Friday, December 30, 2005

PEIConference.Com (Conference info) site is now live!

The conference (sub)website is now live at:

When you type the above (secured at Godaddy.Com for $7/year) it forwards you to the following, much longer, subfolder off of our main site:

Other conference planning team members (Randall, Peter, Clyde, Neela), feel free to post progress, digital divide info, etc.

All for now- Happy New Year!
- Matt

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PEI Conf "Save the Date" Postcards have been mailed!

The PEI "Bridging the Digital Divide" Conference 2/8/6 Postcards were sent out - we just received ours in the mail at the SBC.

Nice work, PR Team- they look great!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Create a Blog to Boost Your Business

If you're still not quite sure what blogs are or how they can benefit your business, this blogging veteran offers some words of wisdom.
September 27, 2005
By John Nardini, Entrepreneur.Com

Click on title above or here for article.

Yahoo! Messenger adds Phones Out Functionality (Skype Competitor- from PCMag)

News: Yahoo! Messenger Phones Home

Not to be outdone by AOL, Yahoo! has announced the addition
of Phone In and Phone Out services to the company's arsenal
of Yahoo! Messenger communications services
( Yahoo! is rolling out two new
fee-based services, under the overall name of Yahoo!
Messenger with Voice, which deviate a bit in their structure
from the unlimited calling plans of many Voice over IP
(VoIP) services such as AT&T CallVantage, VoicePulse, and
Vonage. With the Yahoo! Phone Out service, subscribers can
make PC-to-phone calls from anywhere in the world to the
U.S. for one cent a minute.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Skype Review (by Matt Magne)


I installed and tested Skype. It's a very "cool" tool. It has over 3M users and Ebay recently purchased the company for $2.8B. (www.Skype.Com) Yahoo IM Client just announced incorporating Call-in and call-out functionality 12/9/05, USA Today.

Skype basically gives the ability to talk over the internet (ie.,. VOIP) like Vonage using a microphone and speakers on your computer (my laptop has them built-in).

You can get a Skype Starter Package from RadioShack for $5. (includes earbud and mic and some credit to call phone#'s)

It also adds the ability to call landline or cell phones from your computer and receive phone calls on your computer and other Instant Message functionality like sending files or chat windows.
My username is slidesage and I signed up for a phone # (795-1776).

Skills necessary to run Skype:
- keyboard/mouse navigation
- web skills (running/navigating browser)
- computer skills (turning on, connecting to internet)
- file management (saving and running the install)
- user interface skills (navigating the interface)
- computer skills: importing from outlook contacts

- All the prices are in euros/pounds until you change.

- Skype to Skype phone calls costs nothing.
- 2 cents per minute to call Europe, US/Canada, Argentina, China, Australia.
- $4/month to get a dedicated phone line that landlines can call.

- voip function is free
- IM Chat functionality is very cool.
- upload file is very cool.
- When people call it rings you're computer (or connected phone).
- It will go to voicemail which you can play on your computer.
- Teleconferencing ability is very useful.
- Audio has some hiccups.
- Big difference is ability to call a landline and/or get calls from a landline while working on your computer.

Competing Products:
- Jfax - has voicemail, phone/fax anywhere you want
- IM (AOL/Google)
- Vonage (on the VOIP front)

Si Cantwell Star News Blog Articles

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Great Digital Divide Statistics (from Randall)

Specials & Studies
* African Americans and the Internet (Pew Research, 22 Oct 00)
* STUDY: Disconnected, Disadvantaged, and Disenfranchised (PDF format -
Consumer Federation and Consumers Union, 11 Oct 00)
* STUDY: Falling Through the Net 1999

Digital Divide Websites:
Neighborhood Networks -
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) site dedicated to fostering
technology growth and bridging the digital divide. Information on how to
create and sustain a neighborhood network, including funding sources.

The Census Bureau's Survey Instrument and Raw Data is available at

Digital Divide Websites--REPORTS

Monday, December 12, 2005

PEI/Sample Blog Websites (From Peter)

Partners blog:

Peter Grear blogs:

Politics, Government Policy blogs:

Business, Economics, technology blogs:

Media, Literary, culture blogs:

Blog Search Engines:


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blogs grow as a PR device (N&O Article 12/6/5)

Published: Dec 06, 2005 12:30 AM
Modified: Dec 06, 2005 04:37 AM
Blogs grow as a PR device
More executives see the merits of Web logs, which can boost companies' visibility, establish their writers as experts in the field

Wingo's blog about the e-commerce industry is called eBay Strategies.

