Friday, July 29, 2011

Could Your Online History Come Back To Haunt You?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

We’ve all heard the warnings before — watch what you put on social media, it may come back to haunt you! Recent articles have highlighted that some companies are able to dig up online data on you from several years ago.

I first heard about this news via the blog the PROwl. The blog features posts written by students from the student-run PR firm at my alma mater, Temple University. Student Emily Ascani posted a brilliant article highlighting recent news about HR firms dedicated to digging up online dirt on job candidates. In the article, Emily references a CNN interview with Max Drucker, CEO of Social Intelligence, that can be found here.

I started to do some more research about this and came across a New York Times article titled, Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle, which references the same company, Social Intelligence. The company provides services to employers looking to hire talent by scouring the Internet and preparing 7-year report of prospective job candidate’s online activity!

In response to the article, Saavysugar associate editor, Emily Co came up with a list of tips on how to manage your online identity to avoid messing up opportunities for a job in the future. We’ve added additional commentary to the tips below:

- Google yourself: Don’t just type your name into Google, but be sure to constantly monitor your identity by setting up Google alerts for your name and combinations of other keywords. For example, look for your name and industries you’ve worked in, your past employers, schools you’ve attended, and extracurricular activities.

- Make a list of emails and accounts: Check up on those old email accounts that you may have forgotten about. Try to access them and take a look at old websites, online journals or other accounts that you may want to take a look at. Remember when LiveJournal was so popular? Did you have an account and get a little too personal on the blog? Scour for red flags on these ancient accounts and even delete them if you’re not comfortable with them being active.

- Play around with privacy settings: We have learned that nothing that is ‘private’ is really private but even so, consider turning your Twitter stream into a private account. Check your Facebook settings to be sure that users who aren’t your friend only see the bare minimum of your accounts. Some options make you unsearchable on Facebook. Google Plus is still fairly new and I would caution newbies to be extra vigilant with privacy settings as the site continues to evolve and resolve bugs.

- Don't put up anything racy or offensive: We always advise clients to keep their online identity in line with a company social media policy but more importantly, remember you are representing the company no matter what. For those who are job searching, a good rule of thumb is to not post any comments, photos or videos of yourself doing anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. We agree with Emily’s advice, “The best way to keep your record clean is to be clean on the Internet."

It’s better that you take the proactive step to monitor your online identity now and from the past. Try to go back and delete anything questionable, however recognizing that photos or comments are out there is the first step to correcting the issue. If you find something you are unhappy with, Google now features a product called, Me on the Web to help users remove unwanted data.

Photo Courtesy of

Monday, July 25, 2011

LinkedIn Simplifies The Job Application Process

Posted by Leah Ludwig

LinkedIn is one of my favorite professional-focused social networking sites. At Furia Rubel, we regularly encourage our colleagues, clients, friends and family members to jump onboard and join the business-minded conversation. It is a great tool for professional networking, and now this social networking site has taken its offerings to a new level.

This week LinkedIn announced that it will be launching a Web plug-in that allows employers to add a one-click “Apply with LinkedIn” button to their job postings. The goal is to make the job application process as simple as a click. To see how it all works, go to Apply with LinkedIn or watch the YouTube video demonstration below.

What I think is really unique about this new feature is that “Apply with LinkedIn” allows applicants to adjust their profile information to suit the position to which they are applying before they submit the job application. After they submit, the confirmation screen displays people in the applicant's LinkedIn network who work at the company, allowing them to connect or ask for a referral.

Some of the first companies to debut the “Apply with LinkedIn” button on their company websites (besides LinkedIn) include Netflix, TripIt, Photobucket and many others. LinkedIn is also working with the top applicant tracking systems to help them match the best candidates to the right jobs.

This feature is a win-win for employers and job seekers.

From the employer's perspective, adding this plug-in to one’s company website can be easily managed. The LinkedIn interface can be utilized to create the application and can also be custom-branded. The employer can then manage submissions efficiently and use several applicant tracking systems to help match candidates to appropriate positions.

Job seekers also benefit from this LinkedIn feature. Using LinkedIn as the primary point of contact in a job application helps to make maintaining one’s profile more manageable. No longer is there a need to maintain several versions of one’s resume or to worry about email attachments and file formats making it through the email sphere to the appropriate contact.

