Author Archives: Wes Mahler

Rio De Janeiro Meetup – Monday at 20:00 PM, Ipanema

We are putting together an internet marketing meet up in Rio De Janeiro on Monday, Oct 14 at 20:00 PM in Ipanema.  We have several people confirmed for this meet up so far.  The location is still yet to be determined.  Please email wes@follow.net if you’re interested in joining us, I will send you over the event details once we determine them shortly.  We look forward to meeting everyone in Rio De Janeiro!

Introducing the Follow News Feed

We are incredibly excited to announce our newest addition to Follow today.  We’ve been working on this feature for a very long time and we are now finally ready to release it to the world.

When we first started Follow almost a year ago, we didn’t just want to copy everyone else in our industry.  We wanted to provide a completely new experience for gathering competitive site information. The old experience that everyone is familiar goes something like this. When you want to look up information about a particular website, you have to perform lookup reports on several different competitive research sites & services.

These sites & services can show you a ton of information about any particular competitive piece of information you want.  They do what they’re suppose to do and they work really well.  At Follow, we’ve also provided this by integrating with several of these companies to provide you the ability to quickly lookup information about any site.

We’ve already created one of the fastest competitive tools ever to hit the market.  What used to take a lot of time, our software can pull competitive information about any site across several different marketing channels in seconds.  But we don’t want to stop there, we’re going to make it even better.

We believe you shouldn’t have to visit our site whenever you want to know what your competitor is doing, you should just be notified when any of the sites you’re following does anything new.   It can become a real hassle when you have several sites you want to pull up competitive information for on a regular basis.  It takes up a lot of time and it becomes even more tedious when you need to lookup the same site across several competitive research tools over and over again.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone just told you every-time any of the sites you wanted to know about did something new online without having to check yourself?   We thought so, so we decided to build it.  It’s called the Follow News Feed.  I think you’re going to absolutely love it.  It’s a competitive intelligence news feed that reports back to you whenever any of your competitors do anything new online.  Here’s how it works:

1) Viewing a site’s news feed:

When you lookup a site using Follow, you’ll now notice a new tab that says “Newsfeed.” Click this tab to load up the news feed for that particular site.  This news feed will show you an activity log of everything that site has done, across every marketing channel we monitor.

We only start tracking data for domains from the date that they were first followed by someone.  So if no one has followed it before we won’t have any data.  If you load up a site’s news feed that’s never been followed you’ll be prompted to follow it if you’re interested in the data.  If we already have the data, the news feed data will show and you won’t have to follow it to see it.  However, if you’ll want to know if that site does anything new in the future, you’ll want to follow it.  If you don’t follow it, you won’t receive notifications about what they do in the future.

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2) Viewing a news feed for several sites at once

You can also view a news feed that shows all the activity for several sites at once.   This can only be done if you’ve followed the domains already.  To view a news feed that shows several domains at once, go to our left sidebar and click on either “all domains” or a “tag” you’ve created.  Once you do that we’ll show you a news feed for every site in the tag group you’ve selected, or all of your domains if you selected that option.

This is great if you want to see all of the activity for a specific group of websites in one location.  For instance, let’s say you are selling credit reports online.  You may have a group of websites you’ve followed and tagged with the world “Credit Report.”   Now you can see what all of them are doing by clicking on the “Credit Report” tag you’ve created.

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3) Filtering the news feed story types:

Our news feeds can show you a variety of different stories for any particular website because we monitor several different marketing channels.   We have news feed stories related to;  search marketing, display advertising, affiliate activity, recent blog posts, social media activity & more.

If you only want to view a particular group of stories at once, you may do so by selecting a filter.  You can select one, or several filters at the same time.  For example, if you only want to see what a site does with their social media campaigns, simply filter the news feed by Twitter and Facebook stories only.  Now you’ll only see stories related to Facebook and Twitter, you won’t be shown anything else.

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4) Our news feed is fully responsive:

You can view our news feed across all of our different views; our toolbars, desktop and mobile sites.  We’ve spent an incredible amount of time making this work all together. We’re excited to say wherever you are & however you’re using Follow, you’ll be able to access our news feeds.

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4) You’ll receive email notifications about the sites you’ve followed:

You’ll now receive email notifications for every site you’ve followed.  New stories about the websites you followed will be emailed to you, by default on a daily basis.  You may change your email preferences to receive no emails, daily emails or weekly emails.

You can access your email notification settings by clicking on your name in our left-sidebar, and then the “My Notifications” link.  Each domain will have it’s own notifications setting.  We send out an email for each domain.  So if you’re following 10 different domains, and each of those domains has activity every day, you’ll receive 10 emails a day.  One for each domain you’ve followed.

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6) Your team can receive notifications too:

If you work with several people and they also need to know what your competitors are doing, they can receive the news feed stories too.  To do this, simply share your Follow portfolio with them.  A shared portfolio allows everyone who has joined to have access to the same information that you do. Everyone in the shared portfolio can see, follow and unfollow domains in that portfolio.

