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Feed a Fever, Without Starving Your RSS Reader

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If you’ve ever come back from a vacation or conference and been reluctant to open up your RSS reader due to the sheer number of unread items that certainly awaited, you are already familiar with “second inbox guilt”. It’s caused by having a second unread count, much like your email inbox, that you have to constantly churn and plow through every day.

The cure for this disease, however, may well be a fever.

Fever is a different kind of RSS reader, rather than burdening you with unread entries and making you rummage through hundreds or thousands of posts to find what you want to read, Fever tries to bring the important articles to the top, making them easy to find and easy to follow. Though it lets you maintain a list of “must follow” feeds, it also works to find and summarize the most important news before you even get there.

Though it is a new and potentially compelling idea for managing RSS feeds, it does have some pretty severe limitations, including a hefty price tag, that will likely keep it from being widely adopted or used. Still, it is worth taking a moment to see if it is right for you.

The Big Idea

What Fever does is in many ways similar to how Google tracks PageRank on the Web. It looks at your RSS feeds and tracks what sites/stories the entries are linking to. The more articles that link to a particular story, the “hotter” it becomes. If enough entries link to one page, it becomes a “hot” and gets pushed to the top of your feed reader’s front page. Best of all, every story that links to that item is displayed directly underneath, making it very easy to read everything that’s been said about it in your feed.

Fever does this by classifying your feeds into two types. The first is “Kindling”, which are your “must read” feed items. These are the feeds where you are interested in nearly every post and want to read them as if they were in a regular RSS reader. The second kind is “Sparks” which are active feeds that are more hit and miss, where much of the content isn’t of interest. Sparks feeds are not intended to be read, but rather, are simply used to increase the temperature on popular stories.

In Fever, temperature is always based on the human body, meaning 98.6 degrees F and 37 degrees C, so that when a story gets “hot” it runs a fever, pushing it well over than normal temp.

The result is that, if you subscribe to a lot of feeds or are gone for a long period of time, you don’t need to read through hundreds or thousands of articles to find what was important. Simply checking your “Hot” list, for which you can set the date range, will clue you in to the most important stories within a few minutes.

Other Benefits

In addition to its unique way of displaying RSS feeds, Fever also has a few other benefits to consider.

  1. Clean Layout: Fever’s layout is clean, intuitive and AJAX powered. It automatically refreshes feeds at regular intervals and does a good job displaying a lot of information in a very uncluttered way.
  2. iPhone/Mobile Version: Fever also has a very effective mobile version designed for the iPhone or similar phones. Works great for keeping up with news while on the go since it is tailored to doing quick checks of important stories.
  3. Bookmarklet: Since Fever has multiple places to put a feed, it has a special bookmarklet that lets you add feeds to either your Kindling or your Sparks depending on where you need it.
  4. Keyboard Shortcuts: As with Google Reader, Fever uses keyboard shortcuts to make navigation easier and faster.

However, despite all of this, Fever is not right for everyone. Though it comes with a large number of compelling features, it has a series of drawbacks and concerns that will probably prevent it from becoming a mainstream success.

Drawbacks and Limitations

The same as Fever is different in way that it reads feeds, it is also different in the way it is implemented. Rather than being a site that you go to and register for an account or an application that you install on your desktop, Fever is a server-installed application, similar to WordPress or Joomla. This means that, in order to use Fever, you have to have your own server with PHP and MYSQL available and know how to set up applications on it.

Also, similar to those applications, the set up of Fever is not as simple as desktop applications. It involves uploading a folder, setting permissions, creating a database and a new database user. Though not difficult to a veteran Web admin, it can be intimidating to a more casual user that only does such things rarely, if ever.

Another factor to consider is whether your server can easily handle the load of Fever. Though it seems to be pretty light and not use up a lot of memory on my server, it is easy to see how, especially with a ton of feeds, it could become a drag, slowing down your public site.

However, the worst barrier for many will be the price tag: $30. Though it’s not an extremely high amount to pay for an application, in an era where nearly every other RSS reader is free justifying the expense may be difficult to justify.

Bottom Line

In the end, Fever is a great RSS reader that is going to be severely limited by a heavy price tag and a limited number of users capable of installing it. If there were a place to create a Fever account and run it on their server, Fever would undoubtedly start winning over a larger audience. But currently it is limited to a niche audience of those with Web servers that are willing to spend the time and money to set it up on their server.

For better or worse, I am in that market and have been using Fever this past week and loving it. However, I can easily see that it is not for everyone nor is it for most.

Ironically though, my greatest complaint about fever has been the time it has taken me to set up and run. I’ve had to reorganize my feeds to maximize the temperature on relevant stories and keep the number of “must read” feeds to a minimum. I’ve also had to subscribe to many additional feeds in the “Spark” folder to help find important stories (strangely I wasn’t subscribed to enough feeds at first).

Still, I see those actions as an investment to help me spend less time reading feeds and still be more aware of the important stories in my field.

If you meet the qualifications for running Fever, which you probably do if you run your own WordPress install, it may well be worth giving it a shot. Otherwise, just wait and see if maybe, someday, they’ll consider setting up a hosted version of it you can register for.

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How Famoid Can Help Make You Famous on Social Media

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The great appeal of social media is that you have the opportunity to reach new audiences in fun, innovative and potentially lucrative ways. However, in the age of complex algorithms and an overwhelming deluge of content, it can be increasingly challenging to break through the noise and get noticed. Sometimes, you need a jump start. Or you need a boost to elevate your online profile to the next level.

Declaring that “being popular in social media is not that difficult anymore,” Famoid offers a range of social media services across four of the most popular online platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It’s time to get noticed.

The Promise of Instant Popularity

If you’ve been struggling to elevate your social media game and get noticed by the right fans and followers, Famoid may be of interest to you.

The idea here is decidedly simple. In exchange for a set fee, you will receive a set number of likes, views, fans or followers for your social media profile or posts. You never have to provide Famoid with your password; instead, you simply provide your username/handle or the URL to the post where you’d like to get the boost. They take care of the rest.

There are at least a few key characteristics that help to separate Famoid from other similar types of services. You get instant delivery on every order, so the whole process will generally be completed in five minutes or less. The Famoid support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays) in the event that you need anything.

Famoid does not use any fake users or bots, so you get “real and active users” for all the services offered. They guarantee that these users are “completely organic” and they’ll replace any “drops” you may experience in the first 30 days.

Buy Instagram Followers

In the case of Instagram, Famoid offers four related services: buying Instagram followers, buying Instagram likes, buying Instagram video views, and buying automatic Instagram likes.

When choosing to buy Instagram followers, you are guaranteed that you are getting “high quality” followers who are real and active. Famoid says that while Instagram may frown upon the practice in their guidelines, it is completely safe to buy Instagram followers.

Pricing is set based on the number of followers you wish to purchase. The smallest available order is $2.95 for 100 followers, ramping all the way up to $149.95 for 25,000 followers. To put that into a bit of context, the smallest order has you paying 2.95 cents per follower, whereas the largest package works out to 0.6 cents per follower.

Choosing to buy likes or video views (both from $2.95 for 100) works in much the same way with instant delivery. Buying automatic likes (starting from $44.95 for 50) is different in that they ensure “natural delivery of likes” as not to appear fake.

Buy Facebook Fans

Getting your “fans” number up on Facebook can be a significant challenge at the best of times, which is why buying these fan page likes with Famoid is so much easier.

At the lowest end is 500 page likes for $8.95, going up to $14.95 for 1,000 page likes, $28.95 for 2,500 page likes and $44.95 for 5,000 page likes. Just as with the Instagram followers, you are offered “high quality” page likes here — the likes are “made up entirely of real and active people” — and the service is deemed “100% safe.” Delivery is instant.

If you are more interested in ramping up engagement on a particular Facebook post, Famoid also offers that service. The price for Facebook post likes is exactly the same as getting page likes, starting from $8.95 for 500 likes and going up to $44.95 for 5,000 likes.

Buy Twitter Retweets

With Twitter, Famoid offers three services: followers, retweets and likes.

The pricing packages for all three Twitter services is actually identical to that of Facebook too. Whether you are looking for more Twitter followers, Twitter retweets or Twitter post likes, the prices are the same. It’s also $8.95 for 500, going up to $44.95 for 5,000.

You can’t “mix and match” each type. In other words, you can’t pay $44.95 for 2,000 followers, 2,000 retweets, and 1,000 likes. You need to purchase followers, retweets and likes separately.

Buy YouTube Subscribers

A major hurdle that YouTube placed in front of video creators earlier this year were the changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). That’s the program that enables monetization on eligible channels, plus other benefits. To qualify, you need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months.

Whether you are primarily interested in getting into the YouTube Partner Program or you want to elevate your YouTube visibility and popularity, Famoid can help. With the particular requirements of the YPP, you can buy 1,000 YouTube subscribers for $99.95. Again, these are “high quality” subscribers who are “all real [and] active” and this is “100% safe.”

Then, you’ll need those 4,000 watch hours. That works out to 240,000 minutes of watch time. When buying YouTube views through Famoid, you don’t dictate the number of minutes watched but rather the total number of views. In this way, how much you’ll need can vary considerably.

If we assume an average watch time of 5 minutes per video, then you’ll need about 48,000 views. The 50,000 YouTube views package is $249.95. If we assume a 10 minute average, then the 30,000 view package at $169.95 should be adequate. Conversely, if we assume only 1 minute per view, then you’ll need to invest $699.95 for the 300,000 view package.

You’ve Got to Pay to Play

It doesn’t matter if you put out incredible content on social media if no one ever sees any of it. Services like those offered by Famoid help you break through the noise so more people are exposed to your signal.

Understandably, many users may have some concerns about getting banned from social platforms for buying likes and followers, but the Famoid FAQ assures us that buying followers or likes is legal, you can absolutely trust them, and there is “no way” your social media account will be banned, even when it comes to corporate accounts. In the age of algorithms, you increasingly have to pay to play. With Famoid, you can pay less to play more.

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Acquire Empowers Customer Conversations With Technology

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The way that the world of business works today is that you need to be able to have those targeted conversations with the right customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. Online users in particular demand a certain level of instant connection. If they don’t get the answers they want right away, they are apt to move on to the next viable alternative.

Facilitating your ability to have personalized and targeted conversations with customers is Acquire, a complete multi-channel messenger packed with invaluable features.

Sparking a Conversation

Utilized by such notable businesses as Samsung, Audi and Penske, as well as the UK government, Acquire is positioned as a customer communication platform.

The objective here is to provide you with a messaging platform where you customers can connect with your sales and support teams in a quick, efficient, and user-friendly manner. But really what is key here is that the communication through Acquire extends beyond what your sales and support teams are able to deliver.

And a big part of this has to do with the remarkable artificial intelligence (AI) that Acquire employs for its chatbots. This can automate much of the process to deliver faster, more personalized support in a way that is utterly seamless, working right alongside your human team to provide the best customer experience possible.

Live Chat and Chatbots

You may have noticed that an increasing number of websites on the Internet provide some sort of “live chat” functionality, all without having to go to an actual “live chat” page or to initiate a session directly. This is powered through a little “chat” icon that is omnipresent across all pages.

With Acquire live chat, your agents are able to talk to customers both on your website and through your mobile app. This can include regular text-based chat sessions with support for links, thumbnails and images, but also live video chat for the fastest and most efficient customer support. This is terrific for sales too, because it means you’re able to reach the right customers at the perfect time.

But what if you don’t have human agents available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or what if there are certain routine questions and queries that are not the best use of human resources? That’s where the modern, AI-based chatbot from Acquire can step in. All you have to do is import your existing FAQs, chat history and knowledge base. Your bot can then use this to build its foundation for interacting with customers.

The chatbot is constantly learning based on its interactions with customers, so it only gets smarter and better over time. Common customer questions can be answered quickly and efficiently. This includes sales inquiries for improved conversions and support questions for intelligent suggestions. You can review the questions your bot has been answering and refine as needed for future inquiries.

When more complex issues arise, a human agent can be assigned to pick up where the chatbot left off. Indeed, the chatbot recognizes how to best route a customer query to the best possible human representative. And even where a human team member wasn’t called in to intervene, it’s easy enough to review the bot conversations and pass along the key customer details to a human team member for follow-up. Remember that the goal is an exceptional customer experience.

The Advantage of Co-browsing

Another major component to the Acquire platform is a feature they call co-browsing. This allows your agents to interact with a customer’s web screen in real time.

This is hugely advantageous over conventional sales and support chats, where needed, because it means that a customer doesn’t have to capture a screenshot, find somewhere to save it, and then figure out how to get that screenshot to an agent. To provide the best user experience, co-browsing allows customers to show agents where they’re having difficulty, while also allowing agents to show customers how to best resolve their issue.

The cobrowse feature isn’t just simple screen sharing either. For example, it’s possible for agents to interact with what is shown on the customer’s screen using drawing and highlighting tools. They can point out that they should fill out “this” field or that they need to click “that” button or that “this” section is used for whatever purpose.

Agents can also navigate customers through your website on their behalf to help them get to where they need to go. What’s more, co-browsing with Acquire works not only on your own company website, but also on other sites. All you have to do is put the URL in a co-browse box on the dashboard and your agents and customers can share in the experience in real-time.

No third-party downloads are necessary, and you can mask out private data and fields (like credit card information) so your agents can’t see or interact with them. Security is certainly a priority. Co-browsing works in parallel with live chat or video chat, as well as with phone representatives working at call centers too.

What Else Can It Do?

The goal with Acquire as a platform is to provide the tools you need to “encourage customer engagement and success across the board.”

The advanced AI sales and support chatbot can automate much of your customer interactions, freeing up time and resources for your human team. This can boost productivity, because the chatbot can handle more routine inquiries on their behalf. Co-browsing adds great value to the customer experience too, as does the integrated video and voice chat.

Beyond that, you’ll find the ability to create campaigns to segment customers based on behavior, manage customer profiles so you can best target them with the relevant promotions and campaigns, and dive into the deep analytics with plentiful data to boost sales, identify successes, and improve support.

How Much Does It Cost?

Acquire is offered in three main pricing tiers to suit a range of businesses.

The basic tier is free and includes one agent. The scope here is modest, allowing for 250 customer profiles, one campaign, and the basic chat messenger. The $25 (per agent) premium tier adds co-browsing and screensharing, video and voice chat, complete integrations, and unlimited campaigns and customer profiles. The $200 team plan is the most popular with 5 agents ($40/month more for additional agents), the AI chatbot, mobile SDK, video and voice call recording, and team analytics.

Take Acquire out for a free test drive for 14 days. Set-up is easy and no credit card is required.

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Managed WordPress Hosting From 1&1 Makes Websites Easy

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We’ve come a very long way since the early days of the Internet. Way back then, you had to dig right into the raw code if you wanted to create your own website. The technical aspect was overwhelmingly complex and intimidating for the vast majority of people. Thankfully, building a website is much easier than ever before and it’s a lot more affordable to boot. The key is finding the right platform and the right providers to fuel your online journey and 1&1 Internet wants to be on your team.

A Full-Featured Web Hosting Provider

It may surprise many of you to learn that 1&1 was actually founded way back in 1988, back when the public Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the company has proudly served up some 15 million customer contracts around the world, employing more than 7,000 people around the globe. A fly-by-night operation they most certainly are not.

What you can expect from 1&1 is a full suite of product and service offerings so you and your website can be successful online. This starts with domain registration with your standard .com and .org TLDs, as well as more unique TLDs like .online and .club if that is what you are after. When you “claim your perfect domain” with 1&1, you also get a free email address and unlimited subdomains.

As you make your way around the 1&1 website, you’ll find an impressive array of services, including multiple web hosting options, cloud server services, business email solutions, online accounting software, several options for building and running an eCommerce website, local and online marketing tools, and web security. This is just about everything you’d need.

The 1&1 Website Builder

For people who aren’t at all interested in getting themselves elbow-deep into the complexities of a custom web design, the 1&1 MyWebsite website builder is ideal. The goal here is to provide an all-inclusive package for not only building and designing a great looking website, but also supporting whatever it is that you wish to accomplish with the website. This includes marketing tools like a newsletter to keep your customers informed of what’s going with your business.

The process starts with choosing one of the numerous customizable design templates for your website. These templates cover a broad range of industries and usage cases, including real estate, arts and leisure, professional services, restaurants and tourism, health and beauty, and even just personal pages. There are literally thousands of these templates to choose from, each of which can be customized to align with your brand.

What’s great is that you are also offered access to a high-quality image archive with over 20 million images to give your website the visual appeal you desire. As you work through your website project, you will be offered image and text suggestions to make the process even easier. It really is approachable by just about anyone, even if you’re not technically inclined. There’s even an integrated Google translator to serve international audiences as well as a built-in online photo editor to edit those images on the fly.

WordPress Web Hosting

You can certainly choose to pick up a standard web hosting plan from 1&1 and install WordPress yourself. All you’d have to do is log into your 1&1 control panel and then search for WordPress through the provided app center to start your website project. However, for people who are less technically inclined or who don’t want to deal with the finer details of administration, the Managed WordPress packages from 1&1 could be much more appropriate.

The monthly price for the Managed WordPress plans with 1&1 cover the same range as the regular web hosting plans, but these are targeted specifically at users who plan on using WordPress and would like to take advantage of the easier installation, plus automatic security updates, pre-installed plugins, WP Expert support, and more. This will help you hit the ground running.

You see, while you could take the standard hosting plan and go through to complete the regular security updates on your own, this managed hosting plan puts your mind at ease, because you’ll know you’ll always have the newest updates installed and running properly. And since the most popular plug-ins come pre-installed, you don’t have to spend time doing that either.

The monthly plans are based mostly on the number of WordPress projects you wish to have. The basic plan is just $0.99/month for the first year ($7.99/month after that) and it supports one project with 50 GB of SSD storage and unlimited visitors, plus a free domain for 12 months. Most users will likely step up to the second tier with the plus plan for $4.99/month for the first year ($9.99/month after that) for five WordPress projects and 250 GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited visitors and the one-year free domain.

The other big difference when you upgrade from a basic plan to the plus plan, even if you don’t have much interest in running more than one WordPress site, is that you gain access to the 1&1 CDN (content delivery network). This ensures the best possible experience and the fastest loading times for your site visitors. You also get up to 2 GB of RAM guaranteed and the SSD web space means faster performance too. They say you get up to 50% more speed compared to traditional hard drives!

Your Home on the Web

Should you ever get to the point where you’d rather administer your WordPress site yourself entirely, you can always move away from a managed WordPress experience to one that is self-guided. The reverse isn’t true, so most WordPress users should at least start with the managed packages first. And realistically, if you plan on powering your sites with WordPress, there’s no reason not to get the managed plans. Just the automatic updates alone make it an excellent choice.

Creating, designing, launching and running a successful website doesn’t need to be hard. When you opt for a hosting plan with 1&1, you gain access to a wealth of terrific features at an affordable price. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and have proudly served millions of satisfied customers around the globe.

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