Sony Hack Could Have Been Prevented

It is one thing to hack an online business and another to hack a brick and mortar business. Target and Home Depot were hacked for hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers. It bothers me our credit card numbers from brick and mortar transactions were accessible via the internet.

Then we have the latest horrible hack on Sony Pictures. It is one thing to hack into their e mail and quite another to hack into a database that was hosted within the same server system their internet communications were hosted on.

These hacks are getting ridiculous. Why did Sony store personal information like social security numbers on a server that could be tapped via the internet?

I have three computers. One for e mail and internet connectivity. One for gaming. And another computer that is not hooked up to the internet. I have three external hard drives that I use for personal storage and I use three encrypted cloud services for business data.

Sure somebody could hack my e mail account but my personal data is unhackible. The moral of the story is to compartmentalize business and personal data and get better security.

 

 

 

Protect your personal online branding

In reviewing the online marketing strategies of real estate agents, I am amazed at how many realtors have not registered their personal name as a domain. At the very least, if you are a Realtor, you need to register your .Realtor domain. Today though I am not here to address Realtors.

I have a friend who is a semi-pro athlete. I was thinking that he may move to that next level this year and I was curious if he had registered his personal name domain. After a search I found his name domain was available. It had never been registered. I figured I would give he and his wife a heads up and suggest at the very least, they register this domain for any future licensing or merchandizing that may come his way.

I never heard back and ran across him today. I asked him if he had thought about what I had suggested. He stated to me that this was not important as he did not not feel he was going to make it to that next level. A semi-pro sports figure making that kind statement does not a winner make. Seriously? He has been working his entire life to get the Golden Ticket. He has been moving up in the ranks. And he does not expect to get there? So then I asked him if he did not make it and had to work a regular job, would he ever be self employed? Might he be a business owner one day? Maybe in some kind of sales position? Maybe as a coach or speaker?

Nope. No motivation. Totally lacked any success drive. Beside myself. In my opinion, unless you plan on retiring from Wal-Mart one day you really need to think about your online presence. Your online reputation. If your name is available, buy it. If you are a coach or team owner and find out that one of your star athletes has this kind of a losing attitude, do not contract them next year.

 

Max, the dog that loved popcorn

Max Dog PopcornSo the girls are at an Andre Bocelli concert tonight. I am chilling at home. I open a bottle of Cabernet, prepare a plate of rye crisp, Gouda cheese, red onion and thinly sliced organic chicken breast I purchased from Sprouts today. Twas a great start to the evening.

I have 4 screens up on my desk. G Mail, Centurylink, World of Tanks and 12 WordPress tabs from websites I am working on. Something is missing. Popcorn.

As I walk downstairs, and then through the kitchen, angling right toward the pantry, I am slightly hesitant as I seek out the implements of my desire. Hesitant at the pain and sorrow I am about to experience within making of something as simple as popcorn.

Max loved popcorn. We called it “poppy corn”. I would grab the air popper and place the popcorn kernels in the tray as Max would run to the kitchen in anticipation of what was to come.

As the air popper occasionally spit out a fully completed, perfectly popped, Orville Redenbacher, white and fluffy goodness onto the floor, Max would always be there for “clean up on isle 2″.

Max became a popcorn snob. I would usually prepare two bowls of popcorn. One with and one without butter. Kathy and I would sit in bed watching a movie like The Legend of 1900. We would throw pieces of popcorn off the bed and for some reason Max would place a priority on the popcorn I would throw from the butter bowl.

I found Kerrygold, Irish, Organic butter. Who knew you could take buttery popcorn to a higher level. Max recognized this as well. he was his dad’s son.

Tonight, alone in the house, I was sad. Max was not here to hump my leg in anticipation of such buttery goodness. There was no dog to clean up after me. No dog to stare at me, waiting for that first throw of poppy corn. Just sadness as I had to put Max down from a blood disease a couple of weeks ago.

I miss Max. My family misses Max. Making popcorn on a Friday night will never be the same.

 

Federal Trade Comission Rules on TRUSTe

Have you ever been on a website of commerce and seen a logo at the bottom of the page communicating to you that this was a TRUSTed website to do business with? Turns out their logo may have been on the websites of companies that were not reviewed on a regular basis.

From the FTC document, “This matter involves respondent’s marketing and distribution of a variety of online privacy seals (“seals”) for companies to display on their websites. The FTC complaint alleges that respondent violated Section 5(a) of the FTC Act by falsely representing to consumers the frequency with which it reviews and verifies the practices of companies displaying its website and mobile seals. Specifically, the complaint alleges that from June 1997 until January 2013, respondent failed to conduct annual re-certifications for almost 1,000 companies holding respondent’s TRUSTed Websites, COPPA/Children’s Privacy, EU Safe Harbor, TRUSTed Cloud, TRUSTed Apps, TRUSTed Data, and TRUSTed Smart Grid seals. In addition, the complaint alleges that respondent provided to its sealholders the means and instrumentalities to misrepresent that respondent is a non-profit corporation. The FTC complaint describes, with specificity, that following respondent’s transition to a for-profit corporation in July 2008, respondent re-certified numerous clients whose privacy policies continued to describe TRUSTe as a non-profit entity.”

No matter the logo at the bottom of the page, look for business reviews on Google and Yelp. Reputation is everything.

 

Yevo is in Pre-Launch

Yevo is in prelaunch. What is Yevo you ask? It is a direct sales company specializing in the sale and distribution of health food products. Food. Meals.

As a co-founder of Nuriche which represented a superior product line, only to have the company mismanaged into oblivion, no other companies have caught my eye for quality nutrition other then Rezealient Living for nutritional supplements.

After reviewing the initial product line during prelaunch, Yevo has legs. Most impressive is the corporate leadership.  Chip Marsland is the product formulator. Billionaire Peter Castleman is the Chairman of the Board.

The formal launch is on February 1st. You can sign up for Yevo now and your money is not billed until February 1st.

Please see this video for more information

 

 

As a Realtor, how can you NOT have an IDX on your website?

I was contacted recently by a “High End” luxury real estate agent in Southern California. They did not have their own website, only a domain pointing to their bio page on their brokers website. This agent decided it was time to get a website as this agent was going to be on local television quite a bit and already had guest slots on local television news with an extensive video library on Youtube.

With this type of publicity, of course you need to have your own website with your own unique branding. A website you own! I started out with an enthusiastic assistant and then a few hours later, got to speak to the agent. They had spoken to another company that was offering a WordPress real estate website but with a monthly management fee of only $50 per month.

I asked if this included an IDX and the agent told me they did not want an IDX. What? I was taken aback. Other then listing agents that just want to feature THEIR properties, all Realtor websites have to have an IDX.

An IDX is the “Internet Data Exchange” and is how MLS listings end up on a website.

Also known as Broker Reciprocity, IDX encompasses the policies, rules, and software that allow listings from the MLS database to be displayed publicly. Anytime you see properties on a website that came from an MLS, it was made possible through IDX.

Most real estate agents and brokers use IDX to simply display MLS listings or home search tools on their website, but as home buyers have become more Internet-savvy, IDX has evolved to encompass more. Agents today have the option to use basic home search tools provided by their MLS, or build more advanced IDX solutions; usually with the help of an IDX vendor.

As a professional real estate marketing provider, I see websites as tools. Statistics show the highest percentage of first-time site visitors just want to search for a house. This is why the Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia’s of the world exist. If you do not give your site visitor the opportunity to search for a home on your website, you are either cheap or have no understanding of how to utilize the internet to market your business.

 

You really expect to SEO for real estate with an I-framed website?

It is hard enough trying to SEO for “(name of city) real estate” due to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, Movoto, ZipRealty and homes.aol taking up most of the page one organics.

Maybe you are doing everything right. You have a domain that you own and a webisite that may have been provided by your franchise, broker or a third-party real estate marketing company. You are creating content every week with blogging, adding longtail sub-communities, buyer/seller tips, RSS feeds, social media and an IDX.

When you look at your site, everything looks normal to the viewer but what if most of the content of your website is invisible to the search engines? You can actually run a Google search on your domain to see how many pages have actually been indexed. You might be surprised.

Today a prospect had me look at their site. The IDX was being fed by Wolfnet. There were some components fed by Brandco. However, when I would look at the page source of ANY page, all I saw was 17 lines of html with <iframe> code. My first clue was the fact the URL never changed when I went to other internal links on the site.

You wont get unique URLs because the page isn’t changing and the URL that it is on has no actual content and therefore no SEO value.  Unique URLs can be searched on and have value of their own especially when using semantic URL names (permalink structure).  So essentially this prospect’s pages have no SEO value.

iFramed sites cannot be crawled the same as hard coded page content. This is damaging to the real estate web site if the information users are looking for is contained within an iframe. Though the user can see the content, it is likely that it will not be crawled. This means that keyword-rich content within an iframe cannot help your site ranking. If you are using iframe to display the content on your web pages, it will be much harder to rank in the search engines.

Web spiders may be able to enter an iframe but once they have begun crawling the iframe they may not exit the iframe to crawl the rest of the site. This means that even though there are other pages on your site, that they might not be indexed. This could result in a fewer pages being indexed by the search engines.

If you hover over a link on the site you are looking at, in the lower left corner of the browser window you may be able to see the url your site is actually pulling data from. In this case, when I hovered over a blog link, I could see the blog was installed in a sub-domain rather then the preferred sub-directory(for SEO value of the primary domian. This will be discussed in a future post.

I also noticed the IDX was I-Framed as well which brings up a whole other issue I will address soon about allowing the search engines to index the MLS through your suite as if you owned the MLS.

If you want me to review your website, please fill out the contact form on the right.

 

 

Japanese ice breaker Shirase runs aground off Antarctica

It has been reported via Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd tonight that the Japanese ice breaker Shirase aground antarcticaShirase has run aground after it struck a rock in the sea approximately 700 km from the Russian Molodyozhnaya Antarctic observation station in the Antarctic.

Though the Japanese Government vessel has been reported as taking on sea water, its double hull has prevented it from sinking. It is reported the Shirase will try to break free from a rock at high tide.

The context this story was originally reported in had to do with the impeccable safety record of the Sea Shepherd fleet throughout all of their anti-poaching campaigns in the Antarctic waters compared to this mishap.

It is alleged, helicopters from the Shirase supported the illegal Japanese whaling mission landed military personnel on-board the Japanese refueling tanker during last year’s campaign.

As a PR/marketing guy as of this moment I have not seen ANY news on this incident. I personally feel this event resulted from poor seamanship on the part of the leadership commanding this Ice Breaker. And the leadership was most like pressured from the Japanese Government in the justification of the illegal Japanese whaling presence in the Southern ocean.

 

 

Social Media Data-Mining, Localized Research, Market Audience Analysis, and Narrowcast Engagement Requirements

This is mostly an SEO experiment Marty, on the title used by the US Army, who is looking for bids on, “Social Media Data-mining, Localized Research, Market Audience Analysis, and Narrowcast Engagement Requirements”.

My clients know I search the news outlets for breaking news and I was first made aware of this story on the DrudgeReport called, “Secret Military Contractors Will Soon Mine Your Tweets“. It seems the Army said it wants a contractor to “provide detailed social media research and analysis, on-the-ground native research and analysis, and customized social media website development and execution.”

This is essentially a bid request for data mining within social media to identify violent extremist influences around the world. It seems our online activities are already an open book for not only Intel but marketing as well. Hey, if you are not planning on taking over the world and you are keeping your nose clean, roll with it.

 

Here’s my Facebook movie. Algorithm or magic?

facebook movieToday on Facebook everybody started posting their “Here’s my Facebook Movie” with the invitation to create YOUR Facebook movie here: https://facebook.com/lookback

Facebook has created personalized slideshows for users, but this project marks the first time the company has made customized videos. A small team at Facebook spent the last few months crafting the videos and ensuring the company had the resources to render them for most of the network’s 1.2 billion users.

At first I thought the Facebook users chose the images and posts used in the video. However when I saw mine, I was blown away with how family-centric the movie was. I went through at least 40 other Facebook movies posted by 3600 plus Facebook friends and somehow, most of the videos are very sweet and focused on family.

I would love to know the details on how the FB process in creating these videos.

 
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