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All flights cancelled because of volcano: how can you help?

16 April 2010 BY

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Europe has been ‘hit’ with a natural disaster this week. In Iceland a volcano burst leaving not only about 700 people homeless, it also left people stranded all over Europe with flights being canceled all over the continent.

As you can expect this event has been discussed all over the Internet. Several websites are down, others (like the Schiphol airport) have put up a plain html page because they can’t handle the traffic. A lot of activity on the web, all for a sad reason. The information people are looking for is also very difficult to filter and to find out the right answers to your questions. A quick look around the web also showed that not many are actually using the situation for their own benefit. Is it because its not ‘decent’? Or are many out there just not paying attention?

Lets take a look at a few opportunities which you have to gain from the situation and how you can help those looking to go home at the same time.

1: Set up a page with information

A search for “information on flight cancellations” shows us that most of the sites which show up are the actual airport sites and a couple of flight-sites. Where is the site which just gets all the information from different sites and puts them on page? With any luck you’ll rank on it pretty quickly and if not, there’s always Adwords.

2: Ads next to searches

Which takes me to the second possibility. It is striking that not more sites which have related information (like alternative travel opportunities) are advertising on the important keywords here. There are many people wanting to go home and willing to use alternative travel ways like trains and boats. They will look for any possibility, why aren’t you there? A search for “Frankfurt airport closed” only shows one sponsored link here in Holland, the one from NSHiSpeed offering train traveling to Frankfurt. Those guys were thinking!

3: Twitter and real time search

Twitter is one of the best places to be looking for information on current events. And so it is in this case. Unfortunately the Local trending topics are down at the moment but be sure ‘flights’ or anything related would have been trending in many areas in Europe. Using Twitter will get you loads of traffic. If you have that information site (or information on your own site for that matter) any link to it will probably get you a lot of clicks. And off course with loads of people tweeting about it you will show up in the real time search results in both Bing and Google.

These are just three ways of making use of the current events in your own benefit. The question then remains: is this decent? Well, why not? Looking at the web right now there are not many acting on it. In fact, if you put up this information you are actually helping out those desperately trying to get home because to be honest, the information which is out there now is difficult to filter out.

These ways off course are not only related to the current events. It is surprising how little some people ‘use’ current events. A European cup final, a specific conference even, you can really use these events for your own benefit, as long as you make sure you look at the opportunities.

Finally, if you happen to own a bus: maybe a trip from Amsterdam to Berlin will get you some guests on board, if you play your cards right ;).

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.

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