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Announcing Driftpoint Media

September 28th, 2012 No comments

This year I made the commitment to incorporate and take the next step into becoming a business owner.  While I have been doing consulting and helping small businesses for years, it marked a step into formalizing statement that I was in fact  approachable for those who needed it.

This defined the formation of DriftPoint Media Inc.  A name for which I could operate under, and which opened the doors into resources that were not accessible while I operated as an independent contractor.  While I have been managing a handful of projects under this name, it is long overdue that I actually told the world about it.

Driftpoint media represents the reason I entered this industry, which was to empower others to be able to use technology to make their lives easier.  That starts with acting as a navigator and guide to those who are looking to bring their business online.

The easy part is, I am not alone.  I have been gathering partners and resources and connections over the years which make any project approachable.

This past weekend I put a webpage together to help put some words to the name.  I hope to use that resource to provide guidance and help and templates for anybody who doesn’t want to sit down officially.

http://www.driftpointmedia.com

For the Facebook world, I do have a Facebook Page.  It will be a fun place to help share the magic behind some of the projects as things move forward.

http://www.facebook.com/DriftPointMedia

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

The Skittles Experiment

June 15th, 2012 No comments

Some days people just have to realize that I use this wonderful realm of social media to experiment. Last week I ran an entertaining experiment under the premise that sex sells.  Call it an experiment or call this post an excuse to cover my tracks, the experiment had results either way.

It started when my wife scrolled down her Facebook stream in an attempt to show me something phenomenally boring. In doing so, she happened to scroll past this rather risky photo of a female lying down, mostly naked, with the exception of some skittles covering up the va-jay-jay.

Read more…

GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac and Remote Pricing and Imminent Release

May 31st, 2012 No comments

I am not much one for rumors, so here is what I know. I have been stalking the upcoming release of the Wi-Fi BacPac™ + Wi-Fi Remote Combo Kit from GoPro ever since I knew it was coming out. I was hoping to have it for One Lap of America, but alas it was pushed back to a nebulous “summer” release date.

Read more…

3G and Broadband Isolation

November 26th, 2010 1 comment

Every once in a while you will catch one of those nature shows where the story was only possible because some scientist isolated themselves from society. They remove all connections with the outside world to become more in emersed in there new environment.

I would like to say that for the past year I have been running a scientific experiment similar to those nature scientists. It would help explain why my blog posts have fallen silent, my status updates span the course of days and my ability to respond to any online message takes over 24 hours.

The truth is my job has taken me past the boundaries of AT&T’s 3G network, causing me to disconnect from my online resources.  Every morning, about half a mile from where I commute to in the center of Newark NY, my iPhone drops off the 3G network, becomes an otherwise useless brick and relies on the old EDGE network to do anything.   The result is a device which I don’t bother using.

I no longer have a stream of pertinent and useful information to keep be up to speed as to what is going on and I no longer have the patience to post my own updates to the rest of the world.

For the first few months, I was in denial, trying to make things work anyway.  Eventually I gave up and realized I had entered a different world.

A mere half a mile from a faster cellular network I had found an entire culture un-aware that there was a thriving and collective consciousness connecting people together.  After accepting my fait and turning to observation, I found that the lack of reliable cellular was only the beginning.  The availability of broadband to the homes and businesses in the region was sparse, causing a leap backwards in the timeline of technology.  It was as if I was witnessing a culture who were stuck in the late 90’s believing that email was something you check once a week.

With so many people unable to connect to broadband, the affect was viral with others remaining perfectly comfortable with dial-up.  I was shocked to find that over half of the IT department didn’t have broadband in their own home explaining the lack of understanding of our own networks.

Walking Amongst the Disconnected

Being disconnected is a lot harder than I could imagine and I have had to adjust my patterns to accomodate. For one, it has meant that my own websites have fallen off the list of things I can get done throughout the day. Normally able to update information during my free moments, directly from my iPhone, becoming isolated has put halt on most of the site updates.