David Ranii, Staff Writer
More companies are wading into the blogosphere.
Increasingly, they're discovering that Web logs, online journals that serve up news and commentary, can be an effective marketing tool. So they're creating blogs that are aimed at boosting the company's image, although they may be written by a single executive expressing his or her point of view.
If done well, it works. Companies can boost their visibility and establish one of their own as an expert in the field, marketing experts say.
"It's a great outreach to potential clients," said Andy Beal, CEO of Fortune Interactive, a Raleigh Internet marketing company that helps companies conduct e-mail marketing, use blogs as a marketing tool and boost their rankings on Web searches.A blog can cement bonds with clients by demonstrating that the company is on top of the latest trends, and win attention from mainstream media, he said.
Beal stumbled upon the merits of a blog when he started one while he was an executive at WebSourced, a Morrisville search-engine marketing company. He found it so valuable that he began another blog this year when he started Fortune Interactive.
"The blog has absolutely increased the credibility I have in the industry," said Beal.
He credits his industry reputation, which was amplified by the blog, with helping him attract his new company's initial clients.
In addition to being asked to speak regularly at industry conferences, Beal has been interviewed on National Public Radio and has been quoted in publications such as the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
But there are pitfalls to corporate blogs. Many err on the side of being self-serving, undermining their credibility and turning off readers. Or even worse, they're boring.
The track record of corporate blogs is hit-or-miss, said Larry Lamb, who teaches public relations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"It seems that the ones that have been successful have people writing them who are good writers, provocative writers, who provide useful information and make frequent entries," Lamb said. If a blog's content isn't kept fresh, readers may cross it off their to-do list.
Just as many corporate Web sites flopped at first, corporate blogs today are still in trial-and-error mode. "This is 1994 for the blogs," Lamb said.
Readers tend to find blogs through Internet searches, word-of-mouth and its Internet equivalent, hyperlinks on other blog sites.
Some companies, such as MMI Associates, a Raleigh public relations firm, concede that their blogs are works-in-progress. But Kipp Bodnar, an account executive at the firm, thinks that the blog the agency began in late August will be worth the effort.
"It is the next step in communications," he said.
Certainly there are a multitude of corporate blogs vying for attention.
Technorati, a blog search site, surveyed the landscape and found 7,000 corporate blogs in 2003, said David Sifry, founder and CEO. Six months later, the number had jumped to 15,000.
Technorati hasn't done a similar survey since, but Sifry expects that the number has continued to rise dramatically. Corporate blogs are especially popular with high-technology industries.
If you are in certain industries, "you should have a blog. Most of your competitors do," said Diane Kuehn, CEO of VisionPoint, a Raleigh firm that specializes in online marketing.
Unlike corporate Web sites, corporate blogs aren't always tied to a company's name.
Beal's blog is called Marketing Pilgrim. WebSourced's blog, the one originated by Beal, is called Search Engine Lowdown.
But the company affiliations aren't hidden.
Marketing Pilgrim includes an "About Andy Beal" section that specifies that he is CEO of Fortune Interactive, and includes a hyperlink to the company's Web site. The blog also is "sponsored by Fortune Interactive."
Scot Wingo is CEO of ChannelAdvisor, a Morrisville company whose software and services help customers make sales over the Internet. He takes a similar approach on his blog about the e-commerce industry, called eBay Strategies. Wingo also wrote a book called "eBay Strategies."
In a recent posting about a new development at ChannelAdvisor, Wingo inserted a disclaimer, pointing out that he's the company's CEO.
"We try to be totally upfront and let people know there is a conflict of interest," said Wingo. "I'm not a journalist."
The most successful blogs can generate revenue of their own.
WebSourced's Search Engine Lowdown has attracted more than $100,000 in ads from other companies so far this year, according to company spokesman Xavier Hermosillo. WebSourced says the site attracts 800 to 1,500 readers daily.
The best blogs -- corporate or otherwise -- have a distinctive voice, the work of a single author. That can mean a major time commitment, depending on how frequently they are updated. As a recent day unfolded, Beal added a dozen items.
"I wouldn't do it if it wasn't fun," said Beal. "I enjoy getting a scoop. It's still work, but it is enjoyable work."
But blogging isn't for everyone.
Steven Keith, interactive director at Raleigh public relations agency Capstrat, said many clients are interested in sounding off on issues that are dear to them, but that may not tie into their businesses.
"I persuade more clients not to do it, rather than do it," Keith said of blogging.
Some clients even want Capstrat to ghostwrite a blog for them, something the agency won't do. That, said Keith, would destroy a blog's integrity.
Staff writer David Ranii can be reached at 829-4877 or

© Copyright 2005, The News & Observer Publishing Company
A subsidiary of The McClatchy Company

Monday, December 05, 2005

Skype Vs. Gizmo and other Competitors (posted via email)

Skype Competitors:
According to the recent statistics, among the IM providers, AOL has 41.6 million members, Yahoo Messenger has 19.1 million and MSN has 14.1 users.
Matthew K. Magne, Small Business Center Director    
-> Classes & Counseling for Small Business: 910.362.7469

I've added this post by sending an email to blogger

Va Beach:

516k sf, $203M
When complete in 2007, the 516,000-square-foot center will boast an expansive exhibit area, a big ballroom with oak walls, an Internet cafe, a VIP boardroom with 40-foot ceilings, and four giant video walls.

120k sf, $40M to build it.

This is the subject.

Matthew K. Magne, Small Business Center Director
-> Classes & Counseling for Small Business: 910.362.7469

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Consider this your blog sandbox

For now, let's consider this our blog sandbox. I think there is way to make it private to only PEI conference team. But, we should have a publicly visible blog that we start using to market the PEI conference and take questions from people about it. So, if the PEI site is not up in time, we could use something like this....
See ya'll on monday.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Conference Committee

I'm learning to use this blog. Maybe on Monday we can discuss the kind of content that is appropriate to disclose during the planning process.

Bridging the Digital Divide Conference on 2/8/6

Mark your calendars!!

2/8/06 in Wilmington, NC, the Partners for Economic Inclusion will host it's annual Conference entitled "Bridging the Digital Divide" - keynote will be Dr. Phillip Clay, MIT Chancellor and Wilmington, NC native.

For more information, go to: