Cyberstalking for Fun & Profit

Is There a Cyberstalker in Your Future?


By Carl Weiss
D'Press 07 Jan 2009
D'Press 07 Jan 2009 (Photo credit: kishorebudha)

Does the title of this week's article creep you out?  Good, because more and more intimate personal information is available online about each and every one of us than is "healthy."  Worse still, it's  all too easy to become a victim of cyberstalking.  That's because most of us disseminate far too much personal information on social nets, in chat rooms, and via photo and video sharing services.  It's also far too easy to get the vast majority of us to volunteer even more intimate details regarding our religious and political affiliations, income, sexual orientation, and health-related issues. Worst of all, there are companies and cybercriminals that profit from this glut of easily obtained information. The result? We're all putting our personal and financial futures at risk.  In this article we'll show you how easy it is to glean reams of information about nearly anyone — and most importantly — what you need to do to keep yourself from getting caught with your pants down.  And if that doesn't give you the e-heebie jebbies, I don't know what will.

The Age of Cyberstalking is Upon Us.

Like it or not, your privacy is mostly a thing of the past. Whether you’re an employee, are married, or have just ended a relationship, there are computer and mobile apps that make it all too easy for a third party to know a great deal of intimate knowledge about you. To exacerbate this issue, for just a few bucks, any cyberstalker can acquire a sophisticated array of software that make it child’s play to track your location in real time, and listen or look in on what you are doing and with whom you’re doing it.

English: http://noalciberacoso.blogspot.com/ E...
English: http://noalciberacoso.blogspot.com/ Español: http://noalciberacoso.blogspot.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While this sounds like a plot for a sci-fi movie or a novel, it has become all too real for the victims of this 21st century scourge.  During the past few months, everyone from ex-boyfriends, to a Seattle police officer, have been prosecuted for spying on and/or posting sexually explicit photos of their former lovers online.  Recently even children have been reported recently for using the Internet to cyberbully classmates … with sometimes tragic results.

The bad news is, despite recent legislation that can impose serious jail time for cyberstalkers, this is a crime that’s on the rise, currently affecting one in six women and ten percent of all men.  The good news is there are steps you can take to defend yourself in this all too weird, wired world.
  
Facebook is Cyberstalker Central!

The news post that motivated me to write this blog was entitled, “7 Things You Told Facebook Without Realizing It.”  Posted on April 29, 2014 by vox.com, the staggeringly detailed post detailed a number of nefarious apps, available to the general public, which  are designed to trawl through Facebook to guess your income, your location, and your passwords. There are also apps that seek out men or women who have just ended a relationship, or even scout the social nets, for revealing photos.  Like a virus, some of these apps are designed to jump from one posting to another, burrowing into your list of friends in orde
r to do the stalkers’ despicable deeds. Read -- "Things You told Facebook Without Even realizing it."

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005
Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only social net in vogue with cyberstalkers.  And not all cyberstalkers are interested in seeing your swimsuit photos.  A post from Technorati.com points out that Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare are now being used by burglars to zero in on vacationing families.   The article points out that 75% of convicted burglars admitted that most criminals use social media to find homes to victimize, and they also admit to using Google Earth to case the neighborhood.  Let’s see if the Neighborhood Watch programs can foil these high-tech thieves. Read how burglars are using social media to perpetrate crimes.

 The problem with most people is that they post way too much personal information on social sites. Everything from where you live, to what you own, or where you are … these are often revealed in accurate detail (complete with photos).  Then you casually post the fact you’re soon leaving on that two week vacation. Voila! Everyone in cyberspace not only knows how long you’ll be gone, but you announced you’ve actually left because you’ve shared photos of yourself at the airport waiting on your plane, to photos of your vacation each day you’re gone. If this sounds familiar, then don’t be surprised if, upon your return, you find your house and/or business has been rifled by thieves. (Heck, why not show the thieves where you keep the spare key?)

The Technorati piece goes on to advise readers that if they don’t want to be victimized while on vacation, they need to start by taking a vacation from using social media before or during any extended trip.  They also advise you to consider sharing your vacation photos after the fact. The article advises readers to also tell their friends to avoid posting tidbits about themselves while they’re on their vacations, unless it’s to post the fact that they have a vicious watchdog.

You Can Easily Hurt the Ones You Love
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even software that was originally designed to protect those we love can be co-opted into working for the bad guys.  A blog on Motherboard.com pointed out that spy software and apps designed to help mothers keep tabs on their children has become popular fodder for those who wish to spy on others.

"We do have quite a large proportion of our customers who use mSpy specifically to catch a cheating spouse," mSpy communications director Tatiana Ameri told Komo News last year. Read – Tor is being used as a safe haven for victims of cyberstalking.

Even more chilling, the article points out there’s an entire online community that caters to those looking to spy on others.

"Digital communities have sprung up where individuals teach each other how to compromise cell phones to track the victim’s whereabouts, listen to conversations in a room, take pictures, and read texts and email so that they can learn about their victim’s behavior on a microscopic level."

The NSA Even Spies on Their Own Girlfriends

The above-mentioned article also points out that even spies at the NSA weren’t above using top secret surveillance tools to keep tabs on loved ones. The program was so pervasive that it even had its own Codename: LOVEINT.  The revelation of this information so incensed Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa that he petitioned the NSA to release information about LOVEINT.  The information revealed that at least a dozen of the NSA’s best and brightest were implicated in the program.

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...
Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Español: Instalaciones generales de la NSA en Fort Meade, Maryland. Русский: Штаб-квартира АНБ, Форт-Мид, Мэриленд, США (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of course, for every spy there is a counterspy.  And in the age of cyberstalking, there are a number of resources designed to help victims fight back.  While many of these sites provide checklists designed to help you avoid becoming a victim of cyberstalkers, there are a few that take a more proactive approach.  One of these is Tor Network, the same software employed by hackers, crackers, dissidents and whistleblowers to maintain online anonymity.

For several years, Tor, spearheaded by Tor Project executive director Andrew Lewman, has been tackling cyber stalking, working with domestic violence groups to set up countersurveillance programs to help victims evade online surveillance. The onion router can hide a victim’s identity long enough for them to research where to find help, and look up what data they can find about themselves without tipping off their stalker that they’re online, he said.

Remember that everything from your computer, to your smart TV, to your smart kitchen appliances can be used against you. Any smart device you have including your laptop, tablet and smartphone can be used to track your every move.  Malware can be surreptitiously installed on any or all of these devices to allow a cyberstalker to take control of it, even to the point of activating the unit’s webcam.  So aside from making sure you have one or more layers of software designed to detect and defeat spyware and malware, you personally also have to ensure you don’t make it easy for cyberstalkers to get you in their clutches.

Photo Credit: digitaltrends.com
How? By taking personal responsibility in real time. Never engage in behavior that can compromise your security.  Never click on links or emails from people you don’t know.  Curtail your habit of sharing everything and anything about your personal life online.  Be wary of posting any photos that could be used against you at a later date. Stay away from questionable websites, and above all, use multiple layers of anti-malware to warn you of potentially malicious website and social pursuit. To read a list of security programs and other steps you can take to protect yourself read – "The Scariest Stuff Online."  Better yet read our new book which has a chapter devoted to this subject.

In this article, I’ve outlined the rampant use of cyberstalking on the Internet via smart devices today. I’ve laid out the scary state of how cyberstalking is threatening our personal security because we don’t use social media in a diligent manner.  I’ve provided details and links to several resources and information that can help the reader protect themselves, and listed steps they can take to increase their privacy and personal security. If you follow my advice, your chances of not being singled out for cyberstalking will increase substantially.  

Hey! Anybody want to see pictures of my new Rottweiler?

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “security" or "Internet security” in the search box at the top left of this blog.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. I hope you have found these questions and answers useful.

If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will send you this free eBook. Your information is always keep private and never sold.


Carl Weiss is CEO of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can interface with Carl every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern when he airs his radio show on Blog Talk Radio.

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The Internet: The Ultimate Innovation Station


More Internet Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with workingthewebtowin on BlogTalkRadio

By Carl Weiss


One of the many things that has continually made our country
great is the fact that our populace has always had its dreamers, tinkerers and inventors.  The Internet itself is proof positive of the power of American ingenuity.  There are millions of people with great ideas for new products and services. There’s a big difference between drawing an idea on a napkin versus actually bringing your invention or idea to fruition in the marketplace.  This week we’ll discuss how budding inventors can use the World Wide Web to become a successful entrepreneur.  We’ll discuss everything from angel investors, to Crowdfunding, to online marketing and more. This article will cover all the bases so you can hitch your wagon to the online money train.  Our corresponding Internet shows will have guests who are experienced in raising money, who offer inventor's resources, or who have made it to the big time online with their innovative products or services.

Sometimes people forget the Internet as we know it is not quite 20-years old yet. In fact, back in 1994, there were only around 10,000 websites.  Fast forward to 2014:  more than 130,000 websites will be launched… and that’s just today.  This gives you an idea of the exponential online growth that’s occurred in the past decade.  Many of the sites that grace the Internet are business-related, making the World Wide Web the ultimate destination for established businesses and startups alike.  But what’s even more incredible is when it comes to either boot strapping or building a business, there’s no single entity on the planet that’s more useful than the Internet.  Allow me to count the ways:

1. Business Funding – Back in ’94, there were only a few methods most entrepreneurs could use to find the financial backing to get a new venture going. They dipped into their own savings, borrowed from friends or family, or dug a hole in their credit cards and prayed they could get their investment back before interest rates ate them alive. (Take it from me, since I self-funded my first Internet business. This latter method is not for the faint of heart.)

Today’s tinkerers, dreamers and entrepreneurs can secure start-up funding at the click of a mouse by looking at Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub, among others. The best part about these sites is they not only offer to help you start your business, but they do so without requiring you to give up any equity in your firm, or in some cases, even require you to pay back the investors. What a deal!

This form of funding has become so popular that there are now books and online video tutorials that show you, step-by-step, how to get Crowdfunding to work for you. An article by “Entrepreneur Magazine” entitled, “10 Top Crowdfunding Websites,” details the variety and scope of the industry.

In her book Cash From the Crowd, Sally Outlaw, founder and CEO of Crowdfunding website peerbackers, reveals the secrets of funding your business with help from colleagues, peers, family, friends and even perfect strangers through a Crowdfunding campaign. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228534#

2. Business Models – Before the advent of the Internet, there were really only two viable business models from which to choose: Brick & Mortar or Mail Order. Both of these models were expensive to instigate, own and operate. The Brick & Mortar model necessitated scouting a location, site build out, purchasing inventory, furnishing and stocking the shelves, etc. And all of which could take months, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars, to accomplish. Keep in mind all of this had to occur before you opened your doors for business. Even today, this is a high-risk way to go into business.

The Mail-order model, while eliminating the overhead associated with a Brick & Mortar, wasn’t without its own perils. Back then, this business model required an entrepreneur to purchase and warehouse inventory, and then print and snail mail to tens or even hundreds of thousands of catalogs in the hopes of generating sales. While some businesses today still use this model, more and more mail order ventures rely on the Internet to showcase their wares and process orders electronically. This not only saves time and money, but it saves a whole lot of trees as well.

3. Business Promoting – In ’94 there were three primary methods to promote your venture: Print, Radio and TV. None of these models were particularly user- friendly or cheap. Usually, in most towns, there was only a single newspaper and a handful of broadcast stations. This gave the owners of the newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations the ability to charge whatever the market would bear, thus pricing many would-be entrepreneurs out of the market before they could even get off the ground.

Then along came the Internet and sites such as Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and YouTube were born that gave startups a whole new lease on life. Not only have these portals become a success, they've become so successful that they actually threaten the viability of their more traditional counterparts. (Craigslist has been cited as one of the prime reasons the newspaper industry has been in sharp decline, since the site offers classified advertising at low or even no cost.)

For small businesses, the advent of these and other websites have not only meant the difference between life and death, it means entrepreneurs now have a way to cost-effectively test and refine their business models. With the availability of blogs, social networking, podcasting and video portals, which offer much of the same things as traditional print and broadcasting venues — only for free — now small businesses have a much better chance of creating a sustainable revenue since promotional expenses are much less than they were 20 years ago.

4. Business Staffing – Hiring personnel is still something that causes many business owners to wake up in a cold sweat in the dead of night. The costs associated with hiring, training, supporting and creating/equipping workstations for employees can be a daunting task for any business, let alone a startup with limited resources. Back in ’94, with the exception of temps, there was little a business owner could do to contain the costs associated with hiring new employees. Then along came outsourcing and the world became a business owner’s oyster. Today, most businesses take advantage to outsource many tasks, from HR, to customer service, to IT, to clerical services, to bookkeeping, and even editorial functions.


In a recent article from “Business Week” entitled “The Future of Outsourcing,” the practice of outsourcing jobs offshore has become a political hot potato since it is seen as big business’ way of eliminating high paying jobs that would otherwise be given to Americans. However, when it comes to small businesses, their consensus is quite different:

Staffing structure pyramid
Staffing structure pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thus, entrepreneurs see a chance to turn around dying businesses, speed up their pace of innovation, or fund development projects that otherwise would have been unaffordable. More aggressive outsourcers are aiming to create radical business models that can give them an edge and change the game in their industries.


http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-01-29/the-future-of-outsourcing

Love it or hate it, outsourcing is a resource most small businesses could least afford to do without today. Besides, in our current business environment, it isn't always necessary to take your outsourcing needs offshore. In our current business, we use a number of US-based independent contractors for everything from web design, to writing and editing tasks, to on-screen talent and more. It’s been my experience that employing outsourced labor in the short term results in hiring a qualified full-time employee down the road. In many cases, this can mean hiring the same person that was employed as an indie. (Think of his/her outsourcing tenure as an “audition.”) Even better, it allows business owners the flexibility of generating occasional jobs for hire that can add to the bottom line without threatening the business’ viability.



5. Sustaining a Business – Once you've started a business, you need to find a way to sustain and grow it. This meant the Small Business Administration (SBA) back in ’94. While the SBA is still one resource that can be called upon to help fledgling businesses, it’s by no means the only one. Today there are thousands of entities that are but a point-and-click away, which offer everything from business coaching, to business networking, to online marketing and more.
Seal of the U.S. government's Small Business A...
Seal of the U.S. government's Small Business Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There comes a time in every growing business when, as the owner, you "come to the end of your sleeve." Your business reaches capacity. Either your business has surpassed your skill set or your capacity, or both.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackie-nagel/are-service-providers-slo_b_5326132.html

What happens when you realize you've taken your business to the point where your acumen is no longer sufficient to take it to the next level? It used to mean incurring the expense of hiring high-priced consultants or employees that were a drain on the business. Today, that’s no longer an issue, since there are a number of business assets online that can provide the knowledge you seek. Or you can acquire outsourced technical experts on a per-hour or per-project basis.


6. The Business Sale – The best reason to own a business is to be able to sell the business down the road. In the past, this meant hiring a business broker and paying a percentage of the sale price to a third party. While I’m not saying business brokers don’t have their place when it comes to selling a business, they’re no longer the only way to go. Just as the real estate industry has spawned a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) craze, there are a number of web portals that have sprung up whose primary task is to help business owners sell their firms.

For Sale
For Sale (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)
Many business owners looking to sell their business don't realize they can use the internet to make the selling process go more smoothly. Online business-for-sale marketplaces allow sellers to reach a large number of potential buyers and provide resources for owners considering putting their business up for sale.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/186692

Sporting names such as bizbuysell.com, BizQuest.com, businessforsale.com, globalbx.com and sellingyourbusiness.com, these sites can help you price, position, and sell your business, since they cater to business owners and buyers galore. More importantly, even if you do end up dealing with a broker to sell your business, you’ll be a much savvier seller who better understands the process. That’s money in the bank.

The bottom line is, no matter what stage of business you’re currently engaged in, when it comes to starting, funding, promoting, staffing, sustaining or selling a business, the Internet is your Ultimate Innovation Station.

In this article, I’ve covered how the Internet is helping entrepreneurs flourish in the 21st century. It includes discussions on six important elements that every business, especially startups, must deal with in order to grow and become profitable.  I’ve provided details and links to many resources and information that explains how entrepreneurs can use these six elements to succeed.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “innovation" and "Internet” in the search box at the top left of this blog.

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.



Carl Weiss is CEO of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can interface with Carl every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern when he airs his radio show on Blog Talk Radio.
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Leveraging the Internet in the 21st Century


Find Additional Technology Podcasts with workingthewebtowin on BlogTalkRadio

By Carl Weiss

Courtesy of www.cnbc.com
In the 20th Century, businesses used print, TV and Radio as the preferred advertising mediums to take their products and services to market. To flex your advertising muscles today, you also need to add the internet to the mix.  Unlike traditional forms of advertising, the internet easily crosses most borders and allows businesses “in the know” to Geo-target their ads to any regional or local level they desire.

Every business today is trying to take advantage of the leverage that the internet provides. This process is made more complicated because the internet is a multi-media platform. Not only can it provide a media-rich experience on every page, it can also provide access to many forms of marketing that even includes analogs of their traditional counterparts like TV, Radio and print. Better still, it also provides superior tracking and analytical feedback to make sure your marketing is actually working!

Birth of the Internet 



Before the 1990’s businesses were relegated to using only print, TV, radio, billboards, etc.… to advertise their wares. Then came the Internet in the latter half of the 90’s and suddenly businesses had a completely new vista of opportunities open up to them, along with a new set of skills to hone.
Courtesy of www.cnbc.com
 Because when it comes to promoting products and services online, there is no such thing as one size fits all.  Far from it. 


Before the turn of the century web advertising was a bit simpler, due to the fact that it all came down to two things: a website and a search engine.  Back then, there weren't any such things as blogs and social networks.  Video was something that was worse than useless, due to bandwidth considerations.  Web designers back then had to selectively choose images due to the slow loading speeds that dial-ups provided.  Too many images could cause a site to load like molasses, or even freeze the screen solid. 

Then Came Broadband 

Then came the development of broadband and suddenly it was a whole new ballgame.  With that ballgame came an entirely new set of rules.  Instead of relying almost exclusively on text, many sites began experimenting with podcasts and video.  With the advent of YouTube, where anyone can post and host videos galore, multimedia went from being an anomaly to being practically a requirement. 


broadband
broadband (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
Search engines as well began to capitalize on the multimedia nature of the Internet, with many of them adapting their search algorithms to take into considerations all the latest online offerings.  Several, most notably Google, went one step further by developing their own brand of blog, social network and video portal.  This meant that website owners and optimizers had their hands full feeding all these additional mouths.  As a result, many sites that previously dominated the search engines were relegated to its backwaters.  It also meant that SEO was no longer SOP (standard operating procedure.)  Whether you choose to administer your web presence yourself or outsource the task, there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration if you hope to succeed. Here are none of the most important ones:


New Google AdWords Geo Targeting Interface
New Google AdWords Geo Targeting Interface (Photo credit: rustybrick)
1. Advertising via Geo-Targeting – One of the things that has changed in a big way is the ability to geographically target online ads. Unlike in the early days of the web where global advertising coverage was the norm, today's online ads can be directed to targeted regions, statewide or locally for both pay-per-click and organic search.

2. The State of SEO Today – When I hear people conversion about search engine optimization, I ask them to define the term SEO. Before the turn of the century everything a search engine needed to determine who ranked best resided exclusively on the website. Today, only twenty five percent of the criteria used for ranking purposes is contained on-site. The remainder consists of everything from blogs and social networks to videos and podcasts.

The other thing that has changed in a big way is the acumen of search engine spiders. Not only can the spiders read, they can understand how well your website, blogs and social posts are constructed. They are also programmed to look at how often you post as well as how much engagement this content generates. The only things they can’t understand are your images and videos. This is why it is so important to make sure your ALT tags are filled in and the text and tags used to wrap your videos is complete.


Citizen journalism / blogger card by Pinseri-blog
Citizen journalism by Pinseri-blog credit: Wikipedia)
3. Blogging is a Must for BusinessBlogs are without a doubt one of the least understood of all web assets. Most people treat them as a bastard stepchild of the web, not realizing that blogs can not only achieve search engine ranking on their own, but you can also sell products directly on your blog. Add to this the fact that a well-written blog post can be far more engaging than any websites since they change more often than websites. (The average website is updated quarterly, whereas the average blog is updated weekly.) I have known clients who literally generated more traffic and sales from their blog than they did on their site, even when their site had page-1 ranking on Google, Yahoo and Bing.


Social Media Landscape
Social Media Landscape (Photo credit: fredcavazza)
4. Social Media is your Business – There is a big difference between having a social presence and feeding your social presence. If you hope to turn Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social networks into a way to promote your business you need to understand a couple of things. In the first place, social nets are all about telling as opposed to selling. This means that for every attempt to display ad copy on your nets you need to deploy at least twenty pieces of information that would be of interest to your followers. And by “information” I don’t mean ad copy. The second factor is that social nets are all about your followers, not you. If you provide them with useful information and prove that you are an authority in your area of expertise they will inevitably buy from you when they are ready. However, if you rarely feed your nets or if you bombard your followers with ad copy, then don’t complain that social networking doesn't work.

YouTube for television (beta)
YouTube for television (beta) (Photo credit: francescominciotti)
5. Get Your Own YouTube Channel – YouTube is another area that most businesses do not really get. Look at it this way; If your local TV station told you they were giving away space for free TV spots and that they were looking for programming to fill air time, you would probably bust a gut to provide them with as much video content as they would accept. Then why is it that the world’s largest Superstation is not on every business owner’s radar in a big way? Not only does YouTube stream more video than all the other TV stations on the planet combined (4 billion videos per day), but they provide free hosting and broadcast, plus they are owned by the world’s most popular search engine (Google).



YouTube is much more than just a video portal. It is a search engine, it is a social network and it is a free web TV station that can place your videos on page 1 of Google. How cool is that? Yet most businesses are not taking advantage of this free marketing powerhouse. By taking advantage of it, I don’t mean having one or two videos on YouTube. What I am talking about is having dozens or even hundreds of videos on YouTube. Better yet, why not start a channel that focuses on your business? Don’t think that’s practical? Think again. We have shown all kinds of businesses from chiropractors to plumbers how 2-minute micro casts can be used to generate a following and turn their owners into rock stars. Shooting 2-4 short videos each and every month isn't all that complicated or costly. All it takes is a little imagination to turn the world’s largest superstation into a business asset that’s hard to beat.


English: Reputation management graphic that br...
 Reputation management graphic that breaks down the elements of reputation management and how they fit together. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
6. Manage Your Reputation – In years past it was all too easy for companies that produced slipshod workmanship and poor customer service to remain below the radar to consumers. As a result, it was very difficult to judge a business’ reputation until after the fact, by which time it was too late. With the advent of online reputation management all that has changed. Today the emperor wears no clothes and it is simple for the public to find out how your customers perceive the quality of your company. Whether they use Google Local, Yahoo, Angie’s List or any of the hundreds of sites dedicated to broadcasting reviews good and bad about a business, this is generally the first place that consumers go to check out a company with whom they have never done business.

Example of search listing showing a 5 star rating
That being said, many businesses have no system of encouraging satisfied customers to post positive reviews. What this means is that for the vast majority of businesses, all there is to be found are negative reviews. I don’t care how capable and courteous you are, as they say you can’t please everyone all the time. So it’s a foregone conclusion that sooner or later you will rub someone the wrong way. That someone (or even a wily competitor) can sully your reputation at the click of a mouse if you aren't actively encouraging your best customers to submit positive reviews all the public will find are complaints.

One of the things we use to promote our business as well as those of our clients is to ask your best customers if they wouldn't mind telling the public what they think of your services on video. By shooting a 2-3 minute interview and then cutting this down to 60-90 seconds not only will you have a powerful endorsement of your business, but while they are there you can then have them submit a positive review on Google+ that will go a long way toward helping you prove once and for all that you are the man or woman for the job.

7. This is Not Your Daddy's PR – Press Releases have been around for a long time. Today, internet press releases are much more effective at promoting your company via the World Wide Web. In the old days you would type up the press release and then mail or fax it to as many media locations that you had contacts for. Today however, there are many aggregation companies that specialize in digital press releases. They have access to hundreds, if not thousands of media outlet sites.

One click of a mouse and your press release can be sent to either highly targeted media companies or you can opt to do mass broadcast to as many outlets as you can afford. Press releases have also changed radically as well. Before, press releases could only included text information and maybe a picture or two. Today your press release can include slide shows, pictures, videos, podcast, social links and links to your website or eCommerce store. Press releases also provide ranking effects and show up in all search engines list as well.


Google AdWords Optimization - Case Study
Google AdWords Optimization -  MetroAtlantaMarketing
8. Pay Per Click Can do the Trick – Pay Per Click or PPC as its sometimes referred to is one of the only quick ways a business can get onto page one of search. However, it's not as easy as it sounds. It's very easy to waste lots of money if you don’t know what you're doing. And letting Google manage your AdWords account in the long run will cost you more than if you hire a professional firm to set up and manage your auction purchases and paid ad campaigns. In short, it takes an entire skill set of its own to employ PPC successfully, there is no shortcut to online success.

9. Who Can You Trust to Call? - Obviously creating and distributing everything from daily social posts to weekly blogs and monthly videos takes time. And time is something of which no business owner or manager has enough. So outsourcing some or all of the above mentioned tasks is the path of least resistance for many businesses. That being said, you need to be very careful who you allow to promote your business online. While there are a number of legitimate digital marketing agencies, there are also thousands of shortcut artists that can do more harm than good.
In past blogs, we have written about Black Hat tactics that can put your website between a rock and a hard place. It isn't at all unusual for a search engine to de-list or even black ball anyone caught using black hat techniques. While it would take more than a blog to cover them all, the biggest red flag to watch out for is anyone who claims they can get your site listed organically with Google or any other major search engine within 30 days or less. Depending upon the competition involved with any keyword or phrase it can take anywhere from four to six months or more to produce enough compelling content to leverage page 1 on any of the major search engines. However, the results can be well worth the effort.

In this article I have covered how to leverage the internet to market your business. It includes discussions on how advertising has changed from centred on conventional media to one that is internet centric. I have provided information that includes how you can use the different internet venues to leverage your advertising and marketing to grow your business. Included are discussions on the leverage provided by Geo-Targeting, SEO, Blogging, Social Media, YouTube, Reputation Management and Digital Press Releases. I also provide tips on what to watch out for when selecting a digital marketing agency.

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When he isn't surfing the web, Carl is Working the Web to Win, which is both a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida and a weekly online radio show on BlogTalkRadio.