This summer, I have had to remove most of my Twitter following, resorting to retaining only individuals or threads which gave me directly pertinent information. I check it once or twice a day, causing a large disconnect in it’s usefulness.

I take scheduled walks to the South side of the buildings I work in, where if you stand in the right spot you can pick up the wi-fi provided by the town for the Erie Canal.

When I leave work, I drive my half a mile, pull over and connect back up to the rest of the world.

The Larger Problem

I know and work with people who can not get broadband into their home, period.  This is a very rural region, and I am not surprised that broadband is not available. As the federal government still refines its National Broadband Plan, we have witnessed the emergence of services stimulating connectivity such as Google delivering their own service through fiber.

The problem is that the target regions for these plans are not the areas which need the most help.  I hope I am reading this wrong, because according to the map on the National Broadband plan site, 100% of homes already have the availability of 4Mb service to their house in Wayne County NY.  It is almost impossible to think this is a valid statistic and I am not sure if this includes satellite based services.   The number would lead me to believe that nobody is focusing on a region which is in desperate need of some help.

Last year when Google announced that they were going to deploy broadband, there was a lot of communications from rather large towns trying to participate. As far as I recall Newark, NY was not one of them. Perhaps it was because they never hit the headlines, but I am sure that just like Newark NY, there are thousands of small towns around the country who are oblivious to the fact that the project even exists.

Until areas with lower population counts are prioritized or wireless services becomes a suitable alternative, rural america will remain behind the curve of technology.  While I have ventured away from my comfortably fast network into a much slower world, I will continue to bring my technology with me. The likelihood that AT&T will put up another tower to help me out is pretty thin.  While I wait, I will bring my own wireless network to the area and bring fiber connections from providers who are ready to change.

Categories: History of Stephen, IT Perspectives Tags:

Fundamentals of Cat 5e

August 31st, 2010 No comments

This week, I have had to return to some networking fundamentals to emphasize a few points regarding how much an IT department can and should do themselves when it comes to network cabling.

At first glance, pulling your own network cables seems like a cost effective way to save money for a company. Many might make their own patch cables, after ordering the cable in bulk. While the fundamentals of the “do-it-yourself” network cabling project are straight forward, there are a few considerations that go into choosing the right cable for the job which often get overlooked.  This may help you when you are staring at that box of network cable, wondering how it compares to the box right next to it.

It can also be used as material to present to management if you change the title to “Why organizations should outsource network cabling projects to people who know what they are doing.”

Patch Cables are not for Wall Cabling

There is a difference in patch cabling versus normal wall cabling.  Don’t buy one for the other.  It is as fundamental as the reason an electrician use different wire in the wall than you do for an extension cord.

Wall cabling is made of solid wire.  Just like the electrical wire in your home, it is expected that this wire will sit unmoved as it connects the connection in the wall back to the source or patch panel.

Just like the extension cords in your home or on your appliances, Patch Cabling is made of stranded wire.  Many small wires wrapped together make continuous movement of the cable possible; reducing the likely hood it will break.  This is the wire that goes from your computer, back to the wall, or from the patch panel, back to the network switch.

The physical differences are enough that you don’t want to change the roles of these two types of cables.  The cabling has an entire industry of connectors relying on the wire to be solid or stranded in order to successfully connect and stay connected.

Pre-Decision on UTP Cat5e

There are different grades of cable available when you approach your networking project.  I will fast forward the conversation as most people find themselves looking at Cat 5e UTP cable as a standard.  The UTP is Unshielded Twisted Pair, and the category number represents the performance of the cable as it was tested and approved.  Yes, there is category 6, but the release of category 5 enhanced (that’s where the 5e comes from) has been approved for gigabit traffic and has such an arguably close tolerance to category 6, that most people find themselves at category 5e.

