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How Marketers Can Use Yahoo! Pipes to Increase Their Online Sales

While RSS end-user adoption has been relatively slow, marketers have jumped at the chance to use this new internet channel increase their online sales.

If you’re new to the world of RSS — RSS is a simple technology that allows you to deliver your online content directly to your subscribers, other websites and the search engines. It helps you improve your content delivery, as well as increase your online traffic and reach, and even conduct business intelligence more easily.

RSS content is delivered through so-called RSS feeds, which are just simple files that carry your online content. Each of these simple files containts multiple “stories” that you may want to deliver to your audiences, called “content items”. A content item can be anything … an article, a blog post, a whole newsletter issue, a sales letter and so on.

But there is more to RSS than simply getting your content out.

One of the fields of RSS marketing is also NewsMastering, which allows you to:

[a] take multiple third-party RSS feeds,

[b] mix them together,

[c] filter your new mix using various keywords that you’re interested in,

[d] use the mix and your filters to create a new stream of content, pulling together all the content items from dozens or hundreds of other RSS feeds … but only the content items that match your filters.

You can now take this stream of content and either subscribe to it yourself, if for example you want to find out immediately what the market is saying about you, what it’s saying about your competitors, and what your competitors are doing themselves.

Or you can take this stream of content and display it on your website to:

[a] enrich the visitor experience, by giving them access to the latest and most relevant list of content from your field, such as the latest news in the field you are covering … and do so automatically;

[b] by doing so also making your website more search engine friendly, thus increasing your rankings.

But up until now doing all of this was quite complicated and really wasn’t accessible to most internet marketers.

But no longer so …

YAHOO! PIPES CHANGES THE LANDSCAPE

http://pipes.yahoo.com is the latest offering from Yahoo!, finally bringing the premise of NewsMastering to the mass market, and actually putting it on steroids.

The general idea behind Yahoo! Pipes is to allow its users to “easily” connect various internet data sources, mix them together in various ways, add additional functionality to them and create a new single output, pertaining directly to your settings.

While this may sound a lot like the standard RSS aggregation & filtering we mentioned above, it actually goes much further than anything on the market in enabling you to manipulate outside sources and come up with a new content output, all of this in a visual programming environment.

The “old services” simply allowed you to combine various RSS feeds, set some basic rules on how you want to get content from them, such as limiting the output to only the content items that match your keywords and removing duplicates, and get a new single RSS feed from them. You could then subscribe to this RSS feed in your RSS Reader (for business intelligence purposes) or use it to display its contents on your website.

But Yahoo! Pipes goes much further.

[BTW – in the Yahoo! Pipes glossary, a pipe is an output you create from mixing and manipulating various content sources]

[a] Aggregate and Filter any XML Feed

Aggregate any kind of XML feed, not just RSS, which means that if your application provides an XML data output, you can now aggregate that data feed with other different feeds you might be interested in, and create a single RSS feed that you can subscribe to in your RSS Reader. Just as an example, imagine having an RSS feed that brings you various data from your organization in a single output, such as the latest sales data from your webstore, latest account of company expenses, notifications of new employees, important team communications, your website visitor counts and so on. It even lets you combine other pipes into a new single pipe.

[b] Content Manipulation

Apply various filters, such as a keyword content filter to give you only the content you’re interested in, sort, count, truncate, join or even create your own filters. It even lets you add your own input fields. For example, you could create a pipe that aggregates all the RSS feeds from top online retailers, and include an input field that allows you to enter the name of the product you want the latest deals on, and then creates an on-the-fly output with the latest deals for this product. Essentially, it allows you to add simple or advanced search functionalities to filter out only the content you’re really interested in … from hundreds or even thousands of content sources.

[c] Social Applications

Browse through pipes created by other users to either use them as an end-user, or use their pipes to create your own new pipes. It of course also allows you to make your own pipes public and even provide them as a service to end-users.

There are really almost countless opportunities of what you can do with Yahoo! Pipes, and various new applications will surface when the service gets some milage.

The best part is, you can either create your own application that you use when the need arises from the Web, or an RSS feed that you subscribe to in your RSS Reader, to constantly deliver to you the content that you want. Or you can use the RSS feed to display that content on your website.

All of this is done through a visual interface, which might be daunting for the average user, but shouldn’t present a problem to marketers that either have the time to learn the ropes or pay a little something to a person that already has.

