Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Part 4 – Content is King



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: blogger.com
When we started our journey in content marketing, we never envisioned our blog would grow to 35,000-plus page views on average each month.  We wrote articles because we wanted consumers and businesses to understand the sea change that was taking place in Internet marketing.  From our humble beginning of one blog a week to the phenomenal following our blog has acquired, we’re amazed and grateful for what has transpired.

Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Part 3 – The Social Media Dynamic



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: popularresistance.org

Social media is a revolution whose time has come.  Without a doubt, the advent of social media has dramatically changed the landscape of the Internet forever.  The changes are many and constant.  Despite all the wonderful benefits social networks bring, few business understand the benefits, much less understand how to use this medium. This article will expose the many mistakes and myths business have about social media and social networking.  The reader will come away with many useful tips and techniques that will help their business make the most of this evolutionary resource and marketing medium.  Pay close attention to the most common mistakes.  Implement proven techniques to grow your networks and spread your positive message, as we explore the best practices and lessons learned from the last seven years of the social media revolution.

Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Part 2 – Website and SEO Principles

Compiled from 20 Years of Marketing Success 

By Hector Cisneros


Photo Credit: vintagecomputing.com
Did you know that most of the websites that exist today were created more than four years ago? And, for the most part, many website developers and designers haven’t upgraded what they consider to be key elements for a web page. Many still consider large banners at “the top of the fold” to still be important, most leave out critical home page elements needed to convey trust and credibility to visitors.  This article is part of a four part series to help clients create a unified and coherent marketing campaign. It delves into the best practices we’ve discovered during our successful marketing campaigns over the last 20 years. We put particular emphasis on the important changes that have taken place online in the last five years. So let’s jump right in a look at the best practices we’ve discovered for web page setup and pertaining to SEO.

Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Part 1 – The Big Picture


Compiled from 20 Years of Marketing Success 

By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: gopixpic.com
Today our world is evolving at breakneck speeds.  All aspects of our lives are changing right before our eyes. The Internet, in particular, is moving faster than most segments of our lives.  Marketing has moved on from a single dimensional communications medium to a world of multi-dimensional and bi-directional communications mediums.  Newspapers, TV, radio, magazines and even billboards are moving to the Internet as part of their communications draw.  People have access to their computers, (smartphones and smart devices) 24/7 and use them everywhere they go. 

Marketing Your Blog in the 21st Century – Part 3 of Blogging 101



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: hongkiat.com
How do you get found in a world of billions of competitors?  That’s what most bloggers ask me when I meet with them to discuss their marketing needs. Most blogs are like billboards in the desert. Few, if anyone, reads their great literary works because their blog is like a needle in a mountainous hay stack.

Learning the Tricks of the Trade – Part 2 of Blogging 101



 
By Hector Cisneros



Photo Credit: keepbouncing.com
Would you like to know writing secrets of three successful writers? Would it be useful if you know their tricks of the trade, the elements they use to capture a reader’s attention, captivating them to read on and to be engrossed to the very end of your article?  If that’s what you’re looking for, this second segment of Blogging 101 will deliver that in spades. It will provide the real tips and tricks of the trade provided by Carl Weiss, Robert Kaye and myself, successfully published writers and authors all.  So get comfy and dig in to read Working the Web to Win’s “Learning the Tricks of the Trade - Part 2 of Blogging 101.”

The Endless Scams of Christmas (and beyond)

Courtesy of www.1a20.com

By Carl Weiss

You may have heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, but what you probably haven't heard of are the Endless Scams of Christmas. In their efforts to "liven up" the holidays, cybercriminals this year are going to act like the Grinch in their efforts to ruin your holiday spirits. So in this season of giving I though it only appropriate to give all of our loyal readers the lowdown on the top 12 cyberscams that you can expect to see this upcoming yule.

Terrorists Have Hijacked Social Media: A Dangerous New Paradigm



How Are Terrorists Using the Internet to Spread Their Message of Hate? Part 3

By Robert Kaye


Photo Credit: frontpagemag.com
Last night on Facebook, I was chatting with my cousin and a few other friends. 

But did you know that at the same time on Facebook, al-Qaeda’s English language online magazine, “Inspire,” reran an article on how to make a bomb in an everyday kitchen?  On Twitter, ISIS tweeted photos of Christian captives it had crucified and beheaded.  And on YouTube, a newly posted video showed Palestinians dancing in the street and distributing candies in celebration of the recent terrorist attack that murdered four rabbis and a border policeman in Jerusalem.

