New Paypal Phishing Scam? “Your account has limitations – you can resolve this now”

Just had an email which appears to be from PayPal. Has the logo and comes from [email protected]

The first line says “Your account has limitations – you can resolve this now” and then:

You may have noticed that some limitations have been placed on your PayPal account. This is part of our security process and helps ensure that we continue to be a safer way to buy and sell. Often all that’s needed is a bit more information about you.

We know this can be frustrating but our aim is purely to protect you and your account. The sooner you provide the information we need, the sooner we can resolve the situation. We aim to review your account within 48 hours.

There is then a button to click to “Remove Limitation”.

The “Remove Limitation” but using a Google short URL to link to the destination: goo.gl/NZco0T

This seems unusual – why would Paypal do that? The link redirects to a website that looks like Paypal, but is on the domain s24sms.com

Here a screen shots of the email and the destination:

Email apparently from PayPal

Email apparently from PayPal

The page that looks like Paypal, but is s25sms.com

The page that looks like Paypal, but is s25sms.com

Maybe coicidence, but I am in the process of selling a car on ebay. Could this be connected? Was I targeted?

Or, it could be Paypal! At the moment I am not entirely sure, but am certainly going to err on the side of caution and not sign in to that page.

Tip: if in doubt go direct to Paypal.co.uk and sign in, and check your account for messages.

Hopefully Paypal will resolve this for us and confirm whether or not it is their website.

Update: I just looked at the s24sms home page – does not look like Paypal at all, in fact, it has the default Joomla! logo on it.

Testing the Google Publisher Plugin for WordPress

Google have created their own WordPress plugin to help WordPress site owners to more easily manage their advertising. Personally I have always been a fan of Ad Inserter, but I decided to disable that last night for a test. I took screen shots of the process. The ads are currently (17th Jan 2014) live on the site.  If you see a big skyscraper ad to the right >>>> in the side bar, it is probably the Google Publisher Plugin doing that.

Setting it up

The plugin is in WordPress, so just search for Google Publisher Plugin and you will see it at the top, its says Google Publisher Plugin (beta) version 0.1.0, by Google.

Google publisher plugin 7

Install it, activate it – you know the drill!

After you activate it you connect your Adsense account with your WordPress blog. Simple process of clicking OK. On the first run it will analyse your blog – I assume it is checking where it can insert adverts into the theme.

Google publisher plugin 0.2

 

Hit Verify ……

please wait …..

Google publisher plugin 0.3

 

You may get an error message: Verification failed.

Google publisher plugin 0.4

I cleared the Cache (use WP Super Cache) and that worked.

Google publisher plugin 0.5

 

Click “Manage ads” and it starts analysing the site ….

Google publisher plugin

If it detects some Adsense units already on the blog it will warn you and not allow more than three to be added.

Google publisher plugin 2

Here it detected an advert down the bottom. I removed that from the text widget to allow a full test.

Google publisher plugin 5

 

The red bubbles show where you can add adverts, click them to place an ad position, as shown by the big green box on the right. There is a drop down menu to the top left which lists homepage, Posts and Pages, so that you can have different ad layouts on different page types.

Google publisher plugin 4

 

Once you decide where you want the adverts to appear you hit save / OK and it applies the adverts to your site.

Google publisher plugin 3

 

Here is an example of ads live on the page. When I took the screenshot there was a huge advert in the content and a slim skyscraper on the right. Sometimes there is a small banner or a square in the centre, sometimes a fat skyscraper on the right.

 

Google publisher plugin 6

Positives:

Very easy to set up. Ads fill the pages and fit the screen nicely, example from another site I implemented on:

Google publisher plugin BEL

Negatives:

Cannot see a way to disable adverts for individual pages. A show stopper for me.

Not many placement options – only one in the content and too close to the top of the page for my liking – another show stopper for some sites (note, Webologist is one of the web’s least popular sites so it does not matter much!).

The Ad Inserter plugin allows you to place ads within the content after specific paragraphs and also allows individual or all adverts to be removed from specific pages. The plugin also allows you to specific or exclude categories, allowing you to place adverts for specific sections of a website, which may improve placements from advertisers.

However, this is the first incarnation of the Google Publisher Plugin and pretty nifty for a beta release. Hopefully we will see some interesting updates soon, maybe with integration for DFP too.

