2012 New Year – New Venue

2012 VISIN

Its a New Year and a lot has transpired in the Video Realm during 2011. Additionally, we have been very active in SMB media and as any one can tell from visiting the site this last year, we have not been too active in publishing content to our own Virtual Interactive Systems site! Well I can say that all the changes and challenges we faced in 2011 have had dramatic effects on our business and that has resulted in a complete overhaul of our business for 2012. Within the next month you will see Visin.com move to a total Video Aggregation site as we move into assisting more of our SMB clientele into the How To process of Internet video along with copious amounts of relevant data on Internet marketing on our new site SMB Social that will have its official launch in February 2012. So 2012 is shaping up to be the Video Year for Business and we will dominate this arena.

Google Plus – the bandwidth HOG

SO why does it take G+ so long to load (20 minutes and counting) ??? Once again we are down to (1) Fiber line or so says MIT (Magic Island Technologies) . Life sucks working in the Middle East especially with regards to internet access. Most users in the US and other places abroad take their high speed access for granted. We pay $65.00 a month here with no guarantee of up-time and lately its been down more than up. That’s partly the reason for the large load time of G+. However, it’s also appearing that Google has not load balanced their apps very well. Even though we have what amounts to Dial-Up access, I would think Google with their co-located servers all around the World could do better than this ?? I can access Facebook and Skype which can be heavy on servers at times and I can even access the back-end of my system here at Virtual Interactive Systems, to create this post with very little latency.  So why is Google Plus taking such a long time to load the Streaming portion for updates ?? I ran a TRACERT and we are connecting to the servers at Google, but it’s a SLOW PROCESS, and my bet is G+ is not properly load balanced or optimized to deal with the rest of the world yet ?

 

Ok, Google you can spend BILLIONS to  buy-up Motorola , but you can’t even get your own system to work properly on low bandwidth…. hows that working for ya ? Cause it’s not for me, so for now your Google -1  (MINUS one) to me!

Time to Change the Channel on Netflix

Netflixsux Time to change the channel on Netflix ? Customers irate because of new pricing model. Some media pundits support Netflix based on their signing new deals with NBC . Netflix in my opinion is not providing the services that warrant a price hike of this magnitude. Their streaming services serve up OLD & outdated movies…..August 31, will be a bitter pill for Netflix to swallow.. Kiss your IPO adios

Current users need to drop NetFlix and new subscribers should look elsewhere. NetFlix is raping loyal customers and they don’t care!!!!!!
Mark Orton
July 14, 2011
Netflix’s 60% Price Hike: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me!

Imagine my surprise when I opened an email from Netflix Tuesday to discover that my current plan is jumping from $10 a month to $16 a month. Sure, that doesn’t seem like a huge jump (come on, Sarah, it’s only $6), but it is a pretty large hike–60 percent, to be exact.
Netflix Raises Rates Again: Business Model Has Serious Challenges Ahead | CMO.com

Netflix announced that they are raising rates on monthly plans that allow customers to get unlimited streaming and one DVD out at a time.
Netflix Price Increase Infuriates The Interwebs

I’m sure that when the people over at Netflix submitted their blog post about the new prices yesterday, they expected some level of backlash. How could they not? In short, they turned a service that cost $10 into a service that costs $16 without adding anything new.
Netflix Backlash Explodes On Facebook

The upcoming Netflix price increases has the Internet in an absolute tizzy. Their blog post announcing the upcoming price hikes quickly filled up with the 5000 comment limit, and although every comment wasn’t sifted through, the word “backlash” is absolutely fitting.
Netflix raises plan prices by 60%, with 4100 negative comments and counting

Netflix on Tuesday announced significant changes to its pricing plans that include a 60% price bump on combination DVD and streaming plans. The new changes go into effect September 1 for existing members. Netflix customers, if you couldn”t already guess, …
Netflix price hike angers users, some drop plan.
Albert Hurt
July 14, 2011
Netflix users revolt over price increases [poll]

