Can Competitors Harm Your Business With Impunity Online?

Check out our BlogTalkRadio Show here.
By Carl Weiss

Online Monitoring
Online Monitoring (Photo credit: Imooty)
Everybody knows the Internet marketing is just one big popularity contest.  He who has the most links and the best reviews wins, right?  Well what happens when the competition doesn't play fair?  How can unscrupulous competitors tarnish your
online reputation and what can you do about it?  In this article we will show you some of the black hat techniques used by underhanded competitors.  We will also talk about what recourse, if any, you have as a business owner. We will also talk about what you need to do in order to police your online reputation, as well as how you can fight back to keep your good name from being dragged through the mud.

So, you worked long and hard to build your reputation and your business.  Years of planning and tens of thousands of dollars have gone into building your brand.  You have achieved a level of trust among your customers that is beyond reproach.  Or so you think.  But all of that can be undone with the click of a mouse by a disgruntled employee, dissatisfied customer or by a wily competitor.  

A Borg in Every Boardroom - Cyber Augmentation for All

By Hector Cisneros

Have you noticed all the new cybernetic devices coming out lately? Prosthetic legs that allow you to run faster than normal, artificial eyes and ears that “see and hear”! Add to this the augmentation for our regular senses, our strength and our ability to use avatars for remote sensing plus do work. Do we have a brave new world just over the horizon or is it here already! If you’re wondering if there is an upgrade in your near future, read on and find out if there is a Borg in every Boardroom – Cyber Augmentation for all!

"Star Trek" Comes to Life
Star Trek Crew
Star Trek Crew (Photo credit: JoshBerglund19)
Being a big "Star Trek" fan, I am always amazed at all the wonderful inventions we see coming to life that were first envisioned in the popular TV and motion picture series. Recently my partner and I wrote about how cell phones can trace their history to the communicator from the first series and how 3D printing is the precursor to the creation of the replicator that also debuted on that series. But the most  interesting of all the "Star Trek" episodes was the Borg. It was frightening,  exciting  and predictive all at once. These episodes made the phrase “resistance is futile” and every day saying!

What augmentation would you like to have when you attend your next board meeting. Maybe a built-in recorder so you don’t have to take notes. A cranial implant that provides PowerPoint projections and lets you read emails and view videos will your in attendance. So what does all this have to do with internet marketing and online commerce? Plenty! These augmentations are taking place now. The medical industry and healthcare our our country's biggest expense, next to defense. 

Star Date 2013, Cyber Augmentation is in Full Bloom

Trekkie as a Borg
Trekkie as a Borg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The year is, Star Date 2013 and we already have hundreds of cybernetic augmentations being peddled online. One of the world’s largest corporation (Google) is spearheading a new means of cybernetic communications called Glass. Private citizens (even teenagers) are building their own cybernetic limb replacements with a 3D printer. Hearing implants are common place. Rush Limbaugh salvaged his radio career by having his hearing restored with a cochlear implant several years ago. Cybernetic eyes are already in experimental use. We have had pacemakers to control heart function for many years. Artificial Hearts have been in use for a number of years and are used to bridge the gap between transplant surgeries. We regularly replace joints (knees, hips, shoulder etc.…, tendons, bones, teeth, skin, hair and so on. We have devised implants to stimulate parts of the brain to control epilepsy, hunger, and even sex drive. The military is already using many types of remote sensing, enhance body defences and augmented battle weapons to help soldiers survive the battles.

Amazing and True
Some of the most amazing new comers to cyber augmentation are: computer controlled prosthetic limbs that help people to walk with cybernetic legs (check out ReWalk, developed and designed in Israel) or pick up objects with cybernetic arms and hands, all controlled by the wearer's own muscle movements and thoughts. Scientist are even working on creating a cloaking device to make the wearer invisible.

Google Glass and Future Health 25824
Google Glass and Future Health 25824 (Photo credit: tedeytan)
Right now most of the cybernetic ear implants are designed to help people regain hearing loss. But hearing enhancement devices have been used by hunters and soldiers for many years. The next step will be implanting augmented hearing that’s permanently in your head. 

Cybernetic eyes are on their way. We have been using many forms of vision enhancement for years. We have all kinds of telescopes, microscopes, binoculars, glasses, light filtering devices, night vision goggles and cameras. Now Google has married a computer to many of those devices and created Google Glass, a wearable computer that augments vision,  memory and thought,  just like the computer at your desk. We use computers as extensions of our mind and bodies. They allow us to reach out and touch the world, through the use of internet, software and recorded content. It won’t be long before people start implanting cybernetic eye enhancements (like Jordie had in Star Trek) to do the same thing.

