Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two Cities, One Week: Charlotte, North Carolina

[Cross-posted from the Hotpot Community Blog]

Fresh off launching business outreach and support in Madison yesterday, we’re now adding our fifth city to the mix: Charlotte, North Carolina. Starting today, we’ll offer dedicated support for the more than 40,000 local businesses in the Charlotte area, helping them get noticed on Google and get more customers at their door.

More than 20 percent of all searches on Google each day have a local intent, and we want to make it as easy as possible for Charlotte businesses to get discovered whether folks are looking for BBQ, furniture stores or electricians. We’ve already begun sending the Places starter kits directly to local businesses. In addition to instructions on how to make the most of Google’s free online tools, it also features some ideas on how to get your customers to share their great experiences by rating and reviewing your business on Google. If you don’t receive a kit within the next few days, any Charlotte area business can also request one for free through the Google Places Catalog.

And, for businesses that are already “Recommended on Google,” we’re also including our NFC-enabled window decals that allow anyone with an NFC-enabled device, such as the Nexus S, to tap their phone against the decal and see all the relevant information about that business.

We’re excited to be in kicking things off in Charlotte and look forward to working with its great business community over the next several months.

Posted by Sameer Mahmood, Local Marketing Team

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Google Canada offers SMBs a 'net'

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the heart and soul of the Canadian economy. There are over 2 million SMBs in Canada; And even though more than 80% of the Canadian population is online, we estimate that only 1.2 million of these businesses have websites. What’s more, our research shows that of the small businesses that are not yet online, 70% would consider establishing and developing a website if it was easy to do and free of charge.

We have seen firsthand how SMBs grow and flourish when they maintain an online presence -- and we firmly believe all Canadian businesses should benefit from online technologies. So, we want to help ensure that all Canadian SMBs have access to the tools and resources necessary for creating websites and marketing online.

Today we’re announcing the ‘Canada Get Your Businesses Online’ ( program. is a joint effort by Google, RBC, The Globe and Mail, Rogers, CIRA, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Silver Lining Limited, and, to help SMBs create websites and understand the vast opportunities of online marketing. Over the next year, we hope to help 100,000 Canadian businesses build websites and reach customers online.

If you’re a Canadian small-business owner, you’ve got some good news coming your way. Starting today, you are eligible -- and encouraged! -- to take your first step toward enhancing your online presence. To help Canadian businesses get online, the team will provide the following resources:

Free and easy website hosting

Free web address

Free online marketing advice and tools

To read more about the program and about how you can take advantage of these tools, please visit our website.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill, Managing Director Google Canada

Next Up: Madison, Wisconsin

[Cross-posted from the Hotpot Community Blog]

We’ve been focused a lot over the past few months on raising awareness and spreading the word about how Google Places and Hotpot can help people discover great places and help businesses get more customers in the door. Today, we’re excited to announce a new addition to our quickly growing group of cities taking part in this campaign: Madison, Wisconsin.

With its large student population, growing tech community — including the Google office that opened in 2007 — and rich heritage surrounding small businesses, the capital of Wisconsin is an exciting addition. We’re really looking forward to working with the more than 15,000 local businesses in the area, helping them to get noticed on Google using our free suite of tools as part of Google Places.

In addition to having a dedicated team that will work with local businesses throughout Dane County, we’ve also begun mailing Google Places starter kits to thousands of local businesses in the area. These kits include instructions on how any business can claim their free Place page, as well as some samples of materials to help business owners encourage their customers to rate and review them on Google.

For those businesses who are already “Recommended on Google,” we’ll also be distributing our NFC-enabled window decals. These allow users with NFC-enabled devices, such as the Nexus S, to tap their phone against the decal and see all the information about that business.

As part of this launch, we’ve also partnered with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce to offer a series of workshops beginning in early April that are open to all chamber members and will focus on step-by-step instructions and counseling on how Dane County businesses can make sure they are effectively managing their presence online. If you’re interested in attending, please contact your Chamber of Commerce representative.