Yesterday, Netflix did something almost unthinkable in this economy — dramatically increased prices for many customers. I asked for your reaction, and, whoa, did you give it. To recap: Netflix separated its DVD and streaming plans. Under the old arrangement, subscribers could rent one DVD at a time and get unlimited streaming for $8.99.
Hulu or Netflix: In the game of streaming video, you win or you socialize

With over 23 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, Netflix has roughly 25 times more paying customers than competing online video service Hulu Plus. However, Hulu is by far the more dominant streaming service when it comes to social interaction, according to data collected by social media listening firm Mashworks.
Dear Netflix, Thanks For The Customers! Signed, Redbox

Talk about backlash. I’ve yet to see one comment anywhere supporting Netflix’s price hikes and for good reason. Netflix announced a new pricing scheme yesterday that effectively raised the price of a popular subscription plan by 60%. Instead of costing $9.99 for streaming and DVD rental, Netflix separated the services and priced them each $7.99, which results in a combined cost of $16.
Cancelled my netflix last night..greed is UGLY!
Julie Taylor-Hitchcock
July 14, 2011
Said goodbye to netflix lastnight. They waited till the movie stores went out of business then jacked their prices! Assholes! Same with walmart! They put Ames, Hills, and almost K-mart out and now their prices are not as good as they used to be.
Janine Shepperson
July 14, 2011
This Day in Tech: Netflix customers are angry birds

waynec_sf: Got a quick Skyline run in the GT-R, barely taxed its capabilities. Photos courtesy of @antgoo http://t.co/HsxoQ6Q cnet: Busy day? We round up all the top stories in This Day in Tech: http://cnet.co/oXzzYK CNETNews: This Day in Tech: Exclusive on Sprint confirming LightSquared deal; angry Netflix customers http://cnet.co/r5crfW crave: iLuv iSP110 review: Is this speaker case worth $15?
I must be very angry today-today is vent day!!!Netflix-good bye!!!!!thanks for managing to squeeze yet again more money out of people trying to make a living.Greedy Canadian company.Is there another company anyone can suggest to me to order videos by mail or stream videos thru the xbox?please let me know I am cancelling my netflix subscription today
Lauralee Oprey
July 14, 2011
Netflix Expands NBC Deal As Customer Anger Mounts | Technology News, Social Media News & Aggregated Tech Information From TeckTwo.com!

The renewed deal not only assures that content from shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Office will remain on Netflix, but it also expands the deal to include shows such as Leave it to Beaver, Psych and Law and Order: SVU. The deal also covers a selection of NBC Universal’s film library.
Netflix Expands NBC Deal As Customer Anger Mounts

Netflix and NBC Universal have renewed and expanded their live video streaming deal, bringing more content to Netflix. The agreement comes as customer anger mounts over a major price increase for Netflix DVD and streaming services.
Netflix overhauls subscription plans; splits DVD, streaming options http://usat.ly/qZw27m @netflix Time 2 CANCEL subscriptions!
thomasrtownsend
July 12, 2011

 

Year End in Review

How time has gone by this year. As I am creating this post, I realize I have been very negligent to my once very high reader base. One of our main goals for 2010, will be to create more content to better help those wanting to include video and or social media into their business plans for the New Year. So what have we been doing and why have we not “eaten our own dog food” as the saying goes ?   Well the main reason is we have been creating content for clients and helping them gain community communication channels by co-developing Social Media Managed platforms, with video as a core tool. Our proudest accomplishment over the last 7 months and the chief reason for our negligence on posting here has been our involvement with a nonprofit organization, Operation Hug-A-Hero.  You can read our Press Release posted on the Fast Pitch site entitled Nonprofit OPERATION Hug-A-Hero gets Social Media Makeover.

We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year, and look forward to a wonderfully creative 2010. We will be revamping the Virtual Interactive web site to better bring news and advice so that Small Business owners will have the tools they need to succeed in the new media realm.

V/r

Thomas Townsend
President
Virtual Interactive Systems
Tampa, Florida
 

Why Fortune Companies are embracing Social Media

dma_logoThe 2nd week of June the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Social Media Council (SMC) released their first-ever Social Media Survey.