 

That’s it.

Most stupid guest post request of the day

I get a lot of people asking to publish their content on my website. Why they think their drivel is more valuable than my domain is beyond me. Today’s request is really a masterpiece in how not to suck at asking for a guest blog.

I am in two minds here. Do I show the full email or remove their name and website? Hmmmm.

Here it is. Added some *’s to disguise the Blogger.

Hello Admin,

Hope you are doing great..!!!

I am Alice M*s*n,Writer and Blogger.

I was gone through some  of the sites yesterday , from there I came across your site and I read your  site thoroughly. I came to know that you are also accepting guest post so that I am pitching you to share some new and unique ideas with your readers.

I like your blog very much and also wondering to be a part of your blog by sharing my articles on your blog.

I have articles on “Health” and I like to publish my articles on your blog. Please let me know your response so that I can send you a draft for review. If you need, you can check my articles on this sites :

http://thespiritualhealth.com/the-benefits-of-the-daily-prayer/

thespiritualhealth.com/what-are-the-ultimate-benefits-of-creatine-kinase/“.

Please review the links and let me know your response ASAP.
Waiting for your quick and positive response.

Thanks
Alice M*s*n

So, where did Alice go wrong?

Everybloodywhere!

My name is not admin. This would be really apparent to anybody who had looked at the site she was referring to (hint – not this site, but one related to healthy living).

Writer and Blogger? OK, good on a CV, maybe, or LinkedIn. But in an intro? Nah. I want to hear about skills and qualifications, e.g. I am a registered dietician and triathlete. That would be interesting person to have writing for me.

“I was gone through some  of the sites yesterday , from there I came across your site and I read your  site thoroughly.”

First line is poorly written, has double spaces in sentences, space before a comma, and makes little sense. Reads like crap and stinks of bullshit.

“I like your blog very much”.

This is the guest blogging equivalent of “Me love you long time

But the Pièce de résistance are the examples. “The Benefits of the Daily Prayer”. Ignoring the fact that it looks like they bought the web template from a eight year old on Fiverr, what a bizarre article to choose to give as an example. My health site attempts to cut out all the BS from health, and releigion certainly has no part (other than the importance of positive thinking in performance and the placebo effect of course).

But even that article is total nonsense.

“finishing it off with a daily prayer can be as relaxing and as re-energizing as a hot bath or even a short nap.”

Apart from being utter bollocks, why would anybody wish to finish off the day with a something akin to a power nap? Surely that would leave you suffering from insomnia.

This article was such tripe that I almost forgot to read their insightful review of creatine kinase, which is on the same website. This is more on topic, so lets see how good this expert in nutrition is….

Well, the article is poorly written drivel, with insights such as “CK plays a vital role in increasing hormonal growth to a greater extent” and “It truly adds up to speed and strength to recover number of diseases such as muscle atrophy, dystrophy and can also interact with caffeine and alcohol.”

But the most intriguing part is the author bio line:

“Steve Broomes is a health blogger, fitness entrepreneur and also works as a gym instructor”

Hey? So Alice is also called Steve?

All too confusing,

In the words of Duncan Bannatyne, I’m ooot.

UK Publishers can now benefit more from Adsense

google adsense partners badge

google adsense partners badgeGoogle has launched a new service called Google AdSense Certified Partners. Google have partnered with a select group of Internet marketing firms who specialise in helping publishers monetise their websites with Adsense.

Adsense is Google’s advertising network. How does it work? Businesses buy advertising space via the Adwords system. Google places these adverts in search results and on publisher websites. Google shares some of the earnings with the publishers (around 68% goes to the publisher, the rest to Google).

It is very easy to set it up for your blog or website and then leave it. So why the need for Certified Partners?

Like all things these days it can be optimised. Pasting the code into a template and then forgetting about it will earn a publisher some money, but the clickthrough rates and CPC’s will probably be low. It takes a lot of experimentation to get it right.

More importantly, Adsense Partners can offer their publishing clients a more targeted form of advertising which can attract higher paying advertisers. This is a bit complex (OK, what I really mean is that I don’t know how it is done) but it has something to do with utilising different networks within the Google advertising system.

What do AdSense certified partners do?

Currently the Google AdSense Certified Partners are dominated by overseas marketing firms, however, what is exciting for us (maybe just me?) is that there is now a UK company on the list: OKO Digital.

