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Is Google Watching You?

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of

Is Google watching you?  

A better question is, “Who isn't watching you?”  You hear about it in the news every day. The NSA is grabbing tons of consumer information without any legal authority. Weekly you hear about security breaches at large corporations like Target and other major department stores.  Banking institutions are being hacked for millions of dollars, yet billion of consumers are passively giving up their privacy to free email services, social network subscriptions and smart phone applications. Software applications have had "so-called" artificial intelligence installed since the late '90s. Word processors guess at what you mean while you type. Smartphones often do the same. What does all this mean to your privacy? This article will explore how the internet has removed most of your communications privacy. Now Google, social networks and the major software players all have their sites trained on what you're doing with the intention of getting more of your money. Worse of all, legions of criminals and even our own government is spying on all of us. So read on and learn. Forewarned is forearmed.

The Best of the Best in Internet Marketing - Events to Remember!

By Carl Weiss
With Christmas only a day away, that means that New Year’s Eve can’t be far behind.  So as a little something extra for your Christmas stocking I thought a little retrospective on some of the topics we covered this year would be in order. 

Our Top 10 List

Hector's the Connector’s Predicts Social Media changes for This Year and Beyond

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of

Social media has seen radical changes over the last three years. Their level of acceptance and use has Social networks now have the eyes and ears of billions of subscribers. The impact of organic search ranking is indisputable today. Also, its effect on product acceptance, adoption and loyalty has become so important that large companies are spending vast amounts of advertising money to create and measure its influence on their product sales and profitability. Cyber criminals are also taking advantage of this mass migration to social networks. My last two prediction articles have come in with a 95% accuracy rating and this year I am going out on a limb with a few of my prognostications. So read on and find out what I foresee the New Year will ring in for Social Networking in the year to come (including Facebook, Google+ LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest and Blogger).
exploded. Many of the top social networks are now monetized and have become publicly held companies.

Hector The Connector has Predicted Internet Marketing Evolution 98% of the Time & These Changes are Still Valid Today

By Hector Cisneros

A correct reading will be given
A correct reading will be given (Photo credit: ian.crowther)
Every year I make internet marketing predictions based on my research and intuition for the coming year. I have been right 98% of the time so far. 2013 proved to be a wild ride for businesses engaged in internet marketing. Social Media was a roller coaster of updates, upgrades and growth. Reputation management jumps to the forefront as businesses realize they are vulnerable to negative social press. Blogging and YouTube became mature services with widespread adoption taking place. A little birdie named Hummingbird shook up the search market significantly and many venerable household icons like TV news, and retail brick and mortar sales gave way to their digital counterparts. So if you think these events were out of this world wait till you see what's coming next year in 2014.

The Byte Before Christmas

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.
New-York Historical Society: Clement Clark Moo...
New-York Historical Society: Clement Clark Moore’s desk, on which it is believed that he wrote “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” (Photo credit: Chris Devers)

T'was the byte before Christmas,
When all through the house
Not  creature was stirring,
Not even the mouse.

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, let’s take a look at what is shaping up to be a very merry Internet Christmas in 2013.  So far this year Internet sales are up 19% over last year and 30% of those sales are attributed to mobile purchases. This is also the first time that brick and mortar sales are lower than the year before.

Can Google Cure Death, Disease and Aging?

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By Carl Weiss

Everyone knows that there only two things in life of which we can all be assured: Death and Taxes.  Now, one of the billionaires behind the world’s most popular search engine wants to take a crack at eliminating the first of these woes.  That’s right; Larry Page of Google has made it his stated goal to cure death.  With a war chest in the billions, I guess if anyone can take a legitimate crack at the Grim Reaper, he can. 

The Smartest Guys in the Room

By Carl Weiss
The Internet has without a doubt been one of the most important inventions ever created. When it comes to revolutionizing the way in which we perceive and operate in the world, it has created a major paradigm shift in all things human.  And like many inventions, the web was the result of the labor of many talented people.  Some of those people wound up being relegated to footnote status while others went on to become Internet icons.

Bringing Down the Bitcoin Bandits

By Carl Weiss
For more than a thousand years, the route known as the Silk Road was the major source of trade that connected East and West.  Delivering everything from Chinese silk to spices and precious gems, this trade route used everything from camels to wooden boats to create a web of commerce that covered the known world.  Two millennia later, this concept was reborn online in a web portal of the same name.  The chief difference is that while the digital Silk Road did indeed concern itself with connecting a worldwide web of virtual traders, these entrepreneurs did not deal in frankincense and myrrh, but in a cornucopia of contraband that openly advertised everything from cannabis to cocaine and firearms to forgeries.