Everyone also receives their own email notifications for every domain that’s been followed in the shared portfolio.  Each member manages their own email notification settings.  You can have as many portfolios as you like. Many users have personal portfolios and another for a company that they share with co-workers.

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That’s everything!  See it for yourself now, it’s live!

Our news feed is available now!   If you’ve followed any domains previously you can now see a news feed that shows all of their activity.  Simply login to app.follow.net and you’ll see all of the stories immediately once you login.  We’ve been tracking them since the day you’ve followed them!

PS: Please do not mark all of our new emails as spam when you start receiving our news feed emails.  We have made it incredibly easy to update your notification settings. If you’re receiving to many emails change your email notification settings to weekly, or disable it all together if you want to receive none.

PSS: What are you waiting for?  Check out the new Follow News Feed here from your phone or your computer now!

Follow 2.1 for Firefox, it resizes and it’s way faster!

Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia!

We’ve made some more improvements to our Firefox extension and I’d like to share them with you now.

1) Resizing The Sidebar

You can now resize our firefox sidebar!   If our text used to be too squished in our small tables or if the charts were to small, now just resize our sidebar!  The sidebar now can be stretched up to 800 pixels wide. This allows you to see the same amount of information that you would have if you loaded up our dashboard without using any extensions.   Lastly, if you resize our sidebar and restart firefox, it’ll retain your sidebar width next time you login!

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2) It’s Faster, Really Fast

If you visit a lot of sites while using our firefox extension, it just got way faster!  Our new speed improvements will only work if you leave Follow open while browsing the web.  For example, to see how much faster it really is, first update your firefox extension.  Once you have Follow 2.1 installed, open it up and leave it open as you browse different sites.  You’ll notice it loads up the information for every website extremely fast.  It’s faster because once it’s now opened, it doesn’t have to reload all of the contents like it was doing before.  It’s so fast that your Follow stats will almost always load before the other websites do.   You’ll be blown away at how quick you can do research now with Follow for firefox.

How To Get It

Our newest version firefox extension, Follow 2.1 is available now!

If you already have our firefox extension installed, simply go to the “Add ons” area in firefox and click the update extensions button.

If you don’t already have our firefox extension installed, download it here.  If you’re using Follow and still haven’t tried our firefox extension you are really missed out.  Follow for Firefox is our best extension yet and we’re going to keep making it even better.

Our extensions are 100% clean and we’ve fixed our login bug

1) Our Extensions Are 100% Clean

We’ve had many people ask us if our extensions were 100% clean of adware, spyware, malware and all of that nasty stuff. Our answer of course has always been yes, our extension has always been 100% clean, and it will always be 100% clean. Softpedia just reviewed our latest extension versions and here is what they had to say:

Follow 2.1 – SOFTPEDIA “100% CLEAN” AWARD

Softpedia guarantees that Follow 2.1 is 100% Clean, which means it does not contain any form of malware, including but not limited to: spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors.

This software product was tested thoroughly and was found absolutely clean; therefore, it can be installed with no concern by any computer user. However, it should be noted that this product will be retested periodically and the award may be withdrawn, so you should check back occasionally and pay attention to the date of testing shown above.

This product was last tested in the Softpedia Labs on 07 August 2013 by Octav Fedor

So you don’t have to worry about doing weird things like disabling Follow when you don’t want to use it. We only receive information about a website when you open Follow on it, other than that, when it’s closed we do not track any data anonymously.

And for those who are still super paranoid, remember that you can always use our full desktop or mobile sites. You don’t have to use our extension to view our stats.

2) Automatic Login Fixed

Many people have said that they had to keep logging into Follow every time they wanted to use it.

That’s sure annoying! We’re sorry for that. We just fixed the problem though. Let us know if anyone else sees any issues. The next time you’ll still be asked to login, but once you’re logged in you shouldn’t have this problem any more.

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PS: If you haven’t followed many sites yet, start doing so. We have an incredible updating coming out soon and it’ll only work for people who’ve followed sites. So make sure to follow all of your competitors if you haven’t done so already.

PSS: If you’ll for some reason be in south america this year, we’re going to be putting on a few internet marketing meetups in Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. For all of those who live there we’ll notify you of the details soon.

Our Best Extension Yet – The New Follow For Firefox

I got bit by a few bugs while making this video :)

Even if you’re a die hard Chrome, IE or Safari user, you’ll want to download and try our new extension for Firefox because it’s our best extension yet.  The new extension we built for Firefox provides a significantly better experience than all of our other browsers’ extensions.  This is because Firefox provides their developers with a real native sidebar, which we are now using.

This sidebar is superior to our old sidebar that relied on injecting HTML into the page to work.  First, our old sidebar had tons of problems loading because if the website you were viewing didn’t load, or had messed up HTML our sidebar would never open at all.  Second, it’s better because it can stay open all the time when you’re browsing different sites.  This makes it easier to do a lot of research with our extension.  You no longer have to constantly re-open Follow to pull up a website’s stats, it’ll just be there when you have our Firefox sidebar open.