I asked Mat Bennett from OKO what it means to be an Adsense certified partner.

“AdSense certified partners don’t just deal with AdSense for content, but have to train and be certified in the whole range of AdSense products. This allows certified partners to highlight other products, such as custom search ads, AdSense for video and even AdMob mobile advertising that might benefit publishers, then assist with application, implementation and optimisation of those ads.

Partners can apply lessons learned from a wider range of sites, helping publishers “short-cut” that learning and see the benefit quicker.

The methods that partners use are so effective that many of them will work on a performance only basis. We are trained by Google, so publishers can be confident that they won’t be putting their account at risk with their attempts to optimise.”

They are down there at the bottom of the Google AdSense Certified Partners page, look!

At the moment this is probably a service for medium to larger publishers only. Small blogs probably will not benefit, but I guess (and I really am guessing now) that a website with at least 1000 unique visitors a day might benefit from this.

Guest Blogging – Avoid Crap Sites

guest blogging death

You may be tempted to guest blog to get “natural” links. Well, if you do, be careful.

A lot of low quality sites have moved into the guest blogging realm, both in receiving and submitting guest posts. Many sites look great on the surface, but in reality they are worthless, made for advertising, spam engines that deserve nothing better than an EMP grenade shoved up their virtual bottom.

This screenshot shows some of the “results” from guest blogging I did in 2012. For each guest post that I had published I added the URL to a private page in WordPress. With the excellent Broken Link Checker running all the time, I would be alerted to blog posts disappearing.

I soon got bored of checking the reports and soon learned that there is no point in contacting the host blogger to ask why the page was deleted. They never reply because they are mostly scum.

And that’s it. Lesson of the day – find a good website, build a relationship, offer a guest post. Some people call it outreach. I think I will call it talking to other people. Not all of the sites listed here are bad, just some. Some just delete posts without telling anybody, but they are OK. Just saying.

guest blogging death

 

This Is The Web, Not The End Of The Line

One thing that has really struck me in the last couple of years, mostly since I started guest blogging and receiving some guest posts, is that so many people seem to have forgotten that this is the web.

This series of HTML pages hosted on various computers for public viewing was termed the web because of the way websites would link to each other, so that people could find other related (and sometimes unrelated but interesting) sites to look at. Before the rise of the search engines and their predecessors, the web directories, this was how people discovered new websites – along with “word of mouth” of course, which would have been done via email and chat rooms.

However, today so many webmasters (why never the term web-journeyman or web-apprentice I wonder – everybody is a master from day 1?) consider the rest of the web to have one single purpose – to deliver visitors to their site, and end point on the web.

The trend of people writing about topics which they are not an expert in and then not referencing where their facts and opinions come from continues to rise. I receive so many requests for guest posts these days, and just the suggestion that they reference what they write sends most writers (or are then all content marketers now?) running.

I say, stop this silliness now! This is the web. If you wish to be favoured by it, ensure that you are a part of it.

Link to others as you would have them link to you! Do you really think that if you do not link to other websites all your readers will really respect that and stay forever on your site, clicking your ads and buying your products? No, of course not – they will still leave.

Linking out to other sites ensures that people can still surf the web - an art which is surely dying. Many newspapers are as much at fault for not linking out these days, it is not just affiliate bloggers and MFA webmasters. 

That’s all I have to say. Be a part of the web and maybe the web will like you the better for it.

How To Move The Twenty Twelve Sidebar to the Left

moving sidebar in twenty tweve theme

The blue highlighted “right” is about to be changed to “left”

I have just installed Twenty Twelve as Magazine Basic is doing funny things with my image map. But there is GUI to modify the layout of the page. So I had to delve into the dreaded CSS stylesheet!

Fortunately moving the sidebar to the left is easy in the TwentyTwelve theme. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to the theme editor, from Appearance > Editor select Style.css at the bottom (it is usually auto-selected).
  • Find the .site-content and .widget-area lines of CSS
  • Change the .site-content to float: right;
  • Change the .widget-area to float:left
  • Save it. Hey presto!

This will probably work in many other themes too.

 

Creating An Image Map With GIMP

Today I decided it was time I learned (or re-learned, I did it once before) how to make an image map. I searched the web for options and GIMP seemed to be the best one to go for as I use it for my image editing.