How to Run a Facebook Contest for Free

Courtesy of

By Hector E Cisneros

Facebook has recently changed their rules on running an online contest. Now is the time to take advantage of week's episode of Working the Web to Win so that your next Facebook Contest is a winner for you! these new rules that allow you to create a contest without having to purchase additional services or 3rd party apps. If you want to grow your Facebook fan base, this article is a must read. What most other articles neglect to tell you is that there are some real pitfalls you have to avoid to keep your account from being suspended. Breaking Facebook’s “somewhat hidden rules” can really shake you up. This article will cover what has changed and what to watch out for, as well as giving you the pros and cons of implementing your contest with and without apps.  Finally, we will provide some examples and links to other articles to get you started. So read this blog and tune in on this 

The Scariest Stuff Online

Computer Security (Photo credit: Don Hankins
By Carl Weiss

Want to see something really scary? Well you don't have to prowl the streets on Halloween in order to see the kind of things that give you goose bumps. All you have to do is trawl the Internet's back-channels for an hour. Once there you will discover creepy crawlies galore, including a search engine designed for and by hackers, a black hat (not cat) convention in Las Vegas, and ghost sites that will creep you out. Below is our list of the top ten scariest sites on line.

Birth of the Bionic Man

Lee Majors
Cover of Lee Majors

By Carl Weiss

“Astronaut Steve Austin, a man barely alive.  But we can rebuild him.  We have the technology.”

Or so the story goes in the TV series starring Lee Majors that ran from 1974-1978.  The stuff of fiction in the 20th century, during the past few years many of the innovations portrayed in the original series have gone from science fiction to science fact.  There are now such things as prosthetic arms and hands with tactile
sense, rudimentary bionic eyes that help the blind see, and cochlear implants that help the deaf hear.  While we don’t yet have the ability to equip amputees with fully functional legs that can go from zero to sixty in five seconds, we can offer robotic exoskeletons that can help paraplegics regain the ability to walk on their own.  Plus there are other man/machine concepts that are either in the prototype phase or on the drawing board that can amp up the capabilities of us mere mortals.  In this week’s blog, we will take a look at these technologies, as well as the ramifications of enhanced human beings who will soon make Colonel Austin seem as antiquated as much of the technology of the 1970s.

Hummingbird is Nothing to Hum About!

Black-chinned Hummingbird -- Moab, Utah, USA
Black-chinned Hummingbird -- Moab, Utah, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have heard that Google recently released its latest algorithm update named Hummingbird.  This new algorithm hasn’t brought any smiles to advertisers faces. I haven’t seen anyone singing (or humming) Google’s praises since they announced the change. What I find interesting is that Google always seems to name its updates after cute little animals like pandas, penguins and now a hummingbird.  Meanwhile their effect on many websites is more like being attacked by lions and tigers.  That being said, what I have brought you today is a cold, hard look at when, why and how search engines of all kinds insist on playing games with all website owners and what you can do to keep ahead of changes that can leave you in the darkest regions of cyberspace.

How to Work the Web Gangnam Style

By Hector Cisneros
By hector Gangnam Style

The YouTube video, Gangnam Style went viral, catching the imagination of millions of people worldwide. As a marketing professional, I endeavor to understand why such marketing events happen. What is the special spark that makes a video, podcast or eBook go viral? Where does it all start? Who influences the play and the spread of your message? Does it all happen organically or is there some technique for propagating the spread. In this article, I will provide a number of useful tips as to why internet posts go viral. I will provide a list of elements that all viral posts have in common and I will provide you with a roadmap so that you can create your own viral post. Soon you too will be working the web Gangnam Style.

Maximizing the Plus in Google+ Brand Pages

Courtesy of
By Hector Cisneros

Do you use Google+? Are you using, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter for your business? If you are using any of these social networks, but not using Google+, you’re missing one of the biggest boats in the social networking ocean. The fact that Google Brand pages are tied into Google Search, Google Local and Google Maps, is crucial to your online marketing success  since they all contain the magic word “Google.” Google has 81% of search, this is reason enough for you to start utilizing Google+ Brand pages for your business. On top of that, it has in excess of 500 million subscribers.

Your Website - Lost in Cyberspace

 By Carl Weiss

Lost In Space Second Series.
Lost In Space Second Series. (Photo credit: Jimmy Big Potatoes)
Every time Google sneezes, the entire Internet comes down with a cold. Many websites fall off Page One  every time Google updates their search algorithms.  Because Google controls 82% of search, it is vital that you understand its likes and dislikes. You also need to know what  to do to bulletproof your web presence so that the next time an update occurs you won't be lost in cyberspace. The problem is that Google, like all other search engines, doesn't make it easy for webmasters and site designers to understand the rules of engagement.  This article will attempt to part the curtain and give you a look behind the scenes in order to show you what the wizard wants. 

