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Archive for May, 2012


Now THIS is cool. My brother Fernando Varela singing with the great Lionel Richie and David Foster. Live. Unrehearsed. Amazing.

The following video (10 minutes in length) is a career gem for Fernando, who has recently been performing with Foster to outstanding reviews and results.  The best moment of this video is seeing Richie’s genuine admiration of Fernando’s talents, as well as seeing Fernando totally understand that he is singing with Lionel Flipping Richie! They sing “Stuck on You” from Richie’s new duets album, and then Fernando brings the house down with “Nessum Dorma.”

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In one year, LatinoRebels.com, an independent media page founded by 20 other individuals (including myself), has outpaced other more established mainstream Latino media pages as well as several independent Latino online pages. We agree 100% that the Latino digital space is a growing and untapped market, and the fact that several pages are beginning to hit a sweet spot when it comes to traffic and unique visitors should serve a call to brands and organizations that are trying to capitalize on a market that has become digitally savvy and influential. Conferences like LATISM and Hispanicize are taking the lead in communicating this message to the mainstream and we welcome all pages that are creating and curating what was once an underserved market.

So far, according to our own Google Analytics, LatinoRebels.com has achieved the following traffic on a shoestring budget and with a social media strategy that spans several platforms (we are active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, G+, Tumblr, Storify, and Instragram) for our different niche markets: 303,131 visits, 239,094 unique visitors, 432,598 pageviews, and 78.79% new visitors, with 21.21% returning visitors. Since January 1, 2012, LatinoRebels has gotten 238,806 visits, 183,204 unique visitors, 342,571 pageviews, which if we average out for all of 2012, would are anticipating the following 2012 yearly traffic: 576,000 visits, 445,000 unique visitors, and 834,000 pageviews. That would result is an 900% increase in yearly traffic between 2011 and 2012. In addition, our current visitors spend an average of 1:07 minutes on our site per visit. Even though social media helps us to get more readers to our site, the goal of our company is to highlight our main site and share stories and content we feel is relevant to our community.

This past April, according to Compete.com (which works of a sample of 2 million Internet user profiles in the United States only), LatinoRebels gained more unique US visitors (12,234 measured on April 20) than the following English-language Latino media and cultural sites:: NBC Latino (12,181 UVS), Univision News (7,612 UVS), News Taco (9,929 UVS), Being Latino (10,127 UVS), Pocho.com (2,992 UVS), Voxxi (11,340 UVS), and Remezlca (7,033 UVS). Our current Compete.com ranking is 129,171 in the US and we saw a 74.50% increase in our UVS for the US in April. FYI, the most successful independent Latino media page we came across on Compete was Hispanically Speaking News with an impressive 47,384 UVS for April.

Besides Google Analytics and our own WordPress analytics (our SlimStats since May 6, 2012 have listed 99,859 hits to our site—search engines, bots, and humans combined—with 12,522 unique IPS in the span between May 6-May 19). This data slice confirms that our current unique human traffic according to our own internal stats averages about 30,000 uniques with about 50,000 pageviews (Our content and stories in March still had us at 50,000 uniques and 100,000 pageviews) per month in 2012 right now.

Another tool that partners and our clients use to measure us is Alexa. We don’t think Alexa is the end all and be all of traffic (and you need to enhance its data with your own internal data), but it is an industry standard used by many to “check you out.” As of today, May 20, 2012, our current Alexa ranking is as follows: 163,009 of all the Alexa-tracked web pages in the world and 39,698 in the US. We have accomplished this in a span on just one year and 20 days. In the last three months, our Alexa traffic has increased 150% although this past month we have seen a dip in traffic (blame it on the good spring weather).