Posted by Jeff Aguero, Local Marketing Team

Monday, March 28, 2011

Video: Finding Your Market

Two part presentation by Megan Auman of Crafting an MBA on how to find and develop your niche.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Inspiration

Blue Gemstone Mosaic Pendant, originally uploaded by grayraven.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Handling Copyright Issues

copyright_001.jpgSnarky craft blog Regretsy recently targeted a seller violating copyright. This post discusses the response they got from Etsy and the frustration caused by it. The thing is that Etsy acted entirely how they have to in response to unrelated 3rd parties reporting copyright violation. In this post I'm going to discuss how to handle when you discover someone ripping off your work.

Why Etsy responded the way they did.

Picture this scenario: You are an Etsy seller with an original design. Someone else has ripped off your work. A person unfamiliar with either of you sees both and decides that YOU were the one that did the ripping off. They report you to Etsy. Now if Etsy considered this proof enough to take someone's items down you would be pretty upset wouldn't you? Of course you would. Copyright violation is a serious legal matter and if Etsy were to act on it without proof provided by the copyright holder they would be in a shaky legal position. So Etsy requires the copyright holder or their lawyer to notify them with proof that their copyright has been violated.

What should you do when someone has copied you?

Remember I am not a lawyer, this is not official legal advice just my personal opinions on what your options are. If you feel like you need a lawyer, by all means consult one, it's probably worth the money if the infringement is serious enough.

You have several options when you discover someone has copied your work. Your first step should be to contact the person copying you and ask them politely to remove the infringing items (a cease and desist letter). Make sure you give them examples of where you believe they have copied you. Many people don't understand copyright and don't realize they are breaking the law. Once contacted many people will remove the infringing items.

If after you have made a polite request and it's been ignored or rejected you're going to have to do more work to solve the problem.

In cases where a seller on an online venue is selling infringing items you should contact the site's legal department. Make sure you have documentation that shows how long you have been making or selling your items to back up your claim. An example would be records of when your first version of the item was listed or sold. Unfortunately if this is a very unethical person they may just start selling somewhere else, if this happens you could keep going after them on every website they try to sell on and make it too much trouble for them to continue selling the infringing items or get a lawyer involved to take it to the next level legally (usually suing them for infringement).

In cases where someone has used a digital copy of your photos, artwork, writing, or other creations without permission you should send a DMCA takedown notice to their hosting company or ISP (use Whois domain lookup). By law service providers must take down potentially infringing material reported to them by a DMCA takedown notice (there is a response process if the person believes they aren't infringing but that's a different subject).

If your items are being copied by a company with their own website or store things get harder. If they have ignored or rejected a cease and desist letter you really have no choice but to consult a lawyer about your options and possibly file suit.

If for any reason you feel like your business has been harmed or that the infringement has cost you money you can try to collect damages. This absolutely requires a lawyer familiar with copyright law.

When is work not covered by copyright?

Unfortunately not everything crafters do is covered by copyright. From the US Copyright Office website:
Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:
1. literary works
2. musical works, including any accompanying words
3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4. pantomimes and choreographic works
5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7. sound recordings
8. architectural works
These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works”; maps and architectural plans may be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”
The way this is explained in a legal guide I have on craft work is that functional items are not covered by copyright only their artistic elements if they can be viewed separately from the functionality. So say you designed a fabric print and then used it to make a dress. Clothing is a functional item and the function can't be separated from the design so the dress isn't covered by copyright. On the other hand the fabric print is considered a graphic work which can be viewed separately from the function of the clothing therefore it is given copyright protection. This is one of the reasons fashion knockoffs are so easy to come by and so hard for fashion designers to put a stop to unless the fabric or other artistic element has been copied (or it infringes on trademark but that's an entirely different legal issue). Another example would be soap molded to look like a cat, the soap is functional but the sculptural form of the cat is artistic. Photos of your crafts are separate works from the craft itself and are covered by copyright of their own regardless of whether your craft item is able to be copyrighted. The website listed below for the US Copyright Office has more information on what qualifies for copyright protection. If you are uncertain whether your work qualifies for copyright protection and the website for the US Copyright Office doesn't help you should absolutely consult a copyright lawyer.

Copyright Resources
US Copyright Office
Etsy Copyright Policy
Digital Millenium Copyright Act
Sample DMCA Takedown Notice
Whois Domain Lookup
US Patent and Trademark Office

Note: After I started writing this post I was informed of an Etsy seller who had copied my designs. I contacted them via convo about it and they promptly apologized and removed the infringing items.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Going Google across the 50 States: Arizona partners make their dream business a reality with help from Google Apps

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Editor's note
: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from David Marsh, co-Founder of The Standard Agency, a talent management and creative agency in Arizona. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

Our dream business started at the kitchen counter, literally. My partner and I had been involved in the music industry for a decade and knew the framework for managing talent was broken – people are at extremes either bringing in tons of money or making close to nothing. So, we took a business idea that we developed at the kitchen counter and founded The Standard Agency to manage musicians, models, actors, athletes and other talent who need representation. We offer a one-stop shop that includes everything from design and online promotion to booking gigs. In working and collaborating on so many different projects we also found there was a demand to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of how design and social media impact businesses. This caused us to expand to offer related marketing services to small businesses who need help establishing themselves online and offline.

Our business quickly went from an idea to a reality and to be able to immediately have professional email and other business tools through Google Apps was key. Knowing Gmail was part of Google Apps was a huge selling point for me as I consider it the best solution to keep email organized. Set up of Google Apps was quick and flawless and all the applications are easy to access from any device. I’ve worked with other companies that have had to jump through hoops to get email on their mobile phones. For me, Gmail automatically worked on my phone and it’s the primary way I access email. Plus, we don’t have constant downtime and servers to maintain as I’ve experienced elsewhere.

Google Calendar has been essential for scheduling and tracking timelines for various marketing projects. I don’t think my partner would have been able to use any other calendar out there. He’s far more efficient and productive because his calendar is easy to use and it syncs across his phone, laptop, and tablet.

When it comes to our extensive network of contractors and employees, most of whom live out-of-state, Google Docs is the cornerstone of how we work. We use Google forms extensively for everything from fan surveys to elicit feedback after events, to online resumes to collect information from new job applicants. We also create Google docs for almost everything including legal contracts which are common in our business. Contracts often go through multiple rounds of revisions and with a Google doc, the right people can access and collaborate on the most up to date version, no matter where they are.

If it wasn’t for the ease of use and low cost of Google Apps, I don’t think my partner and I would have taken off running as fast as we did. It created a strong sense of confidence and familiarity that we needed to start up our business. Two years later, we all use Google Apps daily and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by David Marsh, co-Founder, The Standard Agency

Monday, March 7, 2011

Going Google across the 50 States: Google Apps proves the perfect choice for Mississippi creative agency

Editor's note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Rob Rubinoff, Interactive Director at Mad Genius, a branding and creative agency headquartered in Ridgeland, Mississippi. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

Mad Genius is a creative fusion of branding, advertising, social media, HD video production, animation, media strategy, web design, web development, and more – a true soup-to-nuts creative agency. Each of these elements come together to create momentum-building ideas that drive results and help us stand apart from other agencies. Our clients range from national insurance companies to regional restaurant chains to local universities, and we have a talented group of people that help these organizations take their brands to the next level.

We started in 2005 as the offshoot of a film production company, and have been growing rapidly ever since. Two years ago, we landed one of the largest advertising accounts in Mississippi, which was a major milestone for us. However, it also meant that we had to move quickly to hire more people to staff the project. At the same time, we moved to a bigger office and started to re-evaluate the technology that powered our company. That’s why, as Interactive Director, I became a big advocate of Google Apps: the benefits of the cloud were what we needed.

We were originally using spotty POP3 email through our domain registrar, which was a legacy solution from when we were part of a larger company. Everyone had different versions of email clients, calendar, and other office software, and this created daily problems. There were times when we literally had to walk down the hall to schedule a meeting because we couldn’t share calendars with everyone in the company.