UTP Shielding Options

Here is one of the more overlooked options that seem to be overlooked.  While the internals of our Cat 5e cable defines the quality of the data that runs over it, there are different jacketing materials and classifications for the outside of the cable itself which can be important.   Most of these derived from general wiring requirements for fire code.

All bulk format UTP network cable comes with a different rating in order to meet different UL-NEC requirements.  This is the rating of the National Electric Code, which is published by the National Fire Protection Association.  The majority of what you find available will be labeled CM, CMG, CMR, or CMP, while you might stumble upon a CMH or a CMX.

The good news is that you can put them in a ranking order, with CMP at the top, but when you consider cabling an entire facility and you don’t need CMP, then the cost is significant enough to recognize the alternatives.

The ‘P’ in CMP is for Plenum.  In HVAC world if any part of your air flow that would go through your heating or air flow system is referred to as plenum.  This would include inside of the ducts themselves or in areas where return air is cycled above ceiling tiles.   These cables are meant to have a low-smoke and are less toxic when the jacket material burns.

The ‘R’ in CMR is for ‘Riser’.  Riser cables are designed to prevent the spread of fire from floor to floor and are setup for vertical shaft applications. If you are running cable from one floor to another, CMR would the minimum.  They may be overkill in a residential application, as they were designed to separate fire zones.

CMG and CM are the general cables to be used everywhere else.  They pass the vertical flame tests, and most likely the cables you will install in a residential application.

US & Canada Fire certifications (Source – Wikipedia)

Class            Acronym                        Standards

CMP            Plenum                        CSA FT7 [11] or NFPA 262 [11](UL 910)

CMR            Riser                                    UL 1666

CMG            General purpose            CSA FT4

CM                                                   UL 1685 (UL 1581, Sec. 1160) Vertical-Tray

CMX            Residential                        UL 1581, Sec. 1080 (VW-1)

CMH                                                  CSA FT1

Testing 123

While most departments have a cable tester able to light up a fancy LED light when their cable is successfully connected, few possess the equipment to truly diagnosis network cabling.  Unshielded Twisted Pair cable is designed to have different twists of cabling in order to prevent noise or attenuation in the cable.  While a blinky LED light will tell you if you have the right cable hooked up at both ends, it falls short on telling you that you have a connection capable of transmitting data across.  After you invest the money in the material, the time, and the equipment to make your cabling project come true, you might want to consider outsourcing it next time to a company specialized in network cabling.

Categories: IT Perspectives Tags:

Now Recommending: Microsoft Security Essentials

April 5th, 2010 No comments

Despite what is happening in technology on a global, corporate, or even economic scale, there are a few questions that people never stop asking that bring it all back into reality for me.  Only slightly less popular than “what computer should I buy” is the age old question of “What anti-virus software should I use?”.  For the record, I don’t like any of the anti-virus software available. Knowing that, my selection process is which one seems to be the better of the worst options available.  I wouldn’t pay for any of the commercial ones available, so up until now I would recommend AVG’s free anti-virus.  It seems that Microsoft themselves have brought a formidable solution to the table and decided to offer it for the right price to pay attention to…free.

In October of 2009 Microsoft released their Microsoft Security Essentials software as an anti-virus solution for Windows XP, Vista and 7 machines.  After 5 months of poking it with a stick, I have changed my recommendation to anybody who asks what anti-virus to use.  Microsoft has filled in a large hole with in their missing suite of security and delivered it quietly.

I rarely throw Microsoft’s name into the same sentence as security software.  I also think the big names solutions miss the mark when it comes to filling in only the missing holes in an otherwise stable operating system. Over the past 5 years the anti-virus market has turned into bloat-ware, delivering solutions that took over every aspect of your operating system from networking to browser applications. Somewhere in these bloated suites they also have anti-virus software, setup to monitor and scan for known infected files.  As a consumer it has almost been difficult to find a solution that only offers anti-virus.

Don’t I need all of that other stuff?