Compared to other similar sites, LatinoRebels.com can definitely say that it is one of the top Latino media pages in the world. Here is where we stand with other sites:

MAY 20, 2012 Alexa Rankings (by GLOBAL RANKINGS)

  1. Hispanically Speaking News: 55,509 global, 13,380 US
  2. Voxxi: 105,501 global, 30,620 US
  3. Remezcla: 143,043 gloval, 26,263 US
  4. Latino Rebels: 163,009 global, 39,698 US
  5. Being Latino: 247,612 global, 48,184 US
  6. Latism: 269,282 global, 41,566 US
  7. NBC Latino: 315,389 global, 66,316 US
  8. Univision News: 324,654 global, 84,597 US
  9. Hispanicize: 330,208 global, 86,204 US
  10. Pocho.com: 481,821 global, 110,355 US
  11. News Taco: 568,719 global, 166,033 US

Again, this is just a sample of some pages that are part of our daily Latino online universe. We don’t list this ranking as a competition, but instead to put the context of where Latino Rebels stands within this world. In the end, having ALL Latino-themed pages doing well (and many are) is a great thing. However, this data confirms that Latino Rebels is getting the traffic, and even after our explosive growth of early 2012, we have been able to sustain our traffic and we have become a viable destination page for readers who are looking for US Latino content and information on a global level.

We have yet to truly dive into the product branding world, since we like our independent streak and our ability to control our own destiny, but we do welcome any dialogue with any group, brand, or organization that thinks our page’s vibe and content is of value to them. Quite frankly, if the fit is right, we will be more than happy to share stories, content, ideas, profiles, etc. that speak to the growing world of the US Latino digital space.

Finally, we believe that our group has the savvy and expertise to help anyone, both Latino-themed brands and non-Latino ones. In less than 13 months, we literally went from 0 to becoming one of the top Latino pages (and now pages) in the world. We do it a bit differently than others, but we can assure you that we will deliver. Just look at the numbers. They don’t lie.

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From first glance, you would think that the recent news of Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate dipping under 15% for the first time since May, 2009 (US Dept of Labor) would be good news for incumbent Republican and pro-statehood governor Luis Fortuño (although it is still in double digits). In a tough re-election campaign, he can begin to let people know that the island is slowly creeping out of four years of recession and he can do fluff interviews on FOX to state his case.

Yes, in April 2012 Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate (see image) was at 14.8%. However, look at the numbers. Really look at the numbers on this chart and you will see a different story: for all his talk about economic growth (new Walmarts!), cutting public sector jobs and making government leaner and meaner, Puerto Rico is actually losing jobs public sector jobs in Puerto Rico continue to be one of the island’s industries that is growing.

Here is the data that one should consider, based on official statistics from the US Department of Labor:

  • From March to April, the Puerto Rican labor force decreased by 11,000 workers. In March, the labor force was at 1, 285,500. In April, it was at 1,274,500. In February, the labor force was at 1,291,400. So, from February to April, the Puerto Rican labor has decreased by 2%.
  • Because the labor force is shrinking, Puerto Rico actually had a net decrease in total number of jobs in April, but still say the April unemployment rate go down by .02%. In April, there were 1,086,400 employed Puerto Ricans. In March, that number was 1,092,100. So about 6,000 jobs were lost but the unemployment rate went down. In February, the total number of jobs were at 1,097,400, which means that about 11,000 jobs were lost even though the unemployment rate is going down. Where are these jobs going? Who is leaving the island? Young talent. The labor force of Puerto Rico is shrinking.
  • In addition, the public sector continues to be one of the island’s top sources of employment. In April, there was a reported 270,800 government jobs. In March, that number was at 269,100 and in February it was at 269,200. In January, the jobs were at 271,300. This sector continues to trend up.

The date presents other gains, like construction, but they are offset bu industries like trade, transportation, and utilities. In the end, the talk of a Puerto Rican miracle are a bit premature, because the labor data shows that people are just giving up or leaving the island’s labor force. Less people, less jobs, and a drop in unemployment. That is one way to fix your problems, although we don’t know if it is the best way.

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What planet is FOX’s John Stossel on? This weekend, Stossel had Republican and pro-statehood Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño on to discuss the “economic miracle” or Puerto Rico. Stossel proudly stated in his fluff interview with Fortuño that the Puerto Rican economy was growing due to Fortuño’s austerity measures.

The fact that Stossel didn’t even address the fact that Puerto Rico under the Fortuño administration has been stuck at double-digit unemployment with a shrinking labor force is an issue with his lack of journalism. Just create a more balanced view the next time and stop the overhyping. Basic fact checking could take you far.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Puerto Rico’s GDP in 2010  was -5.8%(the last recorded year, which was worse than the island -3.7% in 2009, which was worse that the island -2.5% in 2008).

