Maybe All Company Holiday Parties Should Be Virtual

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) ran an article this month discussing the pros and cons of in-person holiday office parties this year. 

“While last year’s parties were almost exclusively virtual, declining coronavirus cases, rising vaccination rates and the arrival of COVID-19 booster shots are allowing for more in-person experiences this time around, especially at smaller employers. However, to keep employees safe, some organizations are keeping their events completely virtual, while others are inventing new ways to mark the season.” reads the leade of the article.

The SHRM article shares several perspectives. Some employers very much value the party is employee morale and engagement. In contrast, others were opting to have no event or a virtual gathering in the name of safety. 

When it comes to virtual holiday party ideas, the internet has no shortage. From a Virtual Yuletide Showdown with scavenger hunt-style challenges to A Very Merry Mystery virtual whodunnit game. 

And choosing a virtual event isn’t just about safety. For some companies, virtual events are a highly desirable option, and not just for holiday parties. 

“As it turns out, adopting a virtual event strategy can actually produce a number of unexpected benefits — benefits that will surely outlast the pandemic. Of course, virtual events will always be more accessible than in-person events, but the marketers we spoke to had other lessons to share as well. Here’s how forward-thinking marketers learned to love virtual events and reaped benefits that will follow them for years to come.” says CMS wire.

Arkadin says “Getting to an event means travelling, and often hotel, food, drink, and entertainment budgets. Whether it’s Barcelona, Las Vegas, London, or Singapore, if the event is not close to your visitor’s home location, they face additional expenses beyond the ticket price. In fact, even free events, may not be affordable, due to these extra costs. Going virtual can remove the financial hurdle.”

And some employees prefer virtual events. 

“Some workers may really enjoy offices, but distributed teams like the one behind WordPress prove offices aren’t needed for successful companies or engaged employees. What is viewed as the best experience will vary from person to person. I have no idea if office workers will mostly head back to the office or not. But the only efficient meetings I’ve had in my life have been virtual, and bad meetings are bad for employees.” said Internet News Flash

YouTube Will Have More Ads, But These Ads Won’t Help Your Favorite Creators

YouTube will start running ads on channels outside the Partner Program, according to credible reports, including a statement from YouTube itself. YouTube said, “we’ll begin slowly rolling out ads on a limited number of videos from channels not in YPP,”

This is a win for YouTube, and will likely help make Vimeo a lot of money from brands who cannot risk having ads on their videos. But I will never feel bad about using an ad blocker again. Google (parent company of YouTube) is a big bad bully of the internet. They have build the web up, broken the internet down, and blame the robots when people get upset.

I sat and watched tens of thousands of ads to help the creators in the YT partner program. People who made livings off of YouTube. But YouTube has lost my willingness to watch another damn ad. I care nothing about the success of YouTube as a corporatiwon.

YouTube has found a way to cut out most creators, and yes, they offer free hosting for all manner of content. But if they hadn’t popped up, hadn’t been the big chungus gobbling up web video for the last 13 years, maybe we would have other viable consumer web video sites to broadcast ourselves.

Google just killed off free unlimited hosting in the Google Photos app, and while it sound like I’m mad that I don’t get free stuff. I’m not. I’m royally pissed that I will likely now pay Google the exact same amount I would have paid another company, but Google being free killed those competitors.

To quote dontfiremepls from Hacker News, people (like me) our upset,

“Because it’s anti-competitive dumping. The dirty secret of SV is that it’s an enormous dumping scheme: burn billions of dollars of money to offer ‘free’ or goods and services, gain a dominant position in the market by driving the honestly priced competition into the ground, then jack up the prices and fleece the customers. Uber is the poster boy of this strategy, but it’s not the only one.

They are right, and FY Your Information, Google sucks.

Don’t Fall For The SEO Hype

Search engine optimization known as SEO is a set of methods that people use to improve ranking on search engines. In my Opinion it’s totally fine to make sure your website is optimized to rank in Google, and Bing. What is wrong is lying to customers.

Years ago, Google came along as a search engine and made links a major part of how websites would rank in the search results. The way links are counted towards search results has grown, and changed over the years, but links are still a major factor for search rankings.

As explained in a blog post by a Dallas SEO Agency.

Prior to modern search engines, websites were found using directories and blog roles, where sites would link to each other so that people could discover more of the web. This linking, along with basic keyword recognition, was how Google indexed and ranked websites. When this started to get abused by webmasters who would build sites, write spam content, and buy links to rank, Google updated the algorithm. Google also told website owners to change their behavior or risk getting deindexed. Full Article

Links have always been a part of improving search rankings, and Google has penalised a lot of websites for being spam, and buying or building low quality links. Now low quality comment spam has all but disappeared, and people are being ethical about link building, following the Google Webmaster Guidelines; right?

Not really, buying links is still a thing. Now, the link buying is also often more deceptive. As people aren’t just buying a link, they are after credibility. They want people, not just search engines to view them as important. So they buy links for news sites, and they stick those logos on the home page of their websites.

Unethical online agencies were writing about clients in major publications like Forbes Inc. and Entrepreneur. Those clients weren’t just buying links, they were proclaiming the the world that they were in a major publication, and were credible, because Forbes said so. Buying a link in Inc. Magazine and putting the logo on a website is not SEO, it is fraud.

SEO agencies are often the worst offenders of this kind of “look how cool we are” fraud. This is an example of the Awards section of a large, SEO agency.

Those look, impressive, they are a top SEO, and they are part of the Forbes Agency Council But these are awards nearly anyone can buy. Want to get ranked a top SEO, just pay up!

If you pay $3,500 you can have any site listed as a “Top SEO firm” or for a few thousand you can join the Forbes Agency Council. This article, talking about Fake Gurus, shows a screenshot of the receipt of nearly $2,000 for them to write for Forbes. Showing that logo isn’t SEO, it’s fraud.

The above screenshot shows a time I fell for the bait. The sales tactics by the Forbes Councils are very close to those used by fake gurus. I was first invited to contribute, and days later, after telling my proud mother and several friends that I would be a Forbes contributor, I was asked for my credit card number to pay nearly $2,000 for the privilege. I almost immediately asked for and received a refund. But for a moment, I was willing to buy into the idea the emperor’s new clothes were beautiful

Most of the SEO awards in honors, the kind of things that make marketing agency websites rank in Google, and help land clients are fraud. People aren’t just trying to fool google, they are trying to fool you! Do you really want a “Top SEO” who is part of the Forbes council, or do you want someone who is honest. SEO is SEO take the link, but don’t lie to your customers.