We talked to local IT providers who offered email solutions that would have cost us thousands of dollars. We also priced out our own Microsoft® Exchange server, which was not only costly, but also seemed like it would necessitate dedicated IT support. Everyone here already wears a lot of hats, so simplifying IT was essential, as was finding a powerful calendaring solution. What we needed was Google Apps.

Initially, there was concern that we might lose emails and disrupt operations during the switch to Google Apps, but we transitioned over the course of a week with no hiccups and continual access to email. Within another week everyone was used to the new system, and the office was thrilled. One of the immediate and tangible benefits came when our executives were able to access email from their desktops, laptops and mobile phones, with everything synced across each device.

Within the Google Apps suite, shared calendars have been huge for us; email and documents are icing on the cake! As we grow our accounts and expand our team (last year we opened a second office in Tampa, Florida), we need to be able to let people know what’s going on throughout the company, and Google Apps makes that not only possible, but also easy. We can view other people’s calendars, easily schedule meetings, and have created a half dozen shared calendars to track things like conference room reservations and vacation days. Plus, project management is vital in our business, and thus the ability to import iCalendar data into our project management system is key.

With Google Docs, we no longer send PDFs back and forth, which is a huge time saver, and we can brainstorm with team members in either office using a Google doc, since it’s basically like a giant shared notepad. We even use Google Docs to collaborate with clients and can elicit feedback and data in a format that is easily shared or uploaded into our system, avoiding data entry errors.

When it comes to groundbreaking agencies like ours, folks usually think New York, Los Angeles, Chicago; they don’t often think Mississippi. But the work we do is changing minds – and Google Apps is helping us get it done. We take pride in being innovative. We’re a young company, with passion for the work we do and a fresh approach to the way we tackle business. With our home base in Mississippi, our new office in Florida, and clients throughout the region, we need virtual speed. Google Apps has proven to be the perfect partner in keeping us connected and moving forward.

Posted by Rob Rubinoff, Interactive Director, Mad Genius

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Inspiration

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Click: the AdWords newsletter for your small business

Welcome to Click, a Google newsletter for small businesses. In each issue, we'll offer insights and strategies on how to grow your business and get the most value out of your marketing efforts. Hear about new products, promotions and services - plus interesting things going on at Google. We want to be sure this newsletter is useful and relevant to you, so please let us know what you think.

Happy reading!
The Google AdWords team

PS: Read about a few AdWords customers whose wishes came true this year.
In this Issue
MARCH 2011, VOL 1

Customers are up for grabs

Improve your ad's headline --
and results

A flood of new business

Life-saving information services

Your AdWords Account
Customers are up for grabs

Small businesses have competitive advantages over the big guys -- namely agility and the ability to make quick decisions. Use these qualities to go beyond traditional marketing and reach customers in new, creative ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started: improve your online presence, use social networking and collect data online.

Location, location, location!
Since one out of five Google searches involves location, you want your business to appear in local searches. Try free online listing services, such as Google Places, or free hosting services to help you to establish a website. (Learn more about improving your virtual storefront in our Small Business Success section below).

Build a fan base
Satisfied customers can be your best promoters, and free services like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter can help you communicate with loyal patrons -- and help them spread the word about your business. Learn more about how these services can offer fresh and compelling information, such as photos, videos or fun facts about your business and employees.

Know your customers
Reaching customers online allows you to collect valuable data about their habits and preferences. Easy-to-use web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, can tell you a lot - such as which search terms customers use, what they look at on your site, and where they spend the most (or least) time. Use this knowledge to make smart decisions about site content and keyword choices for your online marketing campaigns.
Improve your ad's headline - and results
A good headline will grab attention for your ad -- and your business. You don't have to be a copywriter -- just use descriptive words that communicate what makes your business unique. Think about what your customers want -- not just what your business does. For example, "Joe's Gourmet Pizza" is descriptive, but "Seattle's Best Brick Oven Pizza" will likely get the attention of hungry, local customers.

