Dare You Throw Stones at Neighbor?

Just recently one of our clients was interviewed by a high profile online magazine. Their quote was good in the piece but another person in their industry spewed out “wrong” information, according to my client. The client wanted us to write an article pointing fingers at the offending competitor to put him in his place, so to speak.

I always caution clients about speaking poorly online of competitors and for that matter naming names as there is absolutely nothing good that can come from the exchange. In fact, doing so may actually be harmful to you or set you up to become a target yourself.

It is not unthinkable that an angry competitor that you have targeted, will work to smear your reputation online with dirty tactics to get back at you. Re-mediating issues such as this are nearly impossible and can end up being damaging to your own online reputation.

My advice is vent and rant to your friends, but keep rants and finger pointing off line. Don’t give a competitor a reason to make you a personal target.

Most legitimate businesses would simply not escalate finger pointing into a vendetta, but there are some unbalanced people out their who happen to own businesses who may take very personal offense at comments directed at them or their behavior and work specifically to damage your online reputation in retribution. So, be careful when it comes to pointing out something that a competitor does that you consider “wrong”. You don’t want to become a target!

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Getty Images Sues Users of Template Websites

Not only did I read about this on the Web, but one of my new clients has been sued by Getty Images for over $17,000. Here the full listing on Google.com if you are interested in reading more people’s comments on this topic. Many are calling it a scam, but use of licensed images for unlicensed purposes puts you in a very tough spot.

The person who I know who got sued, used a pre-designed template from another resource. Unknown to them, the template they selected used an Getty Image. Clearly the template designer had not purchased a license to resell the image and that is why Getty Images sued this person.

What ended up happening was the client on advice from his attorney, shut down his website, closed his business under that name, abandoned his domain, and had to open a new business. Wow, that is pretty harsh action to be forced to take. What if this happened to you and you really didn’t want to close up shop?

I guess the big takeaway on this is, if you use a template design, you now need to confirm that the template you buy has bought the license to any images in the design and has transferred the license to you. It is not good enough that a license has been bought by the original designer for their use, but that you must be covered as well. In most cases this means the original designer must purchase an extended license particularly for resale and boy those type of licenses are expensive.

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Why I Love Live Messenger For My IM Application

I use Live Messenger for collaboration and quick access to my employees and independent contractors. I find it one of the easiest to use Instant Messaging tools and much better than AIM, Skype, or the myriad of other Instant Messaging applications – Why?

For me, I am a busy person, I don’t want to take time to learn a new application. I see the value of being connected, but don’t want a clumsy interface, too much set up, or difficulty in using the application. Additionally, I work with many writers, some of whom are writers only and not tech savvy at all. I needed, not only for me but my team, the simplest application to use, but one that was powerful as well.

I have been using Live Messenger for years to communicate immediately with my team and other teams for whom I myself provide contracting services for. Live Messenger is easy to install and set up. Options are not confusing, in fact unless you want to, you don’t even need to set them up, just use the default settings, and the interface is very simple and easy to use. Way easier to use than AOL’s AIM.

When my team is online I know they may have a question about a project and so I am always on Live Messenger. With team members all over the United States and some as far flung as Thailand and Sri Lanka, having instant access is wonderful.

But you don’t need to be out of the city to use Live Messenger. My new assistant works at a computer in another part of my office, not in my same room. With Live Messenger we can chat about any item without having to get up or phone. This is one terrific tool.

Here are just a few ways you might want to use Live Messenger:

1. Have your entire office be on Live Messenger, you get a call to check a credit balance for a customer IM your accounting department and get an answer while you are still on your phone call.

2. Working off hours? Got a question? Check to see if a team member is online, and ask it right then. You’d be amazed at how many people are still online after work and don’t mind a quick nudge.

3. Working in your home office? Your kids are in another part of the house, are they doing their homework or need to know the time for soccer practice? IM them on Live Messenger.

4. Want to stay in touch with your family around the country. It is fun to make an Instant Messaging appointment for everyone to logon at the same time and share information or stay in touch.

Instant Messaging is fun, fast, and a great tool for business. Now it’s time for you to check it out at www.Live.com go there and you can get the free download too.

P.S. I am not being paid for this review, just love the application and wanted to share it with you.

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The New Digg – The New Place To Be

I am watching the evolution of social bookmarking move from a link tool to a full fledged social platform. Digg is leading the charge with integration of new sharing and interaction features. You can check out my own Digg page and profile by visiting http://www.Digg.com/mccordweb.

I really like Digg’s new interface. I was able to update my profile and find new interesting articles to read and people to follow in a snap. Additionally I can see what is happening in my industry  in an overview from strong Digg placement rapidly. You can even tie in your blog, feed, Facebook and Twitter accounts to maximize interaction and exposure.

I use many tools to stay on top of what is happening in my industry – RSS feed subscription, forum reviews, Twitter Lists, and now Digg. I have to say I think Digg may end up being my most valuable tool from my early use of the application. Why? because it aggregates top new stories in my industries not just information from people who I have chosen to follow.

There is some terrific industry related content out there, but sometimes the hardest thing is to find out who to follow and to “dig” to uncover them. The new Digg makes it easy to see what is trending, I think, in an easier way than even Twitter hash tags.

Check out the new Digg for yourself and make sure to follow me at mccordweb and I will follow you if you leave your Digg profile name in my comments below.

See you on the new Digg! P.S. I am not being paid for this review, just think the new Digg is a totally cool new application to use.

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My Business Doesn’t Need to Have a Facebook Fan Page, Does It?

Oh, how wrong can you be. I talked recently to a marketing executive of a national firm and when the topic of Facebook Fan pages came up, his response was “only my wife uses Facebook my business doesn’t need one.”

Just this past week many news resources and even PC World Magazine reported that a users time on Facebook eclipsed the time spent on Google for the first time ever. Read the full article online. That makes Facebook simply too hard to ignore even if you personally think otherwise. The article states that a user spent 9.6% of their Web time on Google and 9.9% on Facebook in the month of August 2010. Additionally this is nearly double the amount of time spent on Facebook in August 2009. Facebook activity is a phenomena that cannot be ignored!

It is important to meet and greet customers and prospects where they are active., and they are active on Facebook and looking to connect there. For a business to not have a Facebook Fan Page, especially for nationally positioned and national selling firms, it is in my humble opinion a mistake. In many cases it is very important to be an early embracer of a new trend or technology to establish yourself as a market leader and innovator but at this juncture, Facebook is no longer new. Not getting in the game now may really come back to bite you as a missed selling opportunity.

As more people flock to Facebook I expect the numbers to continue to increase. Facebook would have to do something really terrible to stop the trend, and I really don’t expect that to happen do you?

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Yahoo is Going Away – Well at Least the PPC Part

This past weekend I sadly removed all information about Yahoo Search Marketing from my website. I have been a Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador for years and have offered Yahoo PPC set up and management services. MSN adCenter however is taking over the Yahoo PPC control panel and is already serving Bing ads and Bing search results on Yahoo.

A sad goodbye to Yahoo Search Marketing. I’ve seen plenty of changes over the years and have always felt that Yahoo PPC was a good product and in many cases had strong conversions for businesses who advertised there. But, I am looking forward to the changes that are ahead as Yahoo and Bing merge.

One thing that I have found as the transition from Yahoo to Bing continues this month is that the automated import from Yahoo to adCenter can be problematic for accounts that do not have a good account structure and which have not readied their ads. In one case that I just recently saw for a very large program, the keywords all came over but nearly none of the ad text imported.

Before you click to import your account to adCenter, make sure to review your Yahoo ad titles you must be at 25 characters including spaces to have your ads import. If you are at 40 which is what Yahoo had allowed, your ad text will most likely not import into adCenter.

So goodbye Yahoo we’ll miss you, but be savvy and prepare your Yahoo account before you migrate to adCenter. By the way, Bing says that most accounts will be fully migrated by the end of October or so. Bing and Yahoo want to have completed the change before holiday promoting and shopping for year end take place. – a smart move!

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