Using Press Releases to Promote your Business

By Hector E. Cisneros
News story of the year award, 1943
News story of the year award, 1943 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in America and believe in freedom of the press, right? However, Did you know you can use free and low-cost press releases to gain search ranking, drive web traffic and find more customers? Do realize anyone can also use it to get others to tell their story and to spread that message to hundreds if not thousands of news outlets in as little as 24 hours? More importantly, you can use it to get a page one position in as little as 24 hours... Press releases not only build your brand, but it also raises your credibility to a whole new level. In this week's Working The Web To Win's blog, we will help you build your brand and gain more customers by using free and low-cost press release services to gain search page ranking.

In The Beginning

Press releases have been used since 1906 when Ivey Lee released a statement about a terrible train wreck that kills 50 people in Atlantic City. His news release set the tone for what is now used by millions of companies and thousands of news outlets the world over Press releases are a staple in
English: Photo of newspaper headline related t...
English: Photo of newspaper headline related to the Canoe River train crash of 1950 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
both convention and internet advertising. Wherever there are stories in print, you have an editor looking for new and attention-getting content to fill their news outlets. A press release is a news story designed to do two things. First, get your message out and second to attract reporters, editors, and writers so that they will do a “feature story” on your business. Today, press releases look more like feature stores and that is why so many of them fail.

Follow the Format 

Press releases follow a relatively strict format that is designed to make it easier for the editor to determine if your store is newsworthy. It needs to contain your pertinent contact information for your company, the news outlet, the release date, a short, factual and descriptive title, the intro paragraph and the body of your story, some boilerplate and then your contact information again. If you want to see more detailed examples, I suggest you read Marketing 101, Understanding Press Release. This article provides an excellent primer for a novice who wants to start writing his or her own press releases. Here is a sample press release format that I use. Most new services follow this format closely but there will be some minor variations. Remember to follow each news service's rule (for example magazines differ slightly from newspapers etc...). To get more detail on each element read the primer listed above. It provides a different perspective on how each element is used and why are important.

Sample Press Release Format

Your name or name of your company
Your address 
City, State, ZIP
Web address (if applicable) 

Media Contact Information: 

Name of contact (most likely, you)
Contact phone number
Contact email
Date of release 

Subtitle of Press Release (if there is one)

Primary paragraph. (Focused to the point. Why, What, Where, When, How)

First Paragraph - Body of Press Release (Provide more details add your credibility here)

Second paragraph - Body of Press Release. (Wrap up your story and reiterating your original point)

Third paragraph - Body of Press Release. (Add any additional information that may be helpful to the editor here)

-- MORE --
(Only use this if your release is longer than one printed page) 

 # # # 
(Otherwise, use the triple pound symbol to indicate the release is complete and there are no more pages) 

Note to editors: (Pertinent information that will not appear in the release)

Boilerplate Verbiage

This is standard information that appears on each and every press release that provides information about the company. It's usually no longer than a paragraph. 

Now that we have an example layout to follow, let’s start by going over some important tips. These tips are designed to make sure your press release is created on a sound footing. They are designed to get the editors and writer's attention and move them to take action.

Eight Important Tips

1. Identify your news angle. Why is this newsworthy? Is it tied to a current national, seasonal or local event? Is it related to a big move, a facility upgrade, and important executive hire? Are you donating funds to a charity, starting a contest or received a national, regional or local award? Did you launch a new product or service?

2. Make sure your opening is focused and to the point. When we say your opening, we mean the headline, the subheadline, and the opening paragraph. Don’t waste words, yet make sure your opening grabs their attention. Avoid sales speak and hype. Think, what why, when, where and how. Avoid cramming keyword or adding too many facts. However, keywords are important. Anytime you can use a keyword in your headline, it's a big plus.

3. Understand the journalistic point of view. Never forget that you’re writing to not only get your story just published but that you want a reporter to come back and do a feature story on your company. Your story not only needs to be factual, but it also needs to spark the journalist's curiosity to want more. It needs to imply there is a “lot more to the whole story."

4. The details are very important. Follow the press release format precisely. Make sure you don’t leave out any important contact information. Make sure your article is clean and grammatically correct. Have a competent human being proof and double proof your article. Nothing hurts your credibility like misspelled words and typos. Never send a preliminary version of your article to a news outlet.