As the CIA says:

Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region, however, growth has been negative for the past four years, and unemployment has risen to nearly 16% in 2011. The industrial sector has surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Mainland US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government.

Also this graph shows that the island’s GDP has been going down since 2005.

Another financial analysis by an independent group states the following:

The official PR Planning Board macroeconomic forecast for 2012 estimate a modest recovery of less than 1%.  US Stimulus funds received in 2008-2010 in the amount of $4.8BN have led to an increase in Personal Income within a period of reduction in GDP, exports, investment and credit concession.
Our main concern is that given high and increasing levels of debt, prolonged structural recession, reduction in pharmaceutical exports due to patent expiration and need to strengthen the banking system and credit flows while addressing real estate loan portfolios and market price adjustments, US financial regulatory institutions, private sector leaders and the Government of Puerto Rico need to aspire to and implement a comprehensive and high quality policy strategy, focusing on integrated macroeconomic, fiscal and financial system performance and proposing changes in structural impediments to optimal investment, labor market participation, reductions in operational costs and improved human capital investment returns.
Puerto Rico’s economy is climbing out of its marathon recession at a slighter quicker pace than expected this year.
That was the word Thursday from the Planning Board, which said the economy is on pace to grow by a modest 0.9 percent during fiscal 2012. That is narrowly ahead of the agency’s earlier estimate of 0.7 percent for the year, which ends June 30.
The upturn will mark the first annual growth in Puerto Rico’s economy since the onset of the local recession in 2006.
Puerto Rico’s economy contracted 1 percent in fiscal 2011 after shrinking 3.8 percent in fiscal 2010, 4 percent in fiscal 2009, 2.9 percent in fiscal 2008 and 1.2 percent in fiscal 2007, according to Planning Board numbers.
The island economy was last on positive footing in fiscal 2006, when it posted 0.5 percent growth, down from 1.9 percent the previous year.
The Planning Board said Thursday it expects the economic rebound to gain ground in fiscal 2013, projecting growth to edge up to 1.1 percent.
“We have seen the light at the end of the tunnel for some time,” Planning Board President Rubén Flores Marzan said. “But now we are essentially pulling out of the tunnel.”
So basically, the irony of all this is that Fortuño will take any sliver of good news spin, just like President Obama. The fact remains: Puerto Rico has been in the NEGATIVE for years. Any “growth” would be still keep you in a historical negative place. The challenge is true economic transformation that is bipartisan and works for everyone on the island. Let’s put the FOX NEWS pom-poms away. Fortuño’s legacy will be mixed, if that. All we ask is for better and true accountability, a true no-spin zone.
Will voters see the whole picture of the Puerto Rican economy? Will it be enough for another four more years of Fortuño? That is the question.

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There is journalism and then there is fluff.

FOX’s “STOSSEL” show is fluff. One-sided agenda journalism at its worst.

Republican and pro-statehood Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño, the incumbent who is trailing in polls to an opponent who has his own issues, is trying to put a spin on an economic situation on the island as he runs for re-election. Strategy #1: Get on a show where you get the most softball of questions from a supposed journalist. As for John Stossel? Try asking actual factual questions, like: Why is your island still stuck at 15% unemployment? Why is your labor force shrinking? Why is public sector employment still growing? If you are so popular, why are you not leading in the polls, even though you claim that you and your opponent are “dead even?” And why are young people leaving the island for jobs in the United States? Also, Fortuño should take credit for one thing: cutting taxes since the rate in Puerto Rico was actually much worse than the mainland, so all he did was bring it down to US levels. So, basically, it is not like Fortuño cut taxes to levels that are favorable. Sure, taxes in Puerto Rico were high, how hard was it to lower it to levels that match the US?

And why should you need facts to tell your story when you are running for re-election as an incumbent and losing in the polls?

To the Fortuñistas, the following video is the central focus on their re-election campaign. To the rest of Puerto Rico, it is a sham. And Stossel? Do some more homework about Puerto Rico, and stop pretending that you are all of a sudden an expert about it.

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UPDATE: As of May 14, around 10PM EST, the Por Puerto Rico 2012 page is now up and running.

Does the 2012 campaign team for Puerto Rico’s incumbent Republican and pro-statehood governor Luis Fortuño having issues with its website? Tonight around 10:15 EST, a simple search off the governor’s Facebook site lists Por Puerto Rico 2012 as the Fortuño’s official campaign page.

