Thursday, June 17, 2010

League of American Orchestras Conference, Day 1

IMS Marketing Director Keith Hoffman and I are attending the League of American Orchestras Conference in Atlanta through Friday. We arrived last evening and attended a post-concert reception at the Woodruff Arts Center.

IMS is a sponsor of the conference and a big supporter of the Arts. This is an industry that seems to feel that it's lost its way just a bit, as performing arts organizations struggle to maintain their audiences in a tough economy and continue to compete for market share against the ever-growing options for entertainment dollars.

The reception certainly did not have the feel of an industry in the doldrums. More than 1000 people packed two large rooms of the art center, many of them very formally dressed, enjoying great food, catching up with old friends, and of course, taking in some live music. A jazz quartet played in one room, and a big band in the other. The mood was pure party joy, late into the evening.

Obviously this is a music-oriented group, but the performances, earlier by the Atlanta Symphony and Symphony Chorus, and later at the reception, helped reinforce that there is no substitute for live music. For both performers and listeners, it's a part of the human experience that cannot be replaced by your iPod. Supporting and enjoying live music and musicians is good for you and for our culture.

That's the reason orchestras are in business, of course, and it's one of the reasons they will stay in business. The challenge for them is helping all of us remember that. They must continue to attract new audiences, and at the same time, find other ways to connect with their customers so that live symphony orchestra music remains relevant in our plugged-in world.

The conference sessions start today, and it will be interesting to see if the positive mood continues. A quick browse of the session titles certainly gives the impression of an industry in transition, if not a bit of panic.

How does IMS relate to all of this? We hope our Web solutions can help orchestras of all sizes compete, stay relevant, save money and present themselves in the best possible way. And for many, the Web is and will be the way they will transform themselves to continue to thrive.

Mark Clear, IMS CEO

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Well That's Good, Because We're Not Web Designers

Earlier this week, our CEO Mark Clear got a call from a friend of the company. After Googling us for a bit to find our phone number, his first comment was "Did you know you don't show up in Google results as web designers?" Well to us, that's a good thing.

However, it told us that there is still some confusion about what it is we do at IMS.

We Are Not Web Designers
We hold great web designers in very high regard. We just don't do what they do. Our focus is the Neptune Web Content Management platform and helping customers integrate existing IT applications into their websites. We've worked with external websites, intranets, and extranets. We build the software that makes integration possible, while:
  • giving business users the ability to manage content in all its forms (audio, video, forms, events, etc.)
  • allowing Administrators extensive control over authoring and design, and
  • offering IT a platform for growth.
Over the years, we've worked with many talented web designers. Too many to list completely. But rest assured, we know quite a few, and we're pretty sure you do too. Our platform makes it easy for designers to translate their art into a fully functional, good looking website.

So if you're looking for web design, we can certainly help you find someone.

If you're looking for a flexible, reliable content management platform that can grow with you, that's the Neptune Web Content Management platform.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Calendar Extra Added to Neptune

We've added a simple Calendar Extra which allows you to show links to events, one month at a time. The events are displayed in an AJAX popup window when you mouse over a date that has events. An event has a date, time (plain text), sort order (for more than one event on the same day), title, description and URL to turn the title into a link. It's all style-customizable, as usual.

If you'd like to see a live example, take a look at If you're interested in firing up a calendar on your site, drop IMS a line and we'll get you started.

Note: this extra has a corresponding RSS feed. You can display a linked RSS image in the events window by putting the image as a background.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Webcast - Copyright Law, Social Media, and the Internet

Below is the archived Webcast "Copyright Law, Social Media, and the Internet" featuring Rob Petershack of Axley Brynelson, LLP.

We'd be happy to answer any questions right here on the blog.

Watch live streaming video from imsmadison at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Live Stream of Tonight's Madison Public Meeting on Google Fiber

The City of Madison will hold a public meeting on the City's application for Google Fiber on Thursday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Olbrich Gardens. IMS will use LiveStream to broadcast this event on the Internet. #Madfiber

Tune in right here to watch. Broadcast starts at 7:00 p.m.

imsmadison on Broadcast Live Free

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - A Twitter Platform Anyone Can Download has just recently launched a BETA release of their micro blogging software. This platform provides Twitter like micro blog functionality. Rather having to host your micro blog on Twitter, you can download the software and run it on your own servers. Now comes word that will also offer the platform as a hosted solution.

One of the really interesting features of the platform is the Ostatus functionality. Ostatus allows you to follow people on other social networks, say Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin. You can also push information from your environment to these locations.

Having one interface to manage your social media interactions certainly sounds attractive. However, it is important to consider that what someone expects on these different social media sites will vary.

Regardless, it's an interesting product that could streamline how people use and manage their social media interactions.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Follow up on SEO Article

A few months ago, I published the article Getting Started with Search Engine Optimization. Based on some of the feedback I received, I decided to add a few practical tips as a supplement to this article.

First, feel free to contact me directly with any and all questions as you read through this. I'm just dorky enough to find this stuff fascinating.

Below are a few things you can try to improve search engine rankings.

1. Submit Any New Site for Indexing

For any new site, be sure to submit it to Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You could wait on them to spider your site and index your content, but I recommend being proactive here.

You should be able to visit each of these links and type in your website.

2. Use Alt Tags for All of Your Images

Search engines cannot read images. They can only read text. Because of that, it is very important to include the 'alt' tag with descriptive text for every image. An 'alt' tag ties descriptive text to the picture itself. This text is displayed in a browser as the picture loads, and can also be seen if you roll over an image. This is also what Google uses to locate pictures in their image search.

Existing images may read like the following example (don't forget to add the '<'): img src="" / Here is the image with the alt tag: img src="" alt="IMS Neptune Web CMS" /

3. Use Keywords for Links
When linking to your site, use your keywords in the link text. Phrases like "Learn More" or "Click Here" actually hurt your search rankings since those phrases are associated with your website address.

Instead, use the keywords you want associate with your site for any links you create.

What About You?
Have you employed any of these tips for your website? What has worked for you?