Here is the result:

Click the Place You Want To Go To

How To Make The Image Map

  1. Open an Image in GIMP
  2. Resize so that it fits on your web page – if your CMS auto-shrinks image this will screw it up (I think). I made mine 480px to be sure it would fit nicely
  3. Go to Filters > Web > Image Map
  4. Choose your shape – in the above example I just used rectangles.
  5. Use the mouse to place your shape. If using circle, start in the centre of the circle area.
  6. Once the shape is made, double click. This opens a box where you can add the URL (or other link) in the Link Tab and a onmouseover message in the Javascript tab.
  7. Once all shapes and URLs are added select View > Source
  8. Copy the source and paste into your website. Add the image URL where it says “<img src=”Untitled” width=”480″ height=”600″ border=”0″ usemap=”#map” />”
  9. If using WordPress you can upload an image to the Media Library and take the URL from there, or upload to the page and then strip out all other code to get the image path URL.
  10. Publish.

Problems and Annoyances

  1. The image map code below the image it creates a blank space which looks naff. Trying to find a solution to this. >>> I have moved the code to the bottom of the article, will see if WordPress has a post/page level footer insert plugin …. 
  2. I am struggling to get the onmouseover working. Solution / workaround:
  3. In WordPress use title=”” instead of onmouseover=”” to show text on hover.
  4. Some WordPress themes break image maps, e.g. Webologist usually uses Magazine Basic, but the position of the image if off line. Now using Twenty Twelve, which is a bit naff tbh.





Windows Security and the W3C Validators Telephone Scam

Just had a telephone call from India telling me they were representing the Windows Security Centre and that my Windows Inique ID had been shared with up to 4 other people, that my computer had been hacked and that my operating system would soon be switched off!

At first I thought that this was the old ZFSENDTOTARGET CLSID scam which I blogged about in 2010, but no, they have a faster way to scam you!

Today the scam ran as follows:

  • I was told the above – i.e. that my Windows ID had been hacked and I Microsoft were about to block my operating system in 18 hours time. However, they could fix it.
  • I asked the lady if it was illegal to have my Windows ID used by 5 other people, and she told me yes, it was. So I asked her to block it immediately and to be extra safe, I will throw my computer in the bin and buy a new one.
  • Once I agreed to use their services I was transferred to a 2nd person, this time a man who was apparently an engineer. He explained it all in much more detail. I asked how much it would cost, he could not tell me. He did say it would cost “29″, and after some encouragement he said “£29″, but that was the minimum price, the total price depended on how many errors I had. He then transferred me to a third man.
  • The third guy asked me to “open a Google page” and then in the Google search box to type “W3C validator“. This leads to the first result being validator.w3.org.
    • Note: Validator.w3.org is used by web designers to check that all their code is compliant with current HTML standards. If you put www.google.com into it you will see “23 Errors, 4 warning(s)
  • One the W3C is opened you are asked to enter your email address - yes, suddenly all the errors are in the email! Doing so in my case resulted in 14 errors, 1 warning. By this point  I was bored and told the man I had “25 million errors”. He said “25 errors?” and I said “no, 25 million” to which his response was “oh dear, that is really bad”. I was then told that this meant that my email account had also been hacked.
  • I then begged him to fix it, and tell me how much it would cost. He transferred me again, to the fourth man.
  • The 4th person turned out to be the 2nd person again. He told me I had a lot of errors, to which I replied “no I don’t, the W3C validotor is used for validating the HTML on websites and has nothing to do with my email account“. This did not deter him!
  • I asked again how much? and he replied “29 euro dollars”. To which I said “what??? dollars????” and he said “sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, I made a mistake, I mean pounds“. Phew!
  • I then noticed that it was time to get my son from playschool, so said “bye, gotta go”.
  • I got as far as the front door and the first lady (not Obama’s wife) phoned me back to say she had my new Windows code. I said “thanks, please email it over, your colleague has my email address – I put it into your error tool” and hung up. They did not call back.

So, a new scam circulating. Sounds like the same people (Indian call centres) being used to sell dodgy software or services which will likely cause a lot more harm than good.

Remember: Microsoft will never call you.

