'Answer The Public', Sponsored Hashtags and Ghostery

Answer The Public supports content creation excellence. A new algorithm reveals hidden adverts on social media. And Ghostery means a whole lot less email spam. Here’s the news.

Answer The Public‘s brilliant content tool

Need a tool to help you make brilliant content? Answer The Public could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Google’s auto suggest results are brilliant for getting marketing insight. Bing’s are equally good. Do you use them? If not, go and look. As you type into the search box, you get a drop-down aggregated view of the questions people are asking, interesting hints about the motivations and emotions behind the search query. It’s a content marketer’s goldmine as well as invaluable for SEO and PR. And you can harness it.
Some tools already automate the gathering of suggestions. But they tend to simply append every letter of the alphabet to the keyword you enter. Answer The Public decided to go a few steps better. They append search terms with words like ‘for’ and ‘with’ for a much richer starting point. And the results are uncannily like mind-reading, letting you peep into the minds of real people asking real questions.
The search insight you get is one of the most exciting things I’ve come across for ages. Answer The Public provides beautifully simple graphic visualisations of the data, which you can save. It’s top class inspiration for anyone who wants to create useful, relevant, essential and inspiring content. Identify what your audience wants to know, then give them it… that’s marketing.

Identifying artificially-boosted Twitter hashtags

Twitter usually labels paid-for and sponsored Tweets, so you can tell you’re being advertised at. But other kinds of sponsored content aren’t so easy to pin down. Take hashtags. How can you tell if a hashtag has enjoyed an artificial boost thanks to an advertiser?
A team from the University of Southern California has taught an algorithm to do exactly that, by analysing the unique characteristics of officially promoted campaigns. The algorithm is capable of identifying sponsored campaigns that haven’t been labelled as such by Twitter and has tested 95% accurate, an impressive number since it’s a big challenge to tease apart organic human stuff from promoted stuff.

Dramatic falls in email spam thanks to Ghostery

Every move we make online is tracked. Our online behaviour is fair game for businesses, and they don’t ask permission to collect our data. Some of us don’t give a monkeys. Others don’t like being the victim of tracking cookies and other monsters which – apart from anything else – seem to result in oodles of email spam.
Download the free Ghostery browser extension and you get the chance to choose which trackers – if any – can follow you, and which to block. You can block or allow trackers on a site or tracker basis, or combine the two. And you can download Ghostery free to any browser or device. They even provide tracker profiles so you can make informed decisions, and the add-on doesn’t affect the content you see or its functionality.
I was getting totally fed up with so-called ‘targeted’ email spam. I’ve had Ghostery on my browsers for a couple of weeks, and the amount of spam has dropped right back to more or less nothing. Now if I search for a tent online, for example, I no longer get a flurry of emails trying to sell me tents. Brilliant. Together with Firefox’s private browsing window, it has improved my online experience no end.

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