  1. Sign into your AdWords account
  2. Select the "Ads" tab
  3. Click on the text of your ad (or the pencil icon next to the ad) to edit the headline
  4. Click "Save," and preview your new headline
A flood of new business  
Jessica Soler, Owner of Salon Red in Decatur, Georgia, uses a website and local online listings to help her customers find salon locations and book appointments. She says, "Here's a great example of how the web helps Salon Red: we were nominated by one of the local papers to be a 'Best Of' salon in Atlanta, and tons of people went online to vote for all of our locations. We just were flooded with business, and it all came from online." Hear more about this success in her own words.
Life-saving information services
In disaster and humanitarian crises, access to information can be of vital importance. In both the recent earthquakes in New Zealand and Haiti, Google's Crisis Response offered survivors and relief workers access to critical information on life-supporting services, including the locations of shelters, water tanks, power outages and open grocery stores. In addition, Google Person Finder is helping connect people with information about missing friends or relatives. Find out more, and learn how you can help.
AdWords Online Classroom
AdWords Seminars
Inside AdWords Blog
AdWords Help Center
Google Buzz

Posted by Jenn Karakkal, AdWords Small Business Team

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What’s new in Docs: Mobile editing in 45 languages, printing in spreadsheets

[Cross-posted from the Google Docs Blog]

Last year, we launched mobile editing in English and more page sizes in Google documents. We’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded on both of these features this week by adding 44 more mobile editing languages and more print sizes to Google spreadsheets.

Mobile editing now in 45 languages
You can now edit your documents on the go in 45 languages on Android with Froyo (version 2.2) and on iOS devices (version 3.0+) including the iPad. Learn more at

More print sizes
Following in the footsteps of last week’s hide gridlines update, there are now eight more print sizes in Google spreadsheets, including tabloid, statement, executive, folio and A3, A5, B4 and B5.

As always, feedback in the comments and on the forums is appreciated.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Now available with Google Apps: User Managed Storage

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Editor’s note: Last year we launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.

Welcome to User Managed Storage
As more and more people discover the power and flexibility of creating and collaborating using nothing but the web, an increasing volume of user content is stored in the cloud. As part of our effort to support our users’ move into the cloud, we’re pleased to announce that over the next couple of days we will be making User Managed Storage available to Google Apps customers.

User Managed Storage is a service that has allowed users to purchase more storage space when they fill the allotted quota on their personal Google Accounts. Over the next couple of days, we will be rolling this service out for users of Google Apps accounts as well, allowing the purchase of extra storage for Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, and photos from Blogger. Any of these products that is over its storage quota can use the extra storage on a first-come, first-served basis. Users that upload lots of files to Google Docs, sync their Office documents to the cloud using Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, or store and share pictures using Picasa or Blogger can now expand the storage space available for these files.

Pricing for this service is the same as for personal Google Accounts:

20 GB$5 USD per year
80 GB$20 USD per year
200 GB$50 USD per year
400 GB$100 USD per year
1 TB$256 USD per year
2 TB$512 USD per year
4 TB$1,024 USD per year
8 TB$2,048 USD per year
16 TB$4,096 USD per year

The User Managed Storage service is enabled or disabled by the domain administrator, and the end user purchases additional storage using his or her Google Checkout account. Additional storage added using User Managed Storage cannot be pooled or transferred to another Google Apps user account and cannot be used for Gmail.

Data stored using User Managed Storage is subject to the same ownership policy as other data in the Google Apps account.

Learn more and get started
User Managed Storage can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at[] (replace [] with your actual domain name). Note that the Google Checkout service must also be enabled to allow end users to purchase additional storage. If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at

For more information please take a look at our Help Center.

We continue to work to enable Google Apps users to be more productive using nothing but the web. Sign up to be notified when additional storage features become available.

Note: User Managed Storage may not be available in all areas. A Google Checkout account is required to purchase User Managed Storage and Google Checkout must be enabled by the domain administrator.