The W3C Markup Validation Service

Note: a tool for web designers only, not for checking errors on your computer or email account.

wc3 validor scam

The Past, Present And Future Of The Mobile Gambling Industry

Mobile gamingThe mobile gambling market is a massive industry and one of vital importance to gambling and sports betting brands alike. Although the mobile market is relatively young, its popularity has already been hugely influential on gaming trends.

Players have begun to move away from their PC devices and have focused their attentions on smartphones and tablets. Experts are predicting a huge influx of mobile gamblers, with combined mobile and tablet sales reaching 1.9 million last year, and outperforming traditional PCs by five times. According to Gartner, 470,000 tablets and 2.1 million mobiles will be sold in 2017, meaning that mobile gambling could outperform more traditional methods of betting.

Mobile experts Juniper Research have revealed that mobile gaming is the fastest performing sector in the gambling market as a whole, with the mobile gambling market expected to be worth over $100 billion by 2017. This growth is due to the increase in smartphone access, with two-thirds of the British population now owning one of these mobile devices.

Prior to the rise in smartphone technology, access to online gambling products was limited. According to Poker.co.uk: “The advancement in technology and rise in popularity of smartphone devices has allowed… players to enjoy their favourite games through mobile applications that are downloadable straight to their phones.” The site went on to state that this move has boosted the online gambling industry, as “not only does the move into mobile gambling applications give players easier access to their favourite…games without having to compromise on their gaming experience, but it also provides financial benefits” for the gambling operators.

However, as the online gambling industry in the UK approaches the £2 billion mark problem gambling is set to increase. The number of British people at risk of developing issues with gambling has reached almost one million, whilst gambling addicts have doubled in the course of six years, standing at nearly 500,000. However, new proposals to the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill were announced in the Queen’s Speech. These changes increase the regulation that gambling operators face and will give players better protection, as for the first time UK and overseas operators will have to inform the UK Gambling Commission of suspicious betting patterns and help fund efforts to stop them.

Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and Tourism stated that the changes “are an important measure to help address concerns about problem gambling and to bridge a regulatory gap, by ensuring that British consumers will enjoy consistent standards of protection, no matter which gambling site they visit.”

As legislation adapts to protect consumers from the possible effects of easier access to real money gambling, the mobile gambling industry continues to grow despite increased regulation, thanks in no small part to constant technological advancements.

As technology improves all the time, we may soon get to the point where [mobile] outperforms the traditional PC as the preferred mode of placing a bet, playing poker or enjoying various casino-type games,” states Brian Wright, the Director of the Remote Gambling Association. “Ever since the launch of 3G data services, mobile gambling has been a key priority for operators as they concentrate on delivering new betting experiences for their customers. In terms of the future, the rollout of 4G phones, with its ultra-fast wireless connection will only see the importance and popularity of mobile gambling grow further in the years to come.

Extending Your Internet At Home And Connecting Your TV iPlayer

Victoria Wood's Nice Cup Of Tea on iPlayer

Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup Of Tea – on iPlayer, my Television, downstairs far away from my Internet router!

Last month I return to BT. In fact, it is the first time BT has been my ISP (Interner Service Provider). Anyway, as Entanet could not offer me unlimited broadband I bought BT’s new Unlimited Infinity service. It means my Internet speed has increased from 16Mb/s to around 36 MB/s too. Although so far I have not actually noticed any major difference. So, to the set up.

Like all BT Infinity customers I have my Internet coming through a new face plate on the wall. Main bonus of this means that there is no longer a need for an ADSL microfilter for each telephone.

Now, my Internet comes into the upstairs office. I have a Netgear Wireless Access Point connected to the BT Home Hub 3 (free with Infinity, it comes with 4 ethernet ports – I use 2 for computers, 1 for wireless access point and 1 for the powerline homplug), because the wireless connection on the Home Hub was not good enough to reach the living room (at least, not a strong signal). But this did not allow me to connect my Humax Foxsat HDr 320Gb Freesat Hd Recorder + Iplayer to the Internet so I could not watch BBC iPlayer or the ITV player on the box.

The Solution – Powerline Homeplugs

I think “Powerline” and “Homeplug” were actually 2 different standards but they are now one and the same, at least that is what I understand from reading Wikepedia’s page on HomePlug Powerline Alliance and also the www.homeplug.org/home/ website.