The goal of the Social Networking Software Survey was to obtain industry awareness of how Social Software is being utilized today, as well as to get an understanding of future internal and external social media strategies. However, what they really were after was learning just how mainstream this going Social phenom has affected larger companies.

They surveyed over 3,000 companies in April – May 2009. This included close to half of the Fortune 100 companies. What they discovered during the process was that large companies are embracing social media,with about 40% of the respondents indicating they currently had social media trials underway.

Additionally they found that:

  • Over 70 percent of companies surveyed are already using external social networks for collaboration purposes.
  • Almost 60 percent of the survey respondents think social networking can have a high impact on brand awareness.
  • Of the top emerging technologies, companies surveyed believe external social networks have the most potential value to their respective organizations.
  • More than 45 percent of respondents believe social networking can have a high impact on capturing customer insights.

So as a small to medium business owner (SMB), this means that you need to really take a serious look at including Social Media in your marketing strategy, if you are not already doing so.  You can pretty much guarantee that your competition is! [Read more…]

The buoy in this economic storm is Search Marketing

 

In a new research report from E Marketer Inc, Web retailers and other online marketers will be spending much more time and effort beefing up their search engine optimization efforts over the next several years.

Search Marketing-buoy

In yet another report, this one from the Internet Retailers new search engine marketing survey, some rather interesting survey results revealed that more retailers are investing in search engine optimization as the economy worsens.

Moving forward through the severe recession, 55.3% plan to increase spending on search engine optimization to achieve better natural search results.

These numbers clearly show that retailers are turning their attention more to optimization to improve natural search results than focusing on getting the best keyword mix in paid search.

eMarketer’s report also indicates that 2009 spend will likely hit $14.7 billion and by 2013, total U.S. search marketing advertising will reach an estimated $23.38 BILLION, with marketers spending more on search engine optimization … [Read more…]

YouTube redesign outs User Generated Content

youtube

Is  UGC  (user generated content) headed for the digital dustbins  on YouTube ?

If you’re a small or medium business and have been running the do it yourself approach on Video promotions, your ROI (return on Investment) which at present may be  equal to the time you have invested in producing your clips and uploading them to YouTube, is fast approaching its end.

YouTube has been a great way for those without the skills or tools to get their content noticed, as well as some premium content too.  However, there is still a ton of plain old garbage that is uploaded to the site in mass quantities every day.   As a result YouTube is continuing to lose bucketfuls of money on the increasing bandwidth that it forks out every month.  Since it’s owned by Google, the share holder and investment community won’t stand for it to continue to bleed without some way turning down the spigot and eventually getting to a model that earns a profit.  Enter the new deals with corporate clients with the likes of Disney, CBS etc and now add to that the ubiquitous larger banner ads that are running on most of the USG content these days.

It appears that YouTube in many ways may want emulate Hulu that offers premium content that is professionally produced.

So what’s a small business owner to do?  Well I can say that adding video as one part of a Social Media Management Campaign can have a beneficial and lasting impact with recurring benefits to your bottom line.  For about the cost of a Yellow pages add we at Virtual Interactive Systems can pick up where a YouTube video leaves off. Now is the time to give professionals a serious look and discover what you’re missing.  Oh, you can call the folks that run the outdated and out modeled phone book.  They even do video ads that can only be observed on their site.  We know because we have done a few projects for them before we found out just how bad a business proposition it turned out to be for their clients.

If you want to get your business and or products noticed with a lasting and recurring theme that promotes you across the entire Social Media Spectrum then do it right and call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Real Estate Mobility

realestateappsphoneWe recently wrote an article for the folks over at Home Gain, where I am a guest Blogger on the Technology front for the Real Estate industry. My article entitled, Is an iPhone Under Your Tree This Christmas? discusses the merits that the iPhone has ushered in for consumers and the reason why Real Estate agents and Brokers should give some serious thought into developing a mobile version of their web site.

A few of the screen shots used in the article are from the  recent upgrade we did for the Greater Tampa Bay Real Estate Team, where we not only added video capability but made the platform Mobile aware with specific emphasis for those using iPhones and the new Goggle Android platform.

We will be posting as press release here shortly on all the things we did for the Real Estate platform upgrade, it will blow your mind at how much functionality we added to their site.  Anyways back to the article on Home Gain.