Here is a list of interesting articles covering many amazing cybernetic devices in use today:

The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL).
The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL). (Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery)
'Organ-on-a-chip' microdevices to evaluate therapies for lethal radiation exposure (8/14/2013) -These tiny implants are used to test various drugs for radiation sickness. Robotic intubation prototype crawls to the lungs in difficult situations (8/11/2013) - This device is used to intubate the patient's lung to help reduce injury.  Heart pump with behind-the-ear power connector (8/9/2013) - This device will allow the wearer to stimulate the heart without adding to potential infection of the abdomen.  A 3D printed cybernetic ear that even a transhumanist would love  -A 3D printer replacement ear that works!   This is what it’s like to shake hands with the future - Imagine a prosthetic arm and hand that is close in function to a human hand. A Brain Implant That Treats Severe Eating Disorders - For those who have trouble dieting,  an implant that curbs your appetite! A Battery That Allows Electronics and Implants To Stretch Along With It - Imagine wearing a flexible power supply that can keep your devices powered up for a week. Now imagine one that’s implanted and rechargeable! Amputee To Get An Artificial Hand That Can Experience the Feeling of… This hand looks like it’s right out of science fiction. Put some skin on it and you have a real hand. 

In Carl Weiss’s article,  Praise the Borg and Pass the Ammunition,  he wrote about many of the fascinating inventions  that have mimicked those of the Star Trek series. This article continues that voyage. To take us where no man has gone before, except for the fact that we are already following in the footsteps of "Star Trek." 

Incidentally, if you'd like to follow one of our client's blogs that features innovative medical devices (implants, prosthetics, diagnostic, nanotechnology, etc.) check out the monthly series "Fascinating, Captain!" on MedicalSocialNetworkNews

This article discussed how science fiction has ushered in science fact. How many of the artificial cybernetic devices we dreamt of in the '60s are now in use every day. I have discussed how the human race is embracing the use of cybernetic eyes, ears, limbs and organs. As a race, we have been enhancing our senses with external devices for many years. Soon we will be enhancing our biological senses to take humankind to a completely new level. Imagine walking into a board room and never having to take notes because your cybernetic implants are recording it all. Imagine never getting tired when you go for a walk on your cybernetic legs. Imagine all the lives that will be saved with the cybernetic implants of the future. If you haven't listened to the BTR broadcast that goes with this article, check it out now. I hope you have enjoyed this article on cyber augmentation. If you liked the article pass it onto your friends. If you have a comment please enter them below.  

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading 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 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.”

 Related articles

LinkedIn Techniques for Growing your Business

By Hector E Cisneros

LinkedIn (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)
Do you use LinkedIn as a primary marketing tool? Are you looking for new ways to connect with prospects and potential employees? Are you looking for new ways to grow your business? Could you benefit from expanding your sphere of influence through LinkedIn and other social conduits? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this article was written for you. This article will provide four, “must do daily tasks” that every LinkedIn pro needs to takes advantage of. It will also cover three new features that can make life-using LinkedIn easier. The new marketing features will help keep your growth momentum going and save you money.  Lastly, I will provide links to other articles that give even more comprehensive information to help you master LinkedIn.

In my last article about LinkedIn, entitled "How to Leverage LinkedIn for Business & Career Enhancement," I gave a broad overview of the top features available on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, like all social networks follows unwritten rules of social etiquette and protocol. In this article, I want to start by discussing the absolute minimum tasks you need to do on a daily basis. These four tasks are the 80/20 rule you have heard about, where 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of the functions you use.

The Most Important Four Things

Let us start with updating your profile. Your profile is what a person first sees when they look you up on LinkedIn. This is the first place you need to put your best foot forward. Never accept mediocrity by leaving your profile incomplete. Make sure your grammar and spelling are perfect! More importantly make sure you let your audience keep up with the changes that are happening in your business. You can always add new successes, projects that you've started, product launches,
This UML diagram describes the domain of Linke...
This UML diagram describes the domain of LinkedIn social networking system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
add company pictures etc. The benefits of keeping your profile up to date are:  that you put your best foot forwardand you get free promo's from LinkedIn. That's right, LinkedIn sends out a weekly list of people who have updated their profile. This helps keep you in front of your peers and potential clients. Plus it's promoted by LinkedIn, so it isn't considered as spam!

Next, I recommend you post articles relevant to your industry and position. I try to do this daily if possible. If you have lots of followers, you can increase your number of posts to about 3 times a day. If you're scientific about this process, you will measure what day of the week and hours of the day gets the most reads. You can do this by tracking your posts with Hootsuite or some other software program. The new company analytic’s can really help with this too. More on them later!

I can't overemphasize the importance of providing useful content to your peers and prospects. Posting lots of information about yourself or your product/service will hamper your progress. If you want to provide information that builds your credibility, write quality articles and blog posts about your industry and mix them with posts from industry leaders. Make sure the content is useful and written grammatically and technically correct. If you lack this skill, find someone who can ghostwrite for you. Your cost can be as low as $50 for a short blog post to $300 for an article length document.

The best way to look like an expert in your field is to show off your expertise in writing. Blogging or self -publishing is a great start. Being published in industry related magazines provides its own advantages and raises your credibility to a new level.

A third way of building your credibility is actively participating in Groups. Again be ready to help others out. Don't act like a rookie salesperson ready to pounce? Act like a host, ready to help. Here is where providing useful content can also pay off. People will follow you if you are in their group and you are posting quality information that they find useful.