These plugs allow you to extend your Internet over your electrical wiring at home. They come in various shapes and sizes, from simple 85Mbps plus to 200Mbps and 500bps. Some also have wireless on them too, and some are “pass through” which simple means that you can plug other devices into them, so do not lose a plug socked.

I was a little worried that it wound not extend downstairs as I have a few circuits in the home, but I think now that all plugs is on the same circuit (kitchen may be separate).

 TP-Link AV500 Powerline

TP Link AV500 Powerline

I ignored the manual and the cd (a really little one!) and just plugged in. All works fine.

After a lot of reading around I opted for TP-Link AV500+ Gigabit Powerline Adapters with AC Pass Through (Model TL-PA551KIT). I got the starter kit with two in, which is the minimum.

I chose the TP-Link AV500 because it is the fastest one on the market and has the AC pass throughs. As I also had a spare wireless router there was no need to pay extra for built in wireless. It also means that I have another 3 ethernet ports on downstairs which can be used for other computers if I need a faster connection.

You simply connect one it to a wall socket near your Internet router and the other in a wall socket wherever you need it – behind the satellite box / television, by another computer etc. Connect the first to your router and the other to your PC or television / set-top box as normal. Hey presto, instant Internet!

Adding Wireless

Belkin router with wireless

Note: only the Router and Wireless lights should show, not the ADSL as it is not picking up the external Internet connection, just extending from your other router.

I had a spare router, so I added my Belkin wireless router to the downstairs socket, and then connect the router to the Humax box. I had to set up the wireless again though, so had to reconnect it to my PC, go to http://192.168.2.1/index.htm (where the Belkin router settings / admin are available) and enable wireless. I decided to change the router wireless ID to “Downstairs” so that it was clear which wireless was which (although the other is still NETGEAR).

If you chose a powerline / homeplug with wireless this will all be set up for you already. I only chose one wihout as I have a spare wireless router.

That is it really. So to recap:

Your Internet Router Connects to the first Homeplug (as well as your PC, wireless router etc.).

Your other Homeplug connects to a Wireless Router

The Wireless Router connects to your television / set-top box.

Of course, if you do not want extra wireless, you just connect the homeplug straight into your television / set-top box which has iPlayer or similar.

See iPlayer on the Downstairs Tele in Action!

This is possibly one of the worse videos you will ever watch. Blurry, shakey, no sound etc. The aim of the video is to demonstrate that iPlayer does indeed now work on the downstairs TV. I put on The Adventures of Abney and Teal as that is one of my son’s favourites at the moment. Big bonus – I no longer need to fill up the hard drive with Cbeebies programs!

Basic WordPress Security

I run several WordPress sites which have not been updated for ages. None have been hacked.

I feel the need for a new blog post…. 

WordPress Security

I do this for all my sites and the only time I have been hacked was when I installed an image uploader plugin which had a vulnerability.

Plugins

Pick your plugins wisely. Many plugins, and also some themes, can carry vulnerabilities. Often the problems are caused by a small part of the plugin or theme. While the core plugin may be fixed / patched, plugins which use the core files are often left out of date and vulnerable.

TimThumb is a good example of this. The actual TimThumb plugin (a php image resizer) is safe now, but older plugins and themes which used the original TimThumb code are still open to hackers.

Avoid plugins which have not been updated for a long time, especially those which allow users to uploaded or edit content. Image uploaders are common problem.

Whitelist Your IP

Add a .htaccess file to your wp-admin directory with the following (IP addresses are made up, you should change these to your own):

<Files ~ “\.(php)$”>
order deny,allow
deny from all
# whitelist Range of IP addresses – office and home
allow from 62.239.0.0
allow from 44.239.0.8
</Files>

You can also add IP ranges – I do not have a static IP at home, but by adding ranges for my ISP I can still access even when my IP changes.

How To Succeed At Crowdfunding

A Guest Post from Midwest Investment NetWork.

Entrepreneurial finance has seen rapid changes in the past few years. The future is very bright indeed for crowdfunding or rather reward-based crowd funding. In reward-based crowdfunding, you cannot offer someone a share of your company’s future profits. In return for contributions, you can either offer your supporters an intangible benefit (such as a thank you, a mention of the contributor’s name in credits, inclusion of name in online supporter list, etc.) or a tangible benefit such as T shirts, an autographed book copy, a