I give the new application two thumbs up and look forward to watching it take flight. If you are a company looking to bring on new employees, perhaps this is a good tool for you to explore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Remain, Very Sincerely Yours - The Legal Intelligencer Blog

Gina Rubel examines the various ways people communicate through email in a recent post on the Legal Intelligencer blog. She focuses on the typical closings or valedictions that business professionals use frequently when communicating via email. To read more, go to the blog post: I Remain, Very Sincerely Yours.
Photo Courtesy of:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google+ Breaks Onto The Scene

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Google + has been the topic of a lot of buzz in the blogsphere recently, with many bloggers and journalists predicting the demise or success of the new social media networking tool from the search engine giant, Google.  “Basically, Google+ is an incorporation of several services many already use. The idea, according to Google, is to do them better.” If you’re not familiar with Google +, check out this great article from BusinessInsider.

I don’t blame some of the naysayers, given Google’s past history of social media gaffes including Google Wave and Google Buzz. However Google+ seems different. Like many others, I believe it’s still a little too soon to say whether the attempt will sink or swim.

From a PR and marketing perspective, there is positive news for brands and companies to get on board.  Early adopters of Google+ include Ford Motors Company and Mashable, however Google wants to keep close tabs on the brands that are using the platform and encourages companies and brands to apply for the Pilot program.

This interview with Christian Oestlien, the lead product manager for social advertising at Google, was featured on Ad Age Digital. Oestlien reveals the rollout of brand pages could happen very soon.

One thing Google will have to overcome in the coming months is keeping up with the demand from current and potential users. Recently, the network was blocked out to some potential users and invitees to allow the company to play catch-up with the large demand of people wanting to sign up.  Last week, Stephen Shankland of reported that Google was ready for another growth spurt in population, allowing those already able to access the platform the small window of time to invite others.

Over the past weekend, I noticed an influx of invites and was able to access my own Google+ account and invite friends. However, with growth can come bugs and errors.  According to CNN, some users reported being spammed with notification emails but many were quick to forgive the search giant.

PR and Marketing professionals should also be mindful that another platform to join the mix means another tool to be monitored. A article noted the opportunity for marketers to utilize Google+ for it's search engine optimization opportunities and the +1 button via Google. Glenn Gabe in his Internet Marketing Driver blog shares, “You can target users in Search, and follow them to Google+. Yes, you will be able to reach them when they go back to their friends and family to find recommendations or to share information. That’s not possible with Facebook.”

Courtesy of
Some interesting features that have made Google+ unique so far are:

  • Circles: This feature allows users to segment their connections into categories called Circles. Many are praising the ease of use of this feature that Facebook didn’t quite capture with their Lists feature. Now targeted messages to Circles can provide customized outreach.
  • Sparks: An integrated tool to allow users to easily perform searches about a topic and find content to share with their Circles. 
  • Hangouts: A group video chatting ability that allows up to 10 users to interact at once.  This feature seems to directly compete with the recently announced video ability that Facebook rolled out. Unlike Facebook’s video conferencing, Google + users can invite an entire circle or individual people to join the “hangout” and collaborate.

It seems like this service is moving faster than light. Just yesterday, ComputerWorld reported some changes coming this week to the platform. Today, reported that 10 million users have signed up for Google+ in two weeks!

Here at Furia Rubel we will continue to explore the opportunities that Google+ can offer our clients and keep the readers of ThePRLawyer in the loop with new features and benefits for their business.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Protecting Your Brand Online: What Every Business Person Needs To Know About The New .XXX Red Light District - By Griesing Law LLC

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently approved a controversial new .xxx top-level domain (TLD) that is meant to give the adult entertainment industry a clearly marked home on the Internet. This addition to familiar TLDs like .com, .biz, .org, .net and others will alert Internet users that a website contains adult content and will presumably make it easier to block such online content. What does this mean for your business? Virtually every business that offers goods or services under a brand name has trademark rights. The creation of the .xxx TLD will allow cybersquatters to register your trademark as a .xxx domain name. Trademark owners who value their reputation and seek to avoid an association with the adult entertainment industry should consider taking simple proactive measures now to reduce the likelihood of engaging in costly administrative or legal proceedings later.

The .xxx TLD will be operated by Florida-based ICM Registry. ICM has set up an opt-out mechanism that will allow most trademark owners of nationally registered marks to prevent third-party registration of their marks as .xxx domain names before the .xxx TLD is launched.