Third, endorse others and post testimonials to help them. Helping others with deserved testimonials allows you to follow the law of reciprocity. This law is alive and well and still works in the 21st century. The likelihood of someone reciprocating and endorsing you back is very high. LinkedIn offers three ways to endorse others. First, you can create a written testimonial and post it in their recommendation section.  Second you can endorse them for a specific skill set by clicking on that specific skill or expertise in that section. And lastly you can post something positive about a person or company in the " Share an Update" field on your home page or activity field in LinkedIn. 

Endorsing others is a great way to beginning a relationship with a referral partner, customer or prospect. I would add that genuinely endorsing others fulfills a need that can't easily be fulfilled in any other way. On top of that, LinkedIn automatically asks for reciprocation when it announces to the recipient “they have been endorsed by you."

Of the three methods, a written testimonial is the best and the most powerful way to endorse others. The second most powerful is a posted endorsement in the timeline of the Newsfeed. A message of congratulations or positive statement of endorsement goes a long way here. Clicking on a skill or expertise is the least powerful but does have some advantages that make it different from the other kinds of written endorsements. For one it's quick and easy. A click or two and you're done. It also prompts LinkedIn to contact the person being endorsed with the statement "You have been endorsed"! You’ll get noticed in a flattering way to say the least.  Don’t underestimate the power of endorsing others, it will provide big returns if you're consistent in your activity. Expect a three or four to one return for your efforts, (i.e., for every three endorsements you give, you'll receive one in return).

Fourthly, engage Members in Gracious and Useful Correspondence. The reason I say gracious and useful correspondence is that most of the correspondence 
My LinkedIn Connections
My LinkedIn Connections (Photo credit: mkorcuska)
people receive in LinkedIn are solicitations of some sort.  These solicitations cover the gamut from asking to connect to outright cold call letters. A way to be gracious is to say thank you whenever possible to anyone who connects with you. This includes, likes for your post or they mention you in the news feed. A way to provide useful correspondent is to provide information they like and need. Provide useful links, free white papers on your industry and be willing to help others with questions they post asking for assistance.  If you do this in a way that is beneficial, (to them) it will get noticed. Not everyone is going to jump up and say thank you, but a good portion of the recipients of your help will remember you. So many people today are concerned with helping themselves that they forget that it’s their usefulness to others that makes them valuable. The law of reciprocity will kick in and what goes around will definitely come around, and you will eventually be the recipient of someone asking for your help as a customer.

New Features Worth Using

LinkedIn now has sponsored ads in their Newsfeeds and they have also added video ads in the Pay Per Click model. Anyone can sponsor ads in the Newsfeed time line just as you can for the header and sidebar ads. It's easy to setup and can be initiated from your own sponsored updates, (your posts) or via Ad manager.

Once you have chosen a post you want to sponsor, you then select the demographics you're looking for. You can choose from location, companies, job title, schools, skills, groups, gender and age. You can also add filters for title, name and category (i.e. Industry, function, seniority etc.). This add tool provides very powerful targeting. Next, choose whether you want to pay on a cost per click or cost per impression basis. Set your budget and the length of the campaign and start. It's that simple. The system will suggest minimal bid prices and daily budgets. I have been able to get clicks for as little as 90 cents. However most will come in close to the suggested bid rate.

LinkedIn introduces new company page analytics.  In July, LinkedIn introduced their new Company page Analytics which allow the subscriber to better understand what is what's going on your business pages. This new service allows you to identify which posted updates are responsible for engaging your followers. It will allow you to filter engagement trends by type and time period.  It will provide more detailed demographic data on your followers and it will allow you to visualize your follower growth and benchmark your growth against similar brands. This enhancement is also easy to understand because it also utilizes the new built-in help feature which can be accessed by highlighting the question mark symbol. Check out their help video for their analytics on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's new mobile Experience (since April 2013) is designed for more every day usage. It provides a richer stream that is now front and center. LinkedIn’s new mobile app 
Nederlands: Linked In icon
Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
allows for greater customization plus it comes preloaded with the handiest features already setup in the fully customizable navigation page. This new app also helps emphasize localization.  On top of that LinkedIn is expanding more in other countries. Since 64% of LinkedIn's growth is overseas, they have also added additional native language support. They now support 15 languages in total. This could be a great benefit for those who do business overseas.  Click here for LinkedIn own story.

In this article, I have discussed four things you need to do on a regular basis in order to be successful with LinkedIn. You can never go wrong by following these suggestions. Yes, there are other activities you can add but leaving out these four activities will hurt your chances of success.  I have also introduced you to three of LinkedIn’s latest features. The new features are worth your investigation, especially if you like using pay per click ads or like using your Smartphone  in the field. If you haven't listened to the BTR broadcast that goes with this article, check it out now.  If you feel this article was helpful, pass it on to your friends. If you have something to add to this discussion, enter it in the comment section. It's been my pleasure sharing my thoughts on what's important and new in LinkedIn.

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading 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 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.”

Related articles