How to Grow Your Twitter Flock – 14 Surefire Tips for Explosive Organic Growth


By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: publiseek.com
Ever wonder why all the media outlets use Twitter? Are you curious about how useful Twitter really is?   What happened?  Are you providing the wrong content?  Are you using the wrong posting schedule? Are you engaging your audience in a useful way? Are you wondering why you only have 300 people following you, after a full year’s worth of work?

The real questions is:  Are you really looking to grow your Twitter following or are you just dabbling in Twitter because someone said it was cool?

The Banner Blitz is Back


Image courtesy of entrepreneurs-journey.com
Back at the turn of the century banner ads were everywhere. You couldn't read a zine or surf a web portal without seeing dozens of banner ads all vying for your attention. While some were static, others were so animated that they hurt the eyes to stare at them. Then in 2003 banner ads were declared as dead as the dodo bird. Was this due to the fact that they were ineffective as a source of traffic? Or was it more the fact that over time animated ads had become annoying? Regardless, the bane of in-your-face online ads was over ... Or, so it seemed.  Ten years later, banner ads resurfaced with a vengeance. 

How to Survive a Big Mac Attack


After years of enjoying some of the most secure machines online, lately the vaunted Mac has gotten some worms in its core. Everyone from CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson to 17,000 Macs that were recently infected with botnets were reported in media sources. To make matters worse, on October 21, Apple posted a security warning for users of its iCloud online storage service amid reports of a concerted effort to steal passwords and other data from people who use the popular service in China.

The Magic Formula for Blogging Success: a Training Series for Bloggers

Blogging 101 - Part 1: We Start With Commitment – It Succeeds When Talent Falters 

By Hector Cisneros
Courtresy of www.flickr.com

I’ve met many writers in my life.  Some have incredible writing skills; their grammar and spelling are impeccable.  Their creativity was remarkable.  Many are successful business owners and senior officers in corporations.  The same is true for many business owners I know. Their English speaking, writing, grammar and spelling skills are far superior to mine, and in many cases, they’re very creative and disciplined.  Yet both of these groups of talented people often have less-than-stellar writing success when it comes to blogging.

Will Pay-to-Play Payoff Online or Will it Kill the Golden Goose?

By Carl Weiss
Money (That's What I Want) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s said that the best things in life are free.  But as Berry Gordy so aptly added in 1960, “But you can keep them for the birds and bees.  Give me money, that’s what I want.” The song aptly named , "Money (That’s What I Want)" went on to become the first hit for Gordy’s Motown record label Tamla.  It also went on to be covered by many prominent recording artists such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Doors, among others.  

What Every Business Needs When it Grows Up

14 Things Smart Businesses and Mature Professionals do to Grow Their Companies in a Weak Economy in the 21st Century 


By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com
When an economy is strong, even weak companies and products can thrive.  But what happens when the economy struggles in recession for several years?  What happens when you have the emergence of consumer driven social media with its potentially viral and instant, word-of-mouth sharing, of both positive and negative reviews on products or services?  What happens when we have a fundamental shift in our way of life, where many consumers have only part-time jobs, while concurrently, taxes and consumer goods prices keeps rising?

“IT” Now Stands for Internet Terrorism



How Are Terrorists Using the Internet to Spread Their Message of Hate? Part 2                

By Robert Kaye

Photo Credit: frazar.net
Ah, yes, our World Wide Web. Where would most of us be without it these days? For many of us, it’s difficult to imagine a life without the interconnectivity and instant interaction of the Internet. The Internet is a powerful tool that most would agree is now an indispensable part of everyday life. But this powerful tool is a double-edged sword.  Benevolence and crime live side-by-side in the spaces of the World Wide Web. It provides power to those who are good and those who are evil. And a new evil has reared its ugly head: Internet Terrorism.

Since its origins and rapid-fire growth starting in the early 1990s, the Internet was heralded as a conduit for an emerging “global village” where businesses, governments and private citizens could interact with each other the world over. However, what most people think of as "the Internet" are just the sites listed in the commercial search engine directories.  The Darknet (a.k.a., Deep Web) makes up the other 98% of the Internet. (I’ll discuss more about this in a subsequent article in this series).

Photo Credit: leblogalupus.com
Over time, the exponential growth of the World Wide Web has ushered in not only the promise of an interactive medium, but also a sinister place where criminals ― and yes, terrorists ― do their business and communications. These are the same terrorist groups you hear and read about in the news. While they may have different political and/or religious agendas, these malevolent groups are similar in their desire and ability to use the Internet to distribute their propaganda, interact with supporters, raise operating capital, create awareness of and sympathy for their raison d’être (reason to live), and even to launch operations. Some of this is done on “the normal” Internet, a lot of it is done on the Darknet.