Unfortunately if you use Chrome, IE or Safari it’s highly unlikely that we’ll make an extension that’s as good as our Firefox extension.  That’s because Chrome does not provide support for a native sidebar, we’re reliant on using their small pop-up window to display window.  For IE and Safari, we just don’t have enough users using those browsers to make it worthwhile.    Although we’ll still always have extensions for all the browsers, just know that if you want to do a lot of research, open up Firefox and you’ll be able to do it faster with Follow.  I personally use Chrome, I’ll use our Chrome extension a lot still, but when I want to do a lot of research fast I now switch to FireFox.

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How To Install Our New Firefox Extension

If you’ve never downloaded our Firefox extension before, you can download it here.

If you’re a previous Firefox user who’s had our extension installed, you’ll actually have to uninstall our old version and install our new version.  Your old Follow extension for Firefox will not automatically update.    So, in order to get our new extension, you must download the new extension and uninstall our old one.  We will no longer be providing updates to our old Firefox extension.

Anytime you login with your old Firefox extension you’ll be prompted to download and install our new extension.

Try It Out Now

That’s it; download our new Firefox extension now!

We’ve Added Contextual Advertising, Web Mentions, More Traffic Charts & Updated Chrome Extension

Hello from Mexico!

I’m currently video blogging this from a wifi cafe in Oaxaca, Mexico.  I just started a 14 month travel and work trip around the world. We live in an amazing time.  With the power of the internet you and I can work from anywhere in the world.  It’s an amazing feeling to wake up everyday and work on something you’re passionate about while traveling the world and having fun at the same time.  We’re doing it here at Follow and I sincerely hope that you too can experience it someday too.

So with that being said, here is the first, of many future video posts we’ll be doing from around the world.  We’ve completed some great improvements to Follow and I’d like to share them with you now.

1) Contextual Advertising

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You’ll now be able to see a site’s contextual advertising activity. We’ve integrated with BoxOfAds to provide you with this data.  You’ll be able to see the top contextual ad networks a site is using, how many targets & creatives are being actively used, and what some of their top contextual targets are.

What is contextual advertising?  For those who don’t know, contextual ads are generally delivered in the form of a pop-up or interstitial ad when you’re viewing a website.  For instance, sometimes you’ll visit a website an notice a large ad appear in the middle of the page, you’ll have to “skip” or “close” the ad to continue to where you left off.  This is a type of contextual ad.  Contextual advertising is also sometimes referred to as; Pay Pay View (PPV), Cost Per View (CPV), Pop-Ups and interstitial ads.   To learn more about contextual advertising, watch our help videos or read the wikipedia article on contextual advertising.

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2) Web Mentions

Every-time a site is mentioned on the web you’ll know about it!  Once you follow a domain, moving forward, we’ll show you every-time someone talks about the site anywhere on the web.  This is a great way to see who’s talking about a site.  This is helpful to see every site whose ever mentioned your competitor or your own brand online.

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3) New Traffic Trending & Source Charts

You can now see how visitors arrive to any website with the new SimilarWeb’s traffic sources graph we’ve added.  This chart shows the percentage of users who visit a site from directly typing in the domain name versus those who clicked on a inbound link, clicked on a search result, came from social media, email or an advertisement.  Basically, this is a easy way to understand how a website receives most of their traffic.   Do they focus on social media marketing?  Do they focus primary on paid advertising?  Maybe they focus mostly on search or email?  This new chart will tell you.

We’ve also added in SimilarWeb’s traffic reach chart.  This chart is similar to Alexa’s daily reach chart, both charts basically show you what percentage of the internet users visits a website.

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4) New Chrome Extension

We got rid of the big sidebar we had and switched over to the native Chrome extension pop-up window.  We had issues before with the previous sidebar.  Although the old sidebar we feel was a better experience when it worked, it just didn’t open all of the time and it was causing people issues.  The old sidebar relied on injecting HTML into the pages DOM.  This was a problem though because sometimes the page had to finish load, or just didn’t load properly at all and prevented our sidebar from working.   So although the new extension is not quite as cool as our old sidebar, we’re happy to say it’ll open 100% of the time now without fail.  We believe that’s the most important part, software should just work.  We’d rather not have a product at all then a buggy product.

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PS: These new features are live now, check them out by logging into Follow now!

Mexico City Follow Meetup – Sunday, July 28th at 2:30PM

banderamexico

We are having a Follow meet up in Mexico City this weekend, if you did not receive the email (because most likely you don’t like in Mexico) here are the details. Please let us know by emailing support@follow.net if you’re able to make it ahead of time.

This Sunday, July 28th @ 2:30PM
Starbucks Coffee
Londres 127 Juárez, Cuauhtémoc
06600 Mexico City, Federal District
Mexico
+52 55 5207 3522

For directions, click here.