Service Pack 2 in Windows XP marked a pivotal moment in security for all Windows machines. It was this update which turned on your Windows Firewall by default.  I remember what life was like before that update, as virus protection was a serious problem as viruses spread through networks like wildfire.  Adding another layer of software and protocols on top of the ones already in place risk bringing things to a crawl.

What it does right

  • Free always sits well with people.  I learned a long time ago that some of the best software available is free. It certainly makes it attractive to not have to pay a yearly extortion fee for software that might catch the viruses.
  • It is simple to install. I sent my mother-in-law a 4 step instruction of download – uninstall old – reboot – install and I got an email back 20 minutes later with her telling me it was done.
  • It let’s you control what you want to scan, where you want to scan and when you want to scan.  The simple settings that can either strangle a piece of software or set it free.
  • It is happy running quietly in the corner. There are few annoying pop ups telling you to buy into something or to allow something to happen.
  • It is lite.  By allowing the operating system to use it’s naturally established utilities like the firewall, it doesn’t seem to completely strangle the operating system.  Somebody more ambitious than I am will need to run some statistics on that one.

Why haven’t I heard about this?

You might begin to wonder why Microsoft doesn’t just build this into their operating system suite.  After years of anti-trust agreements and the creation of a software security industry, the software giants hold more control of this fact than Microsoft does.  Microsoft needs to leave this as a third party application to keep the major powers at peace. It also attributes to why Microsoft isn’t pushing the marketing of this software or why you might not have known.

I do not think Microsoft Security Essentials is the final answer in security, but I think it is the best option off the market to fill in that void of protection for home users.  Without some standardized practices like maintaining your software updates, isolating your computer from the Internet and not clicking on everything you are presented with from a webpage, this software will not save you. Neither will that other software you paid too much for.

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Facebook Survival for the Conflicted Organization

March 10th, 2010 No comments

I have written posts in the past about Facebook, giving advice on how to manage and secure your profile. For the most part it was mean to cover your everyday stalker or control the face time you have with somebody you barely remember from high school 20 years ago.
Today I had the same Facebook presentation with a much more serious context.  Instead of protecting your Facebook profile against weird acquaintances from high school, imagine throwing a layer of HIPAA on top of that concern.  Not to be taken lightly are the legal ramifications it has if your friend request is from a patient or consumer. Protecting the confidentiality that you can even acknowledge you know this person will get you into hot water with the strickest compliancy officer.

Unfortunately my presentation and speech were as un-0fficial as I could make them placing me once again in the secret change agent role.  So why the secret identity or even the un-official nature of a corporate discussion on Facebook?

The Love Hate Turmoil over Facebook

Every organization, corporation, medical facility around the country is undergoing a state of mental turmoil over social networking and Facebook.  The problems are easy to identify from the shoes of the HR department.  They struggle against the losses in productivity, legal risk of what employees might say online, and the negative impact it has on the company name.  Pitted up against this struggle is the risk of loosing employee moral, the legal ramifications of policing an employees personal opinion, and really the inability to try and control something, which, can not be controlled.

Protect Thyself

While the HR department fights to come up with policies on social networking, there is still an important need within the walls of organizations around the country.  Teach the people who use Facebook how to protect themselves, and you will protect the organization.

Today’s presentation was a play on the basic premise that seems to be working.

Create Lists > Add People to Lists > Restrict Content to the list

Start with Greg’s Facebook Survival Guide which links to the two other posts on Facebook Protection. While Facebook continues to update their interface, the process is the same.

Here is the presentation itself from today, as a PDF file. Facebook_Survival_Guide-10March2010

Questions and Answers

Block it ALL? – While I have a lot of people and am rather protective of the content I put online, an excellent perspective came out of today’s discussion.  Block everything, and add people to groups to gain privileges.  By nature, this plays into how the lists work, and IS a natural setup and progression. As of right now, if you add somebody to TWO lists, the applied permissions take the least restrictive perspective of the two.

