Tech Nous Good, Bad, and Ugly

Apologies to Clint Eastwood but the variation on his movie title best summed up my thinking on the business technology marketplace.
Don’t get me wrong, new technology is usually very good. But often in its application things can go bad, and even become downright ugly.
The internet is good example. It is, without doubt, an extremely powerful information sharing and marketing tool. Unfortunately it attracts some undesirables. Spam is one of those irritating nasties and drastic steps are needed to minimise its impact.
Then there are technologies with question marks – good or bad?
We all know PDAs are good – particularly for accessing email and the internet when away from the office – but what about the new Wrist PDA? In the US, watchmaker Fossil has launched its Wrist PDA that runs on Palm’s Operating System and features an address book, calendar and memo pad. I can only assume it also tells the time.
Apparently there are other manufacturers, including Citizen, which intend marketing, surprise surprise – Microsoft-powered watches, which bring news and weather updates to the wearer’s wrist and allow instant messaging. The downside of these devices is their potential for getting damaged (they’re chunkier than your average dress watch), and batteries which require periodic recharging. At least you would never be without your PDA.
Microsoft is pursuing these growth opportunities as part of its Smart Personal Objects Technology initiative (and you thought SPOT was dog). The company wants to partner with consumer products manufacturers and sell all sorts of things from alarm clocks to key chains.
Growth in the handheld devices market has slowed in recent times, so who can blame companies such as Microsoft and PalmSource for encouraging new applications for their services?
Under the heading of “what’s bad about good technology” comes this news on New Zealand’s corporate websites. report released recently by Christchurch-based “search optimisation” company Web Rank has found that Top 100 Kiwi company websites are waste of money – why? Because they “contain significant design flaws that make it harder for them to be found by search engines”. Ouch – all that money spent on sites that can’t be found!
Web Rank’s analysis, (available at www.webrank.biz/Top100NZ.htm) shows where corporates have overlooked search engine visibility in designing their websites. Is Web Rank just touting for business?
Well, the report contains some very convincing evidence – such as quarter of the Top 100 sites could not be found for their chosen search terms in either US or New Zealand search engines. Furthermore, 34 percent aren’t listed in popular New Zealand search engines, almost third are missing from popular US search engines. And apparently one in eight use techniques that could get their site penalised on search engines for “spamming”.
Improving the search-ability of your website has lot to do with using the appropriate code to include more keywords and phrases that relate to the products and services offered by the business. It’s also about changing the site’s structural design to ensure it can be indexed and matched to relevant searches.
As Web Rank director Kalena Jordan says: “By ignoring the most important method used by people browsing the internet, these companies are sacrificing an enormous opportunity to attract more traffic to their websites.” That’s not good… that’s bad, if not exactly ugly. M

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management.
Email: [email protected]

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