In our first segment, you may recall I spoke about the continual threat to the U.S., the West and Israel from militant Islamic terrorists. I identified some of the major jihadist groups operating today (the U.S. State Dept. says there are nearly 60 terrorist organizations across the world). I pointed out some of their major state sponsors and also discussed how some of them are funded, including theft and usury. (See Part 1 of our previous blog, “How Are Terrorist Using the Internet to Spread Their Message of Hate?”) Along with this segment, subsequent articles will also delve more closely into the specific ways and means that terrorists use the Internet. 


Cyber Jihad

 

Over the past decade, nearly all active terrorist groups have established their presence on the Internet and are using it in a multitude of ways. In addition to setting up their own dedicated websites, they also use chat rooms, bulletin boards, blogs, forums, video sites, discussion groups and more. Why use the Internet? Because it’s an easy, affordable method for disseminating information (and misinformation, when it suits them) across the world instantly. And ― surprisingly ― a lot of it goes relatively unchecked.


Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

Case in point: Earlier this week, three young women from Denver, Colorado were arrested in Germany as they were trying to fly to Syria to join ISIS. Also, a chilling video recently emerged featuring an Australian who had traveled to Syria to join ISIS. How were these four young people recruited? The Internet. "ISIS constantly cranks the PR machine, making expert use of slick videos and social media,CNN states in its coverage of these recent headlines. “ISIS' global digital reach has terror experts in the United States worried about security at home as well.”
 

Affirms Gabriel Weimann PhD, former senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in the introduction to his report entitled “www.terror.net ― How Modern Terrorism Uses the Internet.”:“Today, terrorist organizations and their supporters maintain hundreds of websites, exploiting the unregulated, anonymous, and easily accessible nature of the Internet to target an array of messages to a variety of audiences.”

Dr. Weimann says Internet-based terrorism is “a very dynamic phenomenon.” Websites can appear suddenly, then alter their formats, then only to disappear just as rapidly. In some instances, they change their URL or encrypt it, but still promulgate the same hate-filled content and messages. He points out the terrorist websites are focused on three main audiences: current and potential supporters, swaying international public opinion, and enemy publics.

Photo Credit: sitelintelgroup.com
According to Weimann, “By its very nature, the Internet is in many ways an ideal arena for activity by terrorist organizations.” The Internet offers them:

  • Easy access
  • Little or no regulation, censorship, or other forms of governmental control
  • Potentially huge audiences worldwide
  • Anonymity of communication
  • Rapid flow of information
  • Inexpensive development and maintenance of an Internet/web presence
  • A multimedia environment (with the ability to combine text, graphics, audio and video and allowing users to download films, songs, books, posters, etc.)
  • The ability to manipulate news coverage in the traditional mass media, which increasingly uses the Internet as a source for stories
  • The ability to engage in untraceable business transactions and money transfers to help perpetuate their terrorist infrastructure.
Photo Credit: news.asiantown.net
Dr. Weimann also authored the book, “Terror on the Internet.” In a review of that book for the “New YorkTimes’ Sunday Book Review,” author Robert F. Worth wrote, “Weimann argues that jihadist groups see the Internet not only as a way to reach followers and recruits, but as a broader link with mainstream Arab and Muslim populations. In one sickening example, he describes a Hamas Web Site that is aimed at children, with cartoon-style graphics, songs and stories.” Welcome to the era of instant inter-generational e-Hate, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Websites created and managed by terrorist groups are set up for different reasons and may include their organizational history and hierarchy; key biographies; speeches; blogs; express their ideological, political or military aims; issue field reports, maps and news. The fact the Internet has now become a media-rich environment also means terror groups can post sometimes graphic photographs and videos of their conquests and celebrated “achievements,” such as the torture of U.S. soldiers and the recent beheading of U.S. and U.K. journalists. Certain sites glorify different types of violence, however other groups may use that as propaganda tool against a rival organization or a foreign power, against which it’s fighting. Some sites even include gift shops, where one can buy paraphernalia and by doing so, support the terrorist groups monetarily.

Photo Credit: rsaconference.com/writable/presentations/file_upload/ht-308_danchev.pdf

Al-Qaida Hasn’t Been Defeated

 

Photo Credit: gaulitics.com
Just this past August, Al-Qaida members were using online chat rooms and encrypted Internet
message boards for planning attacks. Experts took the chatter seriously enough to close down nearly 20 embassies across Africa and Middle East for over a week. The Associated Press reported: “The unspecified call to arms by the al-Qaida leaders, using a multi-layered subterfuge to pass messages from couriers to tech-savvy underlings to attackers, provoked a quick reaction by the U.S. to protect Americans in far-flung corners of the world where the terror network is evolving into regional hubs.

“For years, extremists have used online forums to share information and drum up support, and over the past decade they have developed systems that blend encryption programs with anonymity software to hide their tracks. Jihadist technology may now be so sophisticated and secretive, experts say, that many communications avoid detection by National Security Agency programs that were specifically designed to uncover terror plots.”

Photo Credit: theguardian.com
While many terrorists do use the Internet, some of Al-Qaida’s (and other groups’) top leaders stay off the grid so they can’t be found. By doing so, some of its most-wanted ring leaders, like bin Laden-replacement, Ayman al-Zawahri, his chief lieutenant, Nasser al-Wahishi, and other senior Al-Qaida leaders stay hidden. In Yemen, other senior Al-Qaida leaders such as Qassim al-Rimi and top bomb-maker, Ibrahim Al-Asiri have managed to survive in hiding for years. In fact, the CIA was so exasperated over its attempts to locate and eliminate these senior terrorists, the agency had contemplated assassinating the couriers that were passing messages among them. Often times these leaders create encrypted messages, which are then downloaded to thumb drives or CDs, and these get handed off to couriers who then spread the messages using secure websites.


Photo Credit: sitelintelgroup.com
“Earlier this year,” the article continues, “an al-Qaida-linked extremist propaganda organization known as the Global Islamic Media Front released an encrypted instant-messaging system known as ‘Asrar al-Dardashah,’ or ‘Secrets of the Chat.’ It was a texting version of the organization's end-to-end encryption program that followers had been using for years. End-to-end encryption means messages are put into code so that only senders and receivers can access the content with secure ‘keys.’

“After the NSA programs were revealed in June, jihadi websites began urging followers to also use software that would hide their Internet protocol addresses and, essentially, prevent them from being tracked online. That aimed to add another layer of security to the online traffic.”

Surprisingly, encryption technology, which was once regulated and overseen by the U.S. for national security reasons, is today a free-running industry and has been available to the general public since the 1990s. (Say what?!)


Knowledge Base of Operations


Photo Credit: boomuck.net
The Internet is also teeming with information that can be taken advantage of and used by terrorists. Think about it: Readily available online are maps, satellite photographs (i.e., Google Earth), blueprints and key information about transportation routes, power and communication grids and infrastructures, pipeline systems, and dams and water supplies. Also online are explosive device instructions, information about biological weapons, and even more. After 9/11, the U.S. and other international governments were in haste to reclassify and delete key information that had previously been easily accessible online. According to an Associated Press report, the U.S. government made over one million documents go “404 Page Not Found.” However, since some of this critical information had already been archived in a variety of ways, those who had the intent and wherewithal to uncover it could do so with relative ease ― and, even more disconcerting, may already have. Furthermore, once these types of documents, diagrams and information are downloaded, the Internet serves as an ideal environment for sharing such key data among operatives and like-minded groups that are in collusion with one another. 

A subsequent article in this series will look into detail about what steps governments, agencies and the military are doing to stop the proliferation of jihadi websites and terrorists’ Internet use in general. However, in the meantime, what can you and I do? Several things:

    Photo Credit: pamgeller.com
  • Be Vigilant – If you come across a suspicious site, or are spammed by one, report it.
  • Know Who to Contact – The FBI and the CIA both have online contact forms and phone numbers.
  • Hold Politicians Responsible – Ensure your elected officials are doing all they can to stop terrorism, both online and “on the ground.”  
  • Educate Yourself – For example, in researching material for this series, I had no idea that terrorists’ use of the Internet was so widespread; nor did I know about the Darknet or its size.
  •  Share This Series – Forward it to your family, friends and colleagues. 
The Internet has become a mega-sized megahorn for terrorist organizations.  It’s no wonder “IT” can now beconstrued to stand for Internet Terrorism.

In this second segment, I began to explore in detail why and how the Internet has become such a key tool and medium of choice in the arsenal of jihadist terror organizations. I also discussed some of the ways in which terrorists have been effectively using it for over a decade.  Subsequent segments will continue to investigate this proliferating practice among jihadist terrorist groups.  If you found this article interesting, please share and forward. If you’d like to leave a comment or question, please do so in the Comments section below.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.



Robert Kaye is an internationally published, multi-award-winning writer and editor.  To date, he’s been published over 450 times in numerous print and electronic media (Internet, TV, radio, and podcasts) covering a wide variety of subjects. He currently serves as the Associate Producer for Working the Web to Win.
  
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