• Left Brains.

  • Right Brains.

  • Brand Soul.

Monthly Archives: December 2010


Force 5 re-affirms Safe Harbor Certification for Third Year

Posted on December 28, 2010 by force5

South Bend, IN , December 28, 2010– Force 5, a brand development and marketing communications firm located in South Bend, IN, today announced that its Privacy Policy has been certified for compliance for the third year with the Safe Harbor Principles of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In October 1998, the European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection went into effect. This directive prohibits the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that do not meet the European “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. To provide a streamlined means for U.S. companies to comply with the Directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in consultation with the European Commission, developed the Safe Harbor principles. Approved by the EU in 2000, Safe Harbor provides a framework for U.S. companies to ensure compliance and avoid experiencing interruptions in their business dealings with the EU.

David Morgan, Vice President at Force 5 stated that Force 5 conforms to all Safe Harbor principles.  “Force 5’s compliance with the Safe Harbor principles shows its dedication to its global clients”, he said. “As the processor of personal information from around the globe, our adherence to Government safe harbor practices gives our clients peace of mind regarding our data collection and protection policies.  We are pleased to be one of only 35 companies in the state that have completed this certification process.”

Force 5’s Safe Harbor Privacy Policy is now officially registered with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and is publicly accessible on the company’s website here:  http://www.discoverforce5.com/assets/Safe-Harbor.html

More information on Safe Harbor can be found here: http://www.export.gov/.

About Force 5
Located in South Bend, In, Force 5 is a next generation brand development and marketing communications firm-the only one of its kind in the region. The principals are certified brand strategists, two of only a handful in the country, and they have an experienced and certified account, project management, and technical staff.  For more information, please visit our website at www.Discoverforce5.com.


How Digital Content Consumption is Shaping Tech Innovation

Posted on December 28, 2010 by nmcelwrath

Our Digital Crossroads

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a shift from what we know as your typical computer. A few years ago (heck all the way back to the Apple II), computers, more or less, took the same form; A monitor, CPU, with a mouse and keyboard. Recently, with the onslaught of touch screen smartphones, we’ve seen a convergence of computers and mobile phones. This blurs the all-to-familiar lines, effectively creating a separate market for each. How we are consuming content is changing just as much.

The Digital Content Road We've Travelled

It started when the web became (semi)mainstream back in the late 90’s. A new form of ever-changing content was available and quickly caught on. People were consuming content in a whole different way. But it was the Wild West, there were very little standards to utilize. Everyone was now a legitimate content creator on the world wide web. But the only way for people to consume this new content was either sitting in front of a desktop or with a wired connection to a laptop. It wasn’t a solution that was convenient or on their terms. Then came the introduction of wireless routers. This was just a taste of freedom, a "taste maker" if you will. It offered people the ability to consume content more on their terms, but not completely. Enough to make them hungry for more. The latest hurdle comes in the form of legislation threatening Net Neutrality, letting companies price and tier the internet depending on your location and sites you visit. While the bill is worded carefully to seemingly close a lot of holes, it opens plenty more loopholes for companies to take advantage of. A few responses to the bill: Steve Wozniak's Response to the FCC. Al Franken's declaration to not support new FCC bill.

Importance of an Open and Mobile Internet

Being connected abroad is much more important today than it used to be. What you can do with that connection is changing every day. New markets are emerging and new content and services are taking different forms to accommodate. Innovation is taking over with the freedom to create in a wider space.

Where Are We Headed?

We are beginning to see the niche split already. Down the road, smart phones, tablets and desktop computers will separate their niches even more, to what degree is debatable. Clearly defined niches will appear: one more for content creation, the other for content consumption.

Current Trends - Intimacy

Current trends can be telling as well. We are seeing much more intimate ways of interacting with content. We can now touch our content and have it recognize us when we step in front of our television. Some great touch interfaces come in the form of Apple iPhones & iPads, Motorola Droid X, HTC Evo, etc. This year Microsoft responded to the Wii's success with Kinect, a camera accessory for it's Xbox that tracks your movements and allows for interactions based on body movement. During the D8 conference this past summer, Steve Jobs defined PCs as trucks, relating the PC industry to the Auto industry. “All cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farm,” he said. Now trucks are one in 25 to 30 vehicles sold, he said. “PCs are going to be like trucks. They will still be around.” He added, “This transformation is going to make some people uneasy.”