Check my Public Profile? – By nature when you click on the View my Profile button available in the

Privacy Settings, you are looking at your public profile.  If in doubt, you can logout and navigate back to your own page.

Categories: IT Perspectives Tags:

WordPress Malware Cleanup on isle Kamagra

February 21st, 2010 No comments

I managed to loose half of my day yesterday, thanks to a malware infection on the One Lap blog.  It was more like an irritating rash really, but one that scarred our front page with a link to some off branded male enhancement drug.  I wish you could just buy the little blue pills like Advil, as it would eliminate 90% of SPAM, malware and exploits on the Internet.  It almost pains me to put the name of the site in this post, as I know they win by propagating their name once again.

After backing everything up and changing all of the account logins, I had the not-so pleasant task of finding the infection. Following the path of most repair work, I started with Google.  I also found a lot of dead ends and blanket fixes.

I figured I would dump some of the more useful links I could find up here, to help the next soul looking to get rid of the annoying link on the top of their website for kamagra.  Most of the first searches out there, have you hacking away at unknown base64 files, eventually resulting in a complete lobotomy of your site functionality before it is rebuilt with new files.

Run through some best practices first and reset your account passwords for the site, including your FTP accounts.  Realistically the attacker used an SQL injection, allowing them to write straight to the database.  These holes are common during the flexible days before the patches are released.  If you were lucky, the only thing that was added was an annoying link.  So far, that is the only thing I have found.

The code was found in the WP_OPTIONS table in the database, which is where the plugins and other toys get to write to for WordPress. Search through the table for some key words and you will find the inputted entry.  Delete the entire entry and the text goes away. It sounds much easier, now that I know where to look.

Here is the discussion again, between a site owner who knows more than the people offering advice. http://wordpress.org/support/topic/304847

There were a couple useful tools to help parse through this crap.  The Exploit Scanner Plugin, helped draw out some of the code that didn’t look right.  Use with caution and don’t just delete everything it says.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/exploit-scanner/

That helped me pull out the code that was not supposed to be there, allowing me to find the first post of where it was hiding. Their example didn’t have the little pill as the problem, so I didn’t see it initially as I was searching for our miracle drug.

t’+’yle’;
var _0xd22c=[“function seeThat(elem) { eval(x22elem.x22+stl+x22.display=x27blockx27;x22); }”];
_0xd22c[0x0] = _0xd22c[0x0].replace(/block/i,”none”);
eval(_0xd22c[0x0]);
<
2c[0x0] = _0xd22c[0x0].replace(/block/i,”none”);
eval(_0xd22c[0x0]);
</script>
<script>
var str = ‘seeThat(document.getElementById(“link”));’;
eval(str.replace(/link/i,’w
r = ‘seeThat(document.getElementById(“link”));’;
eval(str.replace(/link/i,’wraps’));
</script>

Here is the output of the plugin, which the most useful piece of information was the credit_text2 information.  That is the name of the field in the database.
Most hosting sites come with a database admin tool like  mySQLAdmin, or something similar.  If  you don’t know what  you are doing in the database from a shell, then resort to clicking on the icons and digging through it there.
Good luck.

The Morning After

Having a small celebration after getting the malware off of your WordPress site, only to find the next morning the code is right back on the top of your site?  Well we only removed the entry in the database on the first round. Now we need to get rid of the code setup to run to put it back in place on a scheduled basis.

Now we need to dig into where this is being initiated from.  If you search through your files for credit_text2, you won’t find anything.  That is because they have encoded the text itself inside of a function file you don’t actually need.

Inside of the header.php file, there was a call to a start_template() function, directly after the body.  If you open up the

start_template.php file, you find a pile of encoded garbled junk.

Take the meat of that junk, and use one of the freely available Base 64 Decoders online to decode the file.

http://www.opinionatedgeek.com/dotnet/tools/Base64Decode/

In this particular case, the code was coded twice.  So take the output of the first round of decoding, and run it through the decoder again.

That presents us with the following code. If you notice the time reference, you now see why this annoyance comes back around.

Now our second round of cleanup to see if we can last 24 hours without getting a return of the exploit.

  • Delete the function call out of the header.php & remove the call to the require_once line that names the license file.  There are valid calls to these files in my theme, which tells me the entire theme may have been exploited.
  • If you delete the start_template.php file and it breaks the site, it is probably being called as required once some place else.  Start by removing everything from the file, or leaving only the PHP call in the file.
Categories: IT Perspectives Tags:

Countdown to the HITECH Act

February 17th, 2010 1 comment

My role as a secret change agent takes on many disguises. My technology credentials are strong enough to move me throughout the nerd community undetected.  As technology brings businesses, communities, and people together, I am able to stretch my legs into new areas, leveraging my technology credentials as  a form of VIP card.  Now I find myself in a new, though not unfamiliar role inside of the world of medical legislation. With an official title of IT Coordinator, I now carry the badge of HIPAA security officer.  Take the fast moving world of technology, watch the reaction when you mix in government legislation and the medical community, and you have the perfect train wreck for a change agent to prevent.

One year is a lifetime for technology, but one year moves really fast in the world of legislation.  While HIPAA policies are based off of legislation, meetings and adjustments representing a rather painful process from a change agent perspective, the technology screws were tightened this year, causing some growing pains throughout the HIPAA community.  Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the HITECH Act, which also marks the deadline to implement the Act. Before we celebrate the anniversary, let’s run down what this means and what we missed.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)of 2009 or the economic stimulus plan that came about in February 2009. It has a series of dates and deadlines throughout the year, bringing us to this 1 year anniversary on February 18th, 2010 when it goes into effect.

If HIPAA was the neighborhood watch, setup to protect us in the medical world with rules and guidelines, the HITECH Act would be Tony Soprano, coming to break your knee caps if you weren’t playing by the rules. It doesn’t tell you how to fix everything wrong with your HIPAA policy, but sets up some pretty strict penalties for when you get it wrong.

Let’s review what happened so far…

February 17, 2009 – HITECH Act Enacted

This setup the application of tiered civil monetary penalties regarding breaches of PHI (Personal Health Information).
Huh? You mean if I loose a whole bunch of medical records, I have to pay for that?
Not only do you have to pay for it, but that is the first thing we are saying above all else. We will collect money and we must collect money when a breach is found. Not to worry, because later in 2010 we get to define what to do with that money.

April 20, 2009 – (60 Days)

Human Health Services must set forth a list of technologies and methodologies that render information “unusable, unreadable or indecipherable.”

Result: section 13402(h) of the Act, which really should be called the “Oh, that’s what encryption is” Act. While the tech industry knew what encryption meant, the medical world didn’t want to listen. Frankly, they made up their own interpretation of what encryption was and it was painful.

HHS & FTC Guidance Rules

August 18, 2009 – (180 Days)

HHS and FTC must each publish “interim final” regulations on breach notification. These regulations apply to breaches discovered on or after the “interim final” regulations have been published.

Result: Section 13402 of Subtitle D

There is an entire layering system defining who you are required to tell and notify if you loose information, starting with the owner of the information you lost. It is rather thick, but on the scary side of things people are legally bound to notify the news media if you breach over 500 records.  The new focus is also on the Burden of Proof, requiring everybody to prove that they notified everybody and that the message was received.

December 31, 2009 –

Due date for the HHS to adopt rules for the first set of standards regarding disclosures and accounting for disclosures. Then they have a 6 month stopwatch starting which requires them to implement the standard.

You are going to want to read up on Sec. 13405 for this one.  That defines what the HHS needs to have in order to process all of this information they are about to unleash.  This covers what needs to be disclosed, what can’t be disclosed, how long you need to prove that you disclosed the information and a few other guidelines to make sure you follow through. I read through it and ran out of white boards to draw the number of clauses.