5. Make sure you include factual statements that build your credibility. Never portray yourself in a negative light. All too often a writer will leave out important information that explains why they are qualified to tell this story. If you don’t know how to do this then hire a writer to make it happen. 

6. Make sure you quote yourself in the press release. This adds a personal element that editors and journalist are looking for. The human angle can set you apart from the hundreds of articles sitting on that editor’s desk. Editors and journalist love underdogs. Show them how you overcame all odds to be successful. This one element may be why they pick your story.

7. Use your company letterhead for the press release. This adds a touch of professionalism and at the same time provides pertinent information the editor needs. This does not mean to leave out your information as stated in the sample press release. It is extra icing for the editor’s use. If you don’t have letterhead, get some. It’s very inexpensive.

8. Make sure you’re easily accessible. Provide a phone number that either you will answer, or will be answered by someone who will portray you in a positive and professional light. This means your voice mail message needs to be professional. If a family member answers in your stead make sure they are expecting such calls and you have briefed them on what to say. Whenever possible provide a separate business line for these calls. You can get a Google voice number free and have it forwarded to your cell phone. When using Google voice you will always know that this is a business call. When using your cell phone, use a professional greeting to answer your calls.

Water Lily (steamer Puget Sound) news story
Water Lily (steamer Puget Sound) news story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Does this sound like a lot of work for you so far? Are you starting to feel that this is a daunting task? Fear not, there are many companies out there that can help. Most agencies will produce and publish press releases. We do them at our firm all as part of integrated campaigns. However, there are many free and low-cost press release companies providing a wide range of services that do a great job. Here is a list of companies that are we recommended. Each has its own strengths, weaknesses and price structure. We suggest you check them out to decide which of their features suit your needs and budget best.

Companies That Can Help - This is a free press release website. It allows three text links. They distribute your press releases to several news sites and search engines. They are an online distribution service for press release submission. - This free site allows five text links or URLs. Their membership is free and you can use RSS feeds with their service. You can even create keyword alerts via email for the specific news category. - They are considered the best for SEO traffic. They have a wide variety of packages available and reach from hundreds to thousands of outlets. Pricing varies depending on the service you chose. - They are a low-cost alternative often used by small business who can’t afford the big-ticket press release service. Prices vary depending on the distribution channel. -This company allows for eight URLs or text links in your article. They also offer RSS feeds and you can add news to your website. 24-7 also offers other press release resources, such as press writing tips, press writing, formatting codes and more. Their service is great if you want help making sure your articles formatted correctly and written properly and SEO enhanced as well as proofread. - This company’s price depends on which distribution channel you choose. They also charge per text link. They optimize news for search engines, focusing on creating website traffic compared to the other in this list. Their solution offers distribution for all kinds of organizations. This includes small businesses, public interest, and nonprofit organizations. - This company requires that your story has a news angle. It allows 8 text links in your story however; your release must be newsworthy. They publish all press releases on their site. They also send the more worthy ones to their partner’s press release websites. You can start out with a simple monthly subscription that can cancel it at any time. Their pricing options are for a fixed number of releases chosen per month. Finally, they also offer a Clipwire Trademark service, a publication report providing proof of your article being published. - This company also allows eight text links per article. They guarantee effective online media exposure can boost your search engine visibility. They offer both monthly and prepaid plans and they only charge $79 for submitting a single press release. They also offer social media sharing to increase website traffic. They provide excellent customer support and have features that help track your results. You can schedule when you want your press release to be submitted. - They allow eight text links per story. Their prices vary and offer two options: single press release or unlimited press releases. They can access an impressive database of outlets, which includes radio, television stations, daily magazines, and many other web media outlets. They also offer a picture gallery with sharing features, more than 200 social media sites, bookmarking sites and manual SEO links to the website.

In this article, I discussed how press releases got started, how they are used, and their primary purpose. We have also included a sample press release format for the reader to follow, links to other articles, eight very important tips to follow and a list of press release companies that can help any business regardless of what level of help they need. If you found this article useful, please pass it on to your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment, please place it in the comment section below.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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Using Text Message Magic to Drive Traffic

Image result for text messages
Courtesy of
By Hector E Cisneros

Most people don’t want you to text and drive but did you know that you can drive web traffic with a text message! You can also sell products, announce events, deliver promo codes and other special offers. However, there are lots of pitfalls, technical issues and even laws that you have to navigate in order to be successful. Join us this week as we dive into the depths of Text Messaging Magic for your business.

In this article, I want to lay out several fundamentals every business needs to follow if they are planning to be successful at Text Message Marketing. I will break the article into two segments. The first is a brief overview of what is text messaging and why a business should be using text messaging for business advertising. The second segment will cover best practices for maximizing your campaign results.