HOW MARKETERS WILL PROFIT

If you’re thinking of how you can profit from Yahoo! Pipes as a marketer, there really are countless opportunities.

[a] Provide highly relevant streams of content on your website to enrich the visitor experience.

[b] Become a preferred access point to relevant and latest content in your industry.

[c] Build applications that allow your visitors to easily access the content they’re interested in.

[d] Take your business intelligence activities to the next level.

And much much more …

With all the capabilities available through Yahoo! Pipes, countless new opportunities will certainly arise quickly.

The best part is, you can now more easily take advantage of them.

Pipe Markers Hit the Mark – Literally

You see them throughout buildings and facilities. Some sprout from the ground like great iron trees. Others jut through walls or hang from ceilings in confusing tangles, like poorly placed playground equipment. Long and short, narrow and wide, straight or curved these systems of transport are vital to the successful functioning of places as large as football stadiums and as small as a single-family bathroom. Of course, we are talking about plumbing. But, which pipe carries what and where does it originate or end? Is that fat pipe in the corner carrying water or sewage? Where is the natural gas pipe and how do I locate the shutoff valve during routine maintenance or in an emergency? With the application of a few well-placed pipe markers, identifying the many components of your plumbing system is a breeze.

A pipe marker is a pretty simple, but extremely important item. Basically, it is a label, decal or tag that is affixed to a pipe or pipe valve. There are several reasons for visually marking the pipes that run throughout your facility…

Simple Identification: The application of pipe markers allows your workers to quickly and easily identify the plethora of pipes in your facility. Chances are that your facility has in it any combination of pipes for hot & cold water, steam, gases, refrigerants, heating fuels, sewage waste, returns and many more.

Maintenance: Periodically replacing certain plumbing lines can help to prevent leakage and ruptures due to corrosive chemicals or residue buildup. Identifying and tracking the dates of maintenance is much easier when your pipes are clearly labeled with pipe markers.

Emergencies: Bad things can happen. Pipes can leak, freeze, break or rupture at any time. Harmful chemicals and gases run through pipes, and in the event of a leak of rupture, need to be identified and dealt with immediately. The use of pipe markers and valve tags allows maintenance workers or emergency personnel a quick way to identify the compromised pipe and take the appropriate actions.

Pipe markers and valve tags are made from various materials, including plastic, brass, stainless steel and others. It is important to choose the material that best withstands the particular environment in which it will be applied. Custom decals and wrap-around plastics are also available and it is simple to add your own numbers, letters and messaging. Choose the pipe marking solution that best meets the requirements of your business, warehouse or facility.

When Should I Re-pipe?

Re-piping is a hard decision that a lot of people think they can avoid. That probably isn’t the smartest decision to make when dealing with your home or business’s pipes. Below is some advice that will be able to help you know if it’s right for you to seek a plumber’s advice about possibilities of re-piping.

Pipes are usually supposed to last 25-50 years, depending on how you’ve maintained them. The first thing you should do is learn a little about general piping maintenance. This doesn’t mean that you need to know how to fix things, just how to take care of them.

Start by purchasing some general pipe cleaners. This could come in the form of liquid cleaners or some other specialized cleaning tools. Don’t think you need to clean them once a month. General inspections every few months will do.

Taking care of your pipes is the first step to making them last longer. What happens if you are already past that point? Here are some signs to look for that might indicate that you need an expert’s opinion; low pressure, if your water coming out a different color, if it has a bitter taste, if you have plumbing leaks.

The above were just a few signs that you just might need to re-pipe. But you still might be asking the question ‘why do I need to re-pipe? Can’t I just clean it or have someone else come in and do it for me?’ Well, sometimes we might choose to do that to save a little money but in the long run you might be doing just the opposite.

It’s important to re-pipe because not only will it make your water taste better and smell better, but you will also have the water pressure you desire. In the long run you can be spending more money just to have a plumber come more often just too finally tell you that you now have no other choice but to re-pipe. Re-piping can also add value to your home when you decide to sell.

If you choose not to re-pipe you may experience a burst in your pipes and then a flooding of your home. You would end up paying more money to re-furnish then if you would have just made the difficult decision to re-pipe your home.

If you are having concerns about your home or business piping, call a plumber you know and trust or have the qualifications that you are seeking. They will be able to help you see if you really need to re-pipe or if there are other options at the present that might be more beneficial to you.