February 18th 2010

This marks the date when everything is adhered to and organizations are responsible for following the legislation. The HIPAA Survival Guide site, setup a great breakdown of what just happened and what is about to take effect and do a much better job tying it all together, but here is the summary of what is happening.

  • Organizations are to apply the rules, are accountable for their consequences along with all business associates.
  • Patient’s right to restrict disclosures to health plans.
  • Deeming of limited data set as satisfying the minimum necessary standard.
  • Patient’s right to electronic access to, and an electronic copy of, their health record.
  • Clarification regarding marketing provisions.
  • Opt-out for fund raising communications; HIPAA’s current provisions regarding fund raising remain in full force an effect.
  • Clarification regarding the ability to impose criminal penalties against individuals.
  • Civil monetary penalties and settlements flowing to HHS/OCR (Office of Civil Rights) for enforcement.
  • Requirement for HHS to begin conducting mandatory audits.

The last one is important. (hence the powerful red color) No longer does the HHS only hold the right to conduct audits, they are required do. Now that the legislation is in place for the monetary values, they will hold audits, and they will collect your money.

What do I expect to really see out of this?   6 months from now, they want to review all of the initial findings from the audits and report back to the federal government.  I would predict that things will not be as secure as they “envisioned” when they wrote the act in the first place.  The government will tighten the screws a little more, legislation will react, and we will fall into a cycle that keeps us chasing stronger regulations.

That prediction isn’t what will happen, because there are factors in the mix that nobody wants to acknowledge.   Without tipping my entire hand, let’s just say that my work as a secret change agent is just beginning.

Regardless, nobody wants to be involved in the first round of audits, including the auditors.  So expect some scrambling around and tidying up as the first wave reaches the shore.

Categories: IT Perspectives Tags:

Leveraging Facebook Pages

February 4th, 2010 No comments

Facebook allows anybody to start a Group or a Page, but is not until you have actually created one do you understand which direction to pick.

Adding a Facebook Page should be part of every business owners “list of free tools I should take advantage of on the Internet to enhance viral marketing”.  As of this post, you can not magically transform a group into a page without having some sort of VIP card into the support team of Facebook, so I wanted to offer some insight as to why your business should have a page setup.

Search Engine Journal has a nice comparison chart between a group and a page if you are still the fence about which one to choose.

From a marketing perspective, the Page offers a few distinct advantages.

  1. A page can be viewed by non Facebook members.  Among a list of reasons why that is powerful is the fact that it opens up the page to be indexed by the search engines.
  2. A page will provide statistical analysis in terms of users, time online, demographics, all in the form of what they call “Insights”.

Don’t laugh too hard that I have two empty graphs here.  I created this particular Facebook Page while I wrote this post. The idea is that I can return to you in 6 months and show you how to interpret the trends and turning them into useful information.  That is of course if I get anybody to add the page.

Last year we took an epic journey into the racing world by establishing a team to run in the One Lap of America.  We started a Facebook group, allowing us to coordinate members of that group, schedule meeting events, and create some communication paths for people to follow us.  We didn’t know it then, but what we needed was a page.

Facebook Page of RochesterDSM One Lap Team

While we were not a business, we wanted to use the page for the same reasons, which was to promote our escapades across the country.

The Facebook Page becomes a free extension of your own website, allowing you to have instant access to a photo gallery, discussion boards and resources that allow fans of your product to keep up to date and help spread the word.

Updating the page is amazingly easy for a team traveling across the country with limited internet access, as they allow you to even post updates by providing you with an email address.  Setting up the page to tie back into Twitter and becomes quite a useful resource for getting information updates published.

If you own a business, setup a Facebook Page. If you want to promote a brand, setup a Facebook Page.  If you want to have closed door meeting, allowing select members into those meetings without the prying eyes of the Internet, setup a Facebook Group.

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