raison d’être for the page

A good, professional design which is consistent with all other marketing communications

An impactful welcome page with a clear call-to-action

Integration of other social media outposts, such as Twitter, YouTube and a company blog

Rich media, especially good quality photos and videos

A newsletter sign-up form to capture more detailed information about fans

A set of house rules or posting guidelines to keep fans ‘on message’

Fun and interesting! People come to Facebook to chill out and to connect with their friends

So, here are my 5 top Facebook brand pages from well known to less well known that contain many of the ingredients above and my thoughts on what we can learn from them:

1. Coca-Cola

Likes: 36,294,451

 What makes this page great?

With well over 36 million likes, Coca-Cola is one of the most followed consumer brands on Facebook. How have they done this? By providing a rich mix of innovative, fun and immersive promotions and features that are exclusive to their Facebook followers.

Coca-Cola keeps their campaigns simple and use a blend of photos and video to encourage fans to join in and participate. The page is fun and there’s plenty to do and see.

Key takeaways:

Be creative and encourage participation

Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm favours photos and videos more highly than regular status updates, meaning they’ll stand a better chance of finding their way into followers’ News Feeds

Post both original and user-generated rich media to grab people’s attention and spark discussions

Use fun, simple and intuitive competitions to keep fans engaged

2. ASOS

Likes: 1,409,490

What makes this page great?

The online fashion retailer was one of the first companies to move into f-commerce and create a fully integrated Facebook store that is easily accessible from within the page.

However, it isn’t just the Facebook store that makes the ASOS Facebook page great – it’s the brand’s focus on creating a memorable customer experience for its fans.

ASOS regularly posts pictures of new fashion ranges to generate discussion, announces deals and promotions and have also created an Instagram feature showcasing behind-the-scenes pictures from magazines and photoshoots.

Key takeaways:

Follow the golden rule of effective Facebook marketing: create a customer experience that keeps users ‘in-system’

Create an environment that gives your followers everything they need within the Facebook page

Focus on engaging fans on your page by posting regular updates and answering fans’ questions on the wall

Be different and stand out from your competitors. Integrate features, competitions and social outposts that others haven’t (e.g. Instagram)

3. Manchester United

Likes: 20,637,665

 What makes this page great?

The Manchester United Facebook page gives fans an immersive brand experience by offering behind-the-scenes videos, exclusive interviews and timely, considered posts that range from breaking news to birthday wishes for the players.

The page also encourages fans to interact, not only through its use of (good quality) photos and videos but also through polls, contests and questions. Every fan responds differently so Manchester United covers all options.

Key takeaways:

Offer your Facebook followers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience they won’t find elsewhere

Post regularly but not so much that it annoys and frustrates your fans

 4. Cisco

 Likes: 233,091

What makes this page great?

Facebook pages are not just for B2C brands. On the contrary, brands like Cisco have leveraged the popularity and appeal of Facebook to create a very well-designed, informative and immersive Facebook experience tailored to their customer’s and stakeholder’s needs.

What is also cool is a tab that allows followers to find a Cisco Facebook page specific to their country using the Cisco Facebook Global Map.

Key takeaways:

Don’t create a Facebook page because it’s the ‘cool thing to do’. Make sure your Facebook page has a clear raison d’être, preferably based on customer/ stakeholder research

Integrate other key social channels into the page to provide other social options for fans and increase visibility for those outposts

Create custom tabs that provide easily digestible information about your company or product

5. EasyLunchboxes

Likes: 15,945

What makes this page great?

Just as B2B brands can make an impact using Facebook, small businesses can, too.

EasyLunchboxes has embraced many of the key ingredients that make up a great Facebook page, including a clear, impactful ‘Welcome’ page, lots of colourful, interesting photos and the integration of their blog, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Key takeaways:

Make sure you design the page to a high standard and in a way that is consistent with the company website and all other marketing communications

Stay on topic and post updates that are consistent with the product and what the brand stands for

Add a newsletter sign-up form with a clear call-to-action to capture more detailed information of your followers and fans

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