Proof of Influence

How we consume our content and it’s influence can be seen in recent events. Emerging markets, market shifts, and disappearing markets are proof that change is happening. An example of an emerging market can be seen in Apple’s iPad. The increase in ebook and e-reader sales now encompasses 15% of total book sales can be viewed as shifting markets. The slowly dying netbooks industry shows the overlapping devices tend to fall in the canyon first as the markets separate.

Midst of Change

There's no doubt that we're in a period of change in how we consume our content. Factors in the tech industry that influence change can be ever changing. One thing is for sure, consumers have the end say with their wallets. As dedicated content creators in this space, Force 5 will be watching closely.


A good reminder

Posted on December 20, 2010 by ddefreeuw

I was at church this Sunday and received a good reminder. Let me take a step back, this was the weekend when the little people come up from little people church to big people church and sing a few Christmas songs. So here comes the first group, 4-7 years old, I believe. The girls have on their new tights and sparkly skirts, the boys have their hair combed and are sporting a new sweater. The proud parents are happily snapping photos. Their songs are very nice; they clap their hands, mostly to the beat, and shyly, sweetly sing.

So the second group comes up on stage. These children are a little older, probably 8-10 years old. They line up on the risers, some looking scared and others waving at family in the crowd. The first song starts and there is one voice, a bit off key, rising above the others. So I start looking for the source, in the middle of the entire group is a little girl, dressed in pink singing at the top of her lungs and doing all the “moves” with gusto! My first thought was "I wonder if her parents are embarrassed," as a ripple of laughter travels through the crowd. I cannot take my eyes off of this girl; she is doing everything with 110%, no, probably more like 150% of everything she has to give. It was a wonder and probably divine intervention that she didn’t take out the kiddos standing next to her. Arms flying, leaning forward, she was all in. It was wonderful, fear of criticism was non-existent and she was enjoying the experience of being on stage and singing in praise. She was a hit!

So, what was the lesson? Whatever you are doing, be all in, all there. There are times not being “in tune”, coloring outside of the lines and taking your own path can have its rewards.


Prevent Duplicate Content

Posted on December 9, 2010 by force5

Having duplicated content within search engines is a very common problem that is often overlooked. You would think having duplicated content will be good for your search rankings, although that is not the case as it may be not useful to the end-user.

www-vs-non-www (Problem)

Search engines recognize your www.your-domain.com and your-domain.com as two separate websites. You may not be penalized by having multiple results although you can improve the efficiency for end-users combing through the search results. In addition, if you have a single convention of your domain usage people linking to your site can improve your link backs.

www-vs-non-www (Solution)

Since search engines track these as separate sites you need to pick either your www domain or the non-www domain. You still want both versions active although what you want to do is to create a 301 Permanent Redirect to your desired domain. For example, http://discoverforce5.com will redirect your browser to http://www.discoverforce5.com. By performing a 301 Permanent Redirect you are telling search engines not to store/index the redirected content for that page/location.

One thing to not forget is that you make sure you allow your website URL paths to be included during the 301 Permanent Redirect process. For example, http://discoverforce5.com/Media-Hub/ will send the end-user to http://www.discoverforce5.com/Media-Hub/. As you see it makes sure to send the end-user to their original desired page.

ASP.NET Code Example:

In this example we want to use the www domain as the main convention and redirect the non-www domain. The code below you see we grab the current domain and the URL path the request was made. We then check to see if the domain includes the www, if not, we perform the 301 Permanent Redirect.

// get server name/domain
string sDomain = Request.Url.Host.ToString().ToLower(); // i.e. discoverforce5.com 
// get url path
string sPath = Request.RawUrl.ToString();
// check if www is in the server name
if (!sDomain.Contains("www."))
    // server name does not contain www - proceed with 301 Permanent Redirect
    Response.RedirectPermanent("http://www." + sDomain + sPath);

Apache Server Example:

With Apache servers this process is easier with utilizing the .htaccess functionality. Below you will see the Apache server equivalent to the ASP.NET example above.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^discoverforce5\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.discoverforce5.com/$1 [R=301]

Inconsistent Linking

Try to keep internal and external page links to your content consistent. For example, don't link to http://www.discoverforce5.com/Services/ and http://www.discoverforce5.com/Services and http://www.discoverforce5.com/Services/Default.aspx as all three examples are different.

If you are interested in learning about how to submit your site to search engines feel free to read "The little things to not forget about during development [Part: 2]".

Have any SEO needs or questions? Please give Force 5 a call.