Amazon Launches On-Demand Pay-Per Hour Virtual Servers

Steve Yelvington had a post this morning about new web services available from Amazon, the online book/commerce folks.  The implications are startling.  Here’s the basics of how it works, as I understand it (and I admit, my understanding limited).

They are allowing users to create virtual servers, which will be paid for based upon the actual computing time used.  The servers are virtual and can be configured online, and require use of Amazon Simple Storage Service which allows for expandable online file storage.

Here’s my prediction: if this can be done for servers, it can be done for personal machines.  Given that airlines are becoming more restrictive of laptop use, or for that matter even letting them on the planes, it’s only a matter of time before someone starts offering virtual online desktops for use by business travellers.  You’ll simple get on a computer, any computer, and dial up your web desktop to get to your machine.

We’re headed back to days of the dumb client, only this time the dumb client will be a web browser.

5 Simple Marketing Tips

We’ve discussed a couple fairly heavy weight topics in the past few days, so it’s time to shift gears and offer a bit of advice that can help even the newest of businesses.

  •  “How did you hear about us.” Those are the 6 most underused words in marketing, but often the most important.  Many small businesses are afraid to ask, fearing the customer will find it an imposition.  I look at it from a different perspective.  On some level you paid to acquire this customer, so you really need to find out how they found you. Continue reading “5 Simple Marketing Tips”

Why Vario Blogs

We’ve got opinions, and we find a lot of important information during the course of a day, week and month that we really want to share with the Vario community (note that I don’t refer to customers, this is a broader audience than that).  It gives us the opportunity to simply cite bits worth reading, and also offer our own take, including concrete examples from our experience (see Saturday’s post on metrics). 

But a blog is more than that, it allows for comments, which make it very much a two way communication system.  Where as articles are monologue, blogs are dialogue, and that is what enamours us of this communication medium.  There are issues in marketing, graphic design, web design, etc. that face us all, and this medium allows us to share.  My view and experience may be utterly different than yours, but understanding both views makes us each stronger.

Feel free to ask questions and suggest ideas.  We’re open, accessible and we really enjoy talking about this stuff. 

Analytics, Metrics and Goat Entrails

In the past week, I’ve spent a lot of time ripping apart Site Traffic Statistics, as well as planning metrics packages for a new site.  Strangely enough, both David Churbuck (formerly of and V.P. of Internet Marketing at Lenovo) and Chris Murray (former Director of Technology at CXO Media) both blogged about metrics – these are two guys I have immense respect for and you should read what they have to say.  Here’s my take on why analytics are important to all site owners, and why conversely you should not allow yourself to get bogged down in the details.

First a couple case histories from the Vario Files [invoke eerie music mode]

Continue reading “Analytics, Metrics and Goat Entrails”

New Malware/Adware?

Twice yesterday, once on my own computer and once on a friends machine, I saw an incideous bit of malware/spyware.  It was masquerading as a “windows system checker” and popped up a window on the computer.  The window itself looked just like like a regular window, but by click on the red x to exit the window, it began to install the software.  My various levels of spyware protection saved me, but Mike B. wasn’t so lucky.  We’ll find out this evening if Adaware can actually remove it.  I did have a look at the Add/Remove Software and the malware was listed, but it requested a password to enable removal – the gall of it!

A couple of points on spyware:

  1. If the gray “run this program” window and you’re on a site you don’t know or don’t trust, don’t allow the software to run.  Hit the red X and get out of there. 
  2. Be very careful to be sure you are on the site you think you are on.  In both cases above, the malware came from sites that were simple misspellings of popular websites – and you might not even notice you weren’t on the right site.
  3. Run Lavasoft Adaware and Spybot Search and Destroy – both freely available over the web.  Update them weekly and run them at least weekly.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would advertise via Adware.  And malware should honestly be a criminal offense.

vBulletin 3.6.1 Released

Bug fixes to the latest release.  They moved fairly quickly from the 3.5 release to the 3.6 level.  I’ve still got several sites down at the 3.0.x level.  (For those unfamiliar, vBulletin is my favorite forum/discussion software.  I’ve integrated it into many sites…like )

 None of my sites are at 3.6 – although I have an install coming up that will no doubt use the latest greatest (certainly if I have any say).  Is anyone running vBull at that level now?

 More on the release here.

Hagel – Mastering New Marketing

I picked this up from yesterday.  John Hagel on New Marketing – Vario-teers may notice some eery similarities…I agree with his approach. 

To start with marketing strategy and again at the risk of over-simplification, conventional marketing is built upon the three “I’s”:

  • Intercept – target and expose customers to your message wherever you can find them.
  • Inhibit – make it as difficult as possible for the customer to compare your product or service with any other options.
  • Isolate – enter into a direct relationship with the customer and, wherever possible, remove all third parties from the relationship.

While new marketing:

I describe this marketing approach “collaboration marketing” and define it in terms of three “A’s”:

  • Attract – create incentives for people to seek you out.
  • Assist – the most powerful way to attract people is to be as helpful and engaging with them as possible – this requires a deep understanding of the various contexts in which people might use your products and a willingness to “co-create” products with customers.
  • Affiliate – mobilize third parties, including other customers, to become even more helpful to the people you interact with.

Read the whole article here.

Welcome to the Vario Blog

We’ll be sharing information of general and specific interest here, as well as news, both industry as well as the occassional personal bit.  Feel free to comment on anything, we care about your opinions and we wouldn’t post if if we didn’t want to talk about it.  Standard rules apply, be nice, be kind, or be gone.

 For first timers, this is the blog from Vario Creative.  We are marketing, we are design, we are the web.  We’ve got a particular interest in small business, online communities, and online publications.  Our blog isn’t about selling, it’s about information, so feel free to comment or contact us with questions.