Unfortunately, one area of the article did not make it past the editorial cut due the fact that the application I referenced is one from Trulia a competitor to Home Gain. So, I am including that portion on our site here because it is very good information on how to do an iPhone application for Real Estate consumers the right way. It is by no means perfect but of the applications now available on the iPhone in the Real Estate category, this ones does the best job by far.homegainlogo As we know competition can spur technology so I only hope that Home Gain picks up the gauntlet and comes out with an even better application. So read the blog post over at the Home Gain Blog and then come back here for more. [Read more…]

Online printing services extraordinaire

psprint

With Christmas fast approaching, I often get customers that have rather large projects that need to be done in a hurry.  This is in itself not a problem but if my resources are tied up and the project results in needing more than (1) or (2) DVD’s, well it can be quite hectic getting the labeling and jackets ready for that finished professional touch that our customers expect from us.  Recently I came across a company that can help us out in this area.

Since we are all about Web services at Virtual Interactive we also tend to use vendors like ourselves that work or support a web based business model.

After taking a look at their offerings, I thought this was something that I should pass on to others who regularly frequent our site.

What am I talking about?  Printing services that produce top quality full-color CD/DVD sleeves. Hey this beats the old plastic jewel case, looks very professional and they can save us money and a lot of hassle.

After looking at their site, I was very surprised at the range of additional service that they offer.
One that caught the eye of my daughter was their poster printing. She is a budding artist and I may be having a discussion with the bearded guy….if you know who I am talking about ….for a special Christmas order?   The samples on their site look great.  Come to think of it, I may have a use here as well for another upcoming video project.  I can just see the look on my client’s face when we present them with their finished DVD and full size movie poster to boot.

I also liked the easy to navigate site and their pricing is straight forward, calculated based on details of your project and delivery requirements. So weather you’re an artist, musician or budding film maker, it looks like PsPrint has something for you.

BTW here’s a quote from their site that I think sums it up quite well.

“By combining the very best in web technologies with state-of-the-art production facilities, PsPrint delivers online convenience combined with lightening-fast turnaround and very competitive prices”

You can bet that we will be using them on our next project.

Preserve old movies, photos, music with Digital Technology

Film_cansThis last Saturday my local News Paper printed a pretty good article in the Homes section regarding preservation of old films and photos stored away in peoples attics closets etc.

Of course this article is very near and dear to my heart and actually is a good cause to write about. Recently my father passed away at 90 years old. He has a ton of old photographs many of them from vintage periods of his hey days in the 30’s 40’s, 50’ 60’s etc. So what to do with all of these photos ? Very simple for me since I am in the business of not only creating memories for clients but also in the preservation of those memories.

They are in the process of being scanned, cleaned up and categorized. In the case of my fathers photos, I will be using them as part of a documentary project on the Merchant Marines serving in WW II and the US foray into the war with our entry into the campaign in New Guinea, for which my father played an active role.

“The campaign on New Guinea is all but forgotten except by those who served there. Battles with names like Tarawa, Saipan, and Iwo Jima overshadow it. Yet Allied operations in New Guinea were essential to the U.S. Navy’s drive across the Central Pacific and to the U.S. Army’s liberation of the Philippine Islands from Japanese occupation.”

Did not mean to digress off track here, the point that the article makes as well as the one that I am talking about merge into the same theme. You see as we age, so does the media on which we’ve stored our memories and moments of the past. The older storage medium of film and photographs is referred to as Analog and the new medium of computers and DVD’s is referred to as Digital.

If you still have old film footage lying around: be it old 8 mm, Super 8 or 16mm film or even old phonographic albums – LP records old 78’s or 45s!, or even fading black-and-white snapshots, not to mention color slides and prints and lets not forget VHS tapes, then the time to transfer that over to a DVD for long lasting storage is now.

The longer you wait the more the material degrades to the point that very soon it may not even be salvageable. Basically, the preservation of old film footage should be done as soon as possible.

You might have a few questions regarding the process and cost and that is understandable.

Lets’ see if I can help here:

[Read more…]