Thursday, June 21, 2012

Copyright and Trademark differences and similarities

There seems to be a lot of confusion about copyright and trademark

While the protections are similar, they are 2 very different things

So we'll get started with definitions. From Webster's dictionary

Copyright: the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)

Trademark: a device (as a word or image) pointing distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and legally reserved to the exclusive use of the owner as maker or seller

So copyright protects words, images, and sounds (books and other printed matter, music, movies, photos, etc.).

While trademark protects brands (McDonalds, Hello Kitty, Disney, John Deer, etc.)

Another difference between the 2 is that when you take a photo, write words, etc. you are automatically copyrighted in the US and the other countries that recognize the same set of laws. You can pay to have your item copyrighted, but this fee is mostly for extra protection in case you ever have to go to court over it.

But a trademark only goes into effect when you pay the money to have your trademark registered with the USPTO (US patent and trademark office).

Both sets of laws allow you to license some rights.

With both sets of laws, the copyright and/or trademark holder must enforce them. If the holder doesn't enforce the laws themselves, they can lose their protection, even if they paid a fee.

Not everything can be copyrighted or trademarked. Clothing, for example, a finished item does not have copyright and/or trademark protection unless said finished item has a decorative element (artwork, logos, etc)

I always assume that words, images, etc are copyrighted unless it says specifically that it is in public domain,to be extra safe.

As for trademarks, if you are wondering if a particular term is trademarked, check here:

Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Get Started on Google+

We’ve all been hearing about how Google+ is going to help our SEO and give us a boost to our google rankings so this post will tell you how to get started with it.  

The first step is to create a personal profile.  This is similar to your personal page on Facebook and if you use it at all it should be for social reasons and not for marketing your products.  Just like on Facebook you have to have a personal profile before you can add a business page.  This link will show you how to get started by creating your personal profile. 

The next step is to set up your business page and profile.  This is similar in concept to your Facebook fan page.  This link will show you how to do that:

It’s a good idea to use a different avatar for your business page than you did for your personal page because that will make it much easier to know which page you’re on.  You can change your avatar by going to your profile using the profile icon on the left sidebar, hover over your picture and it will give you a chance to edit it.  You’ll see “Options” at the bottom left and under that drop-down there will be a choice to delete it.  Once you delete it you can add another one.

When you sign into google+ you’ll be on your home personal page which shows all of the posts from the people in your circles or that you’re following.  The way to get from one page to the other is to click on the Pages icon on the left navigation sidebar and it will give you a choice between your personal profile and your business page(s).  Make sure to enter links to everywhere that you have an online presence like your shop, blog and Facebook page on both of your profiles.  This link will show you how to do that:

Circles are the main way to share posts on google+ and you can find your circles by clicking on the Circles icon on the left sidebar.  When you’re using google+ under your personal profile circles are like Facebook friends. You have completely different sets of circles for your personal profile and your business page and there is no connection between the two.  The best way to think of it is that you have 2 completely different entities and you are the only one that knows that there is a connection between your personal page and your business page. The people that you put in your circles using your personal page won't see the things that you post under your business page and the people in your business circles won't see your personal posts.  You can choose which of your circles that you want to share your posts with and you can also share them publicly so that they get found in searches.  The most viewed and shared posts end up in the “Explore” area.

When you're using your personal profile you can follow or add any person or business to your circles and they get a notice and have the option to circle you back. You can +1, share or comment on anything using your personal profile name.

When you're using your business page you can follow or add other businesses to your circles, +1, share and comment on their posts using your business name. They get a notice and can follow you back if they want to. You can't circle or follow a person or comment on their posts using your business name unless they circle you first but you can +1 their posts and share them. When you try to add a person that hasn’t added you first to your business circles it doesn't give you an error but it doesn't add them either and their little card just floats back to the top when you try to drag it into a circle. You can tell that it didn't work because the number of people in your circle doesn't increase.  You can always remove people from your circles if you decide that you don’t want to see their posts after all.

You can find things to add to your circles in several ways.  The first is to search for subjects and businesses that you’re interested in or think that your target demographic will be interested in and follow them or add them to a circle.  You can also search by twitter hashtags.  The second way is to click on the Explore icon on the left sidebar and you’ll see a selection of popular posts and subjects and you can follow the ones that are businesses.  People also share circles so when you see one that you like you can add it to yours. (This can be time consuming because you have to edit the people out of the circle because you can't circle people as a business unless they do it first.)     One of the easiest ways to get noticed is to +1 and share posts that don’t already have hundreds of +1s because people are more likely to see you if there are only a few +1s there.  Before you post think carefully about which circles you want to share it with.  For example I’m following and in a few science and geeky circles that are almost all men under my business page to keep my feed interesting to me and they probably don’t care very much about my products and those posts might annoy them.  Start out by organizing your circles as you add people so that you can target your posts. 
Adding people to your circles and getting added back doesn’t do much to increase your google rankings but having your posts get +1s and shared does.  I can’t reiterate enough that the way to help each other and get noticed by others on g+ is to +1 and share their posts with any of your circles that seem appropriate and publicly as well.  I recommend creating an SEOteam circle with only people from here in it so that we can share our posts back and forth and only be spamming each other.  Just like on Facebook the way to encourage people to share your posts is to be interesting, funny and post more than just product commercials.   Bring in some new content and don’t just share what you see in the Explore area because everyone shares those and you’ll see dozens of them in your feed when you have a lot of circles.  Just like on Facebook, pictures and videos are more eye-catching than posts with just text are.  

 We’ve already talked about adding your links to both of your google+ profiles and if you have your own stand-alone shop or blog it’s very good to link them back to your google+ account.   You can add a g+ button to your site by following these directions:

You can link your site back to google+ by following these directions:

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