Here's how the opt-out mechanism works: For 30 days starting around September 2011, there will be a "sunrise" period when trademark owners can defensively register their marks for a one-time fee, placing them on a reserved list and preventing others from registering their marks as .xxx domain names. The fee to opt-out has not been finalized, but is expected to be around $300 per domain name. If you register your trademark during the "sunrise" period, anyone attempting to access your trademark at the .xxx TLD will land on a generic page stating that the domain name has been reserved. To guarantee you are well positioned when the "sunrise" period opens, we recommend that you pre-register your mark now for free at ICM's website,

This new development is an important reminder to companies to consider registering domain names in all available TLDs that correspond to their primary trademark and website to avoid the expense and hassle of fighting for them later, including in foreign jurisdictions where a company has a bona fide intent to do business.

Monitoring your domain name portfolio is just one aspect of protecting and promoting your brand online. Other considerations include: 1) selecting a strong mark when launching your brand or business; 2) filing for a trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and where appropriate internationally; 3) monitoring your trademark online with Google alerts and other Internet tools; 4) policing the Internet and PTO database for trademarks that are identical or confusingly similar to your own; and 5) developing internal guidelines on how your company can use social media to strengthen brand awareness and trademark rights.

Brand owners should also be aware that in addition to creating the .xxx TLD, ICANN has announced additional plans to expand TLDs. ICANN has authorized the creation of new "vanity" TLDs, paving the road for an unlimited number of TLDs reflecting familiar brands such as .cocacola or simply generic TLDs such as .shop or .movie. Vanity TLDs will be costly at $185,000 for the application fee and $25,000 for the annual fee, as well as third party costs. ICANN is also expanding domain names to include Chinese, Cyrillic and other non-Latin scripts.

If you have questions about how to protect your brand online, please contact Kathryn Legge or Dina Leytes.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Griesing Law LLC

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Socialization Of SEO

Posted by Leah Ludwig

My colleague, Gina Rubel, shared a very interesting article with me recently about social media and its affect on search marketing. The article from discussed how and why a huge social reach is now playing a key role as a competitive advantage in search engine optimization.

In his post, blog author Rand Fishkin discusses how for many years the best way to gain rankings in search results was to have accessible pages featuring quality content and targeting the right keywords – in a way that naturally earned external links. You can reference other organic SEO tips in a previous ThePRLawyer blog post. These tips are still very much the same, but there is a new game changer, or shall we call it an “x-factor,” thrown into the mix. Fishkin’s blog goes on to outline how search engine results are now being altered and how this is an eye-opener for search engine marketers.

This is how it works. If you are logged in to a Google account and have social media profiles that you actively engage, you will notice images from your social media network in your search results demonstrating what links and search terms your social media contacts have shared, liked, retweeted, talked about, etc. Try it out. Do a Google search while not logged in to your Google account and then try it while being logged in. There is definitely a difference. I captured my own searches to demonstrate just how it works.

Have you noticed this in your own searches? Harnessing the power of a network and growing a social media circle can really effect and benefit search engine optimization. Fishkin said, “Not only is Google annotating the listing with a photo, creating social proof and certainly increasing click-through-rate, they're also biasing to put these results on page one that might normally rank in utter obscurity. This isn't just true for obscure, random searches either, nor is it exclusive to [only the social network feed of] Twitter.”

As a side note, since these blogs were posted it seems that Google has shut down its real-time search deal with Twitter. You may only see older Twitter shares in your Google searches, but nothing after July 2, 2011 – for now.

I also got some insider feedback from our in-house search engine marketing guru, Laura Powers. She says, "If you’re working to market a product, service or brand, there’s now a direct incentive to build your online social network as large as possible among all of your target audiences. The socialization of search is more than just working within the platforms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., it's about your social circle becoming more aware of your engagement in their search results and the power you have to influence those results.”

These new developments really demonstrate how a huge social media reach is acting as a competitive advantage in SEO. If you haven’t already, it is time to get on board and begin to proactively engage social media.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Facebook Users Can Now Video Chat

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Photo Caption:
Facebook announced today that users can now use their social networking site to video chat with friends.

According to the blog post, Facebook has been working with Skype to bring the feature to their over 750 million users in an easy-to-use way.

In addition to this announcement, Facebook will be rolling out a highly-requested, multi-person chat feature and a new design to make it easy to see the people who you message the most in the chat sidebar. To see some of the Facebook videos posted already, check out this link.

Most interesting about this news is the recent acquisition of Skype by Microsoft. This article by Om Malik from notes that Microsoft is an investor in Facebook. Malik points out that the biggest winner in the deal was Facebook because it is now able to bring video chatting capabilities to Facebook users with the services from Skype. Check out his article:

Who are you going to Facebook chat with today?