Once you click on that site, you get this: “Your website is ready. This site has been successfully created and is ready for content to be added. Replace this default page with your own index page.”

The same site is referenced on the New Progressive Party’s official site, and the same thing happens. You would think that in the middle of a tough election this year, Fortuño 2012 might want to double-check where it is taking people interested in what his campaign is saying. Or maybe not.

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At the end of this post, you will find Month 3 for Latino-themed Facebook pages and their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE). Like we said last month:

When we first posted last month about the importance of engagement over numbers when it comes to Facebook pages for organizations and brands, our intent was to offer a sampling of the thousands of Latino-themed Facebook pages out there. The list was no way near exhaustive, and like we said last month, if you are a page that would like to be added to the list, just post your link below in the comments section and add it.

Before we share the latest list, just a quick reminder that this is all about engagement. The goal is to ensure that you achieve the maximum results in the number of likes that you have on a consistent basis, since the more people are talking about you, the better your chances are at establishing real relationships and getting more interest in your online content and properties.

Also, we should ALL strive to be like the Facebook page of George Takei, the KING OF FACEBOOK. Look at his latest numbers: 1,799,194 likes · 870,791 talking about this (that is a 48.3 FLOE).

This month, we decided to just list the Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE) percentages. Of course, many pages have a lot of likes but imagine if you are one of those pages and you can push your FLOE over 15%? 20%? 30%? These FLOE percentages are all based on real-time stats taken this morning, May 10. We also decided to make one master list, and encourage other brands and organizations to pass on their Facebook links to us so we can add you the the June list. Why are we doing this? Here are our reasons:

  1. We want to start curating a master list of Latino-themed Facebook pages.
  2. We want to see if all these pages can achieve a consistent FLOE of 15%. Once that happens, imagine the possibilities.
  3. Don’t just work to get the numbers, once you have the numbers, curate content that will have people talking about your page. With greater numbers, you have a greater chance of engaging people and having people sharing your content on Facebook organically.
Ok, here is the May list. (Full disclosure: Latino Rebels is my organization.) And like we said, Facebook is just one part of your strategy, it is not THE strategy. The key is always about your main content hub and how a place like Facebook can get you more engaged followers and loyalists.

May’s Sampling of Latino Facebook Pages and Their Facebook Level of Engagement (FLOE)

  1. Mamiverse: 57.6%
  2. Cosmo for Latinas: 51.2%
  3. Pocho.com: 26.0%
  4. Latino Rebels: 19.6%
  5. So Mexican: 18.3% (136,000+ people talking about it)
  6. American Latino Museum: 12.3% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  7. NBC Latino: 12.1%
  8. VOXXI: 11.2%
  9. Despierta América: 10.3% (over 9,000 people talking about it)
  10. HuffPost Latino Voices: 10.1%
  11. Being Latino: 9.9%
  12. The Big Tino: 8.3%
  13. Gozamos: 7.9%
  14. Primer impacto: 6.8% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  15. Somos Verizon Fios: 6.7%
  16. Voto Latino: 5.8%
  17. Univision News: 5.8%
  18. Vitera: 5.8%
  19. Hispanicize: 5.3%
  20. Latina: 5%
  21. Pa’lante Latino: 5.0%
  22. Remezcla: 4.8%
  23. Cuéntame: 4.6%
  24. Es el momento: 4.5%
  25. Telemundo: 4.4% (over 11,000 people talking about it)
  26. Mun2: 4.4%
  27. Immigrant Archive Project: 4.3%
  28. News Taco: 4.1%
  29. Sofrito for Your Soul: 4.1%
  30. Univision: 3.8% (over 15,000 people talking about it)
  31. National Council of La Raza: 3.6%
  32. El Diario NY: 3.5%
  33. Hispanically Speaking News: 3.1%
  34. People en español: 2.9%
  35. Fox News Latino: 2.4%
  36. Calle 13: 2.2% (over 25,000 people talking about it)
  37. El Gordo y la Flaca: 2.1%
  38. Mexican Word of the Day: 1.5% (over 19,000 people talking about it)
  39. National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts: 1.1%
  40. Latinos in Social Media: .004%

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