Monthly Archives: November 2011

Android – Open Source and Easy?

We love technology at Tecmark, especially as it plays such a large role in our industry.

We’re quite partial to Apple and the way that it ‘just works.’ We love the freedom that Android can deliver for our developers and clients and are excited about the potential that Windows holds.

18 months ago, the market asked for iPhone, then iPad and then both. Android was a consideration, Blackberry had a mention and Windows Mobile was but a passing thought. And let’s not mention Nokia or Palm OS because nobody else did!

Now, 95% of the time the market is asking for Apple iOS and Android OS and Windows is now a real consideration, while Blackberry is slipping in popularity. In fact, according to a recent study by IDC, the Windows platform has seen the greatest rise in interest ever from developers since the mobile platform was released.

I think 2012 is going to be a three-platform race and that doesn’t include Blackberry. We’re keeping our little geeky eyes on Windows – the Nokia Lumia handset is a breath of fresh air and just what the new Nokia/Microsoft partnership needed.

But let’s get back to Android. It’s open source, which is a good thing; it strengthens the community of developers with a collective and shared goal of ‘making it better’. Android is available on over 700 handsets, through a varying spectrum of device pricing. According to Millennial Media, 56% of impressions came from Android and 28% from iOS – compelling figures.

It doesn’t, however, mean that it’s easier to develop on – quite the opposite actually! Fragmentation is the main problem here and when the market wants the same quality on Android as iPhone, we ask ‘on which device?’ 15 of the top 20 handsets in Europe run some form of Android and all behave differently.

Developing on Android requires four sets of graphics at four different resolutions enabling the app to scale correctly on the majority of  devices. Some handsets have density ratios rather than pixel ratios, faster processors than others and more capable ways of removing cache from the memory.

What I can guarantee is that the general Joe Bloggs wouldn’t know this or even want to know it!

At Tecmark, however, we’re passionate about learning the ins and outs of various Android devices in order that, when our clients ask us for apps of comparable quality across both Apple and Android, we are able to honestly tell them the Android devices on which this is possible.

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Dear Blog Comment Spammers…

Dear Comment Spammers,

In the past month, I have received over 600 pieces of ‘correspondence’ from you via the Tecmark blog. While I would love to respond to each and every piece individually, I am far too busy walking over burning hot coals with no shoes on while simultaneously poking myself in the eye with cocktail sticks that have been dipped in hydrochloric acid (you should give that a go some time – hugely entertaining).

However, I was beginning to feel a little rude. I was always told to answer politely when spoken to. Of course, I dispute whether this rule would apply when ‘spoken to’ means having the same unintelligible nonsense screamed in my general direction repeatedly for hours and I also question whether this really applies when the person speaking at me calls themselves ‘viagara.’ In fact, someone selling prescription drugs over the Internet would probably find themselves firmly on the list of people I was told never to speak to, along with strangers in cars parked outside my school and offering me sweeties. But anyway, I digress.

These British manners of mine won’t let me not at least acknowledge your comments. After all, you must have spent at least a nanosecond submitting bot driven spamfests of commentary onto the blog and it’s only fair I at least let you know I received them. I did. Joyously. However, you will notice that none of your comments are live on the website and I thought it only fair that I tell you why:

  • You haven’t used your real name. I’m not expecting all commenters to leave their full name, address and bank details. But a first name or at least reasonable nickname is necessary. And call me a cynic, but I somehow doubt your name is Viagara, adult cam, cheap reseller hosting India, business SEO, weight loss diet, Canon cameras or any of the other hundreds of such names you have attempted. If it turns out I am indeed wrong about this, then I cannot help but think your parents hated you.
  • Another reason your comments have not been approved is because much of the content within them is, well, garbled nonsense. I can assure you that ‘sfjkhdfkjghreughkdjfhg’ is not a word. I can also assure you that repeating it 17 times in a 16 word comment does not make it anymore of a word than it was when you just had it there just the once.
  • You’re not particularly original. Even in the comments with real words (there are some in there, believe it or not) are unimaginative and boring. While I appreciate your ‘great post,’ comment, I don’t believe for a moment that I’m the first person you have said it to. A Google search tells me that even your 115 word declaration of love for my posts isn’t unique to me. No, you’ve said exactly the same words to so many others even as recently as the day before you said it to me!! I’m hurt.

I hope that clears things up for you. It’s probably better for both of us if you just move on to a blog that doesn’t moderate its comments.

Many thanks,


Ah, if only blog comment spammers actually READ the posts!

What Can a Tweet from Stephen Fry do for Your Traffic?

It’s my firm belief that the Philosophers of 23rd century will not be pondering the meaning of life, the meaning of love or the reason for our very existence. Oh no. All of that will have been answered by research commissioned by the 22nd Century global leadership coalition of Tesco and Google. Instead, the 23rd century Philosophers will be pondering:

What could a Tweet from that long passed Stephen Fry fellow do for traffic to a 21st century website?


Or maybe not. But whatever.

All that was just a long winded (and admittedly somewhat unnecessary) introduction to a post about that very thing: Just how much traffic can a Tweet from Stephen Fry refer to your website?

JDRF Tweeted by Fry!

We’re fortunate enough to work with a fabulous charity, JDRF, who works tirelessly on research into Type 1 Diabetes. On Friday afternoon, my beloved Stephen Fry Tweeted a link to the JDRF website.

Now not only did we have the ‘yay’ factor for JDRF getting some Stephen Fry loving, but our inner Analytics geeks rejoiced in the added data! We actually switched on real time Analytics shortly after the Tweet (who needs Corrie when you’ve got real time Google Analytics?).

A weekend has now passed and we’ve spent much of the morning crunching numbers to answer the eternal question:

Just how much traffic does a Tweet from Stephen Fry drive?!


Now, granted, this is just one Tweet. Which means it doesn’t allow us to analyse the difference in traffic based on time of the day, wording around the link, day of the week or any of that good stuff. But nonetheless, it was interesting to analyse traffic from Twitter after a Stephen Fry tweet.

The story can be told in an image:

But if you’re looking for numbers, JDRF’s daily visitors from Twitter over the past 2 months have averaged fewer than 10 per day. After Mr Fry’s Tweet, however:

  • Friday 11th (day of Tweet): Over 3000 visitors from Twitter
  • Saturday 12th: Over 300 visitors from Twitter
  • Sunday 13th: Over 100 visits from Twitter

Traffic from Facebook

What’s interesting is that traffic from Facebook also increased (as below), showing the same spike pattern as Twitter traffic:

So, thank you, Mr. Fry for thousands of visits to JDRF for a good cause and also for the Google Analytics insights.

5 Extra Things I’d Like to See from Google Plus Business Pages

I was, admittedly, rather excited when Google announced G+ business pages yesterday. I’m not quite sure yet whether that’s testament to my being excited by odd things or to Google’s pre-launch marketing of their business pages. It’s likely the former. But anyway, I dutifully headed over to Google Plus to check them out and found their announcement to be a bit premature – they weren’t yet open for everyone.

Cue a twenty minute sulk.

Anyway, this morning the pages were available for all and I set up Tecmark’s page early on. I was, well, very disappointed. Not as disappointed as the day I found out Santa wasn’t real, granted. But probably as disappointed as I was about the Easter Bunny. Business pages are just a bit…bland.

There is not a great deal of functionality and as someone who spends a lot of time tinkering with Facebook business pages, the Google Plus offering feels a bit rushed. There is nothing that really sets them apart from personal profiles and I cannot understand why they were not released in their current form when personal profiles launched.

Google has a tendency to improve things over time, though, so I’ll be patient. In the meantime, here is my wish list of 5 things I’d like to see from Google Plus business pages:

Multiple Admins

For a business page to only have one admin is inconvenient. Facebook lets you have multiple users able to administrate the page. Come on, Google, there’s no shame in copying something so practical!

Friendlier URLs

When you hit the coveted 25 fans on Facebook, you can have a nice friendly Facebook URL, e.g.  This doesn’t appear to be the case on Google Plus yet with URLs populated heavily with numbers.

Personalised Background

The plain white backgrounds look bland. Twitter and Facebook are more customisable. We want that on G+ too!

Ability to Integrate with Other Social Profiles

Perhaps this isn’t in the spirit of Google trying to take over the world of business social media. But while G+ personal pages allow users to integrate their profile fully with other social profiles, there is no such feature I have yet been able to identify that allows businesses to the do the same.

Improved Integration with SERPS

Google has done something quite cool with search. If, for example, you search +Pepsi in Google, you’ll see the brand’s G+ business page come up with a logo…

I love that. And it certainly explains why Google retired the + sign from its traditional use in search recently. My question is, who will search +Pepsi? Wouldn’t it be better if this showed up for simply Pepsi?

And do you remember when Google and Twitter were friends and you could see real time Twitter results in the SERPs? Well, I think brand searches should incorporate real time results from the brand’s G+ page.

So there you have it! All I want from Google Plus pages is for them to become Facebook pages is a bit of added functionality and some better SERP integration. Please?

My Ecommerce Website Pet Peeves!

As someone who regularly makes purchases online from all manner of sites, I have certain expectations of ecommerce sites. Basically, I know what I like and, more to the point, what I don’t!

Perhaps my expectations of ecommerce websites have been affected largely by an understanding of conversion rate optimisation and time spent assessing our clients’ conversion performance – how users interact with their sites. For the most, part, though, I’d consider lots of the things that repel me from ecommerce websites before making a purchase to be the sort of things that would probably irritate everyone! And here are some of them:

Pop Up Overload

If I’m on an ecommerce website browsing products, it means I am potentially looking to make a purchase. It does not mean I want some video popping up in my face to tell me about your latest offer or a persistent yellow box begging me for an email address that you will spam me on for the rest of all eternity. Pop ups are a real deterrent for me.

Inefficient Search Features

If I type in the name of a book on a book website, I expect to be shown everything by that name or a similar name. Irrelevant results will send me running.

Product No Longer Available

On a site with thousands of products, it is reasonable to expect that some will be discontinued. But if half the pages I encounter on your site tell me the product isn’t available, I’ll get bored.

I have to admit, though, I have a soft spot for quirky messages on discontinued products or 404 pages. If there’s an effective message on such a page and I am able to navigate to something similar easily, I’ll probably stick around. (Either that or you can show me a picture of a puppy dog and I’ll buy there and then!).

Slow Loading Pages

I’m impatient. I have fast broadband and I like quick loading pages. Internet users have come to simply expect pages to load on demand. Long gone are the dark dial up days of the past when it was perfectly reasonable to navigate to a page and go off and make a coffee while it loaded up. So if an ecommerce website loads up really slowly, I am probably going to go elsewhere.

Dead Links

This irritates me. If your site is littered with dead links, the SEO within me is sighing in dismay… as the internet shopping addict within me is navigating away from your site and is Amazon-bound.

And I suppose that’s the problem for smaller independent ecommerce websites. There are so many big websites with an established customer base and who are so efficient and trusted that these finicky little annoyances on your site can easily drive users to one of the big players. Internet shoppers have no shortage of choice – so your sales could be crushed by a poor user experience.

And while we’re on the topic of online purchasing, this video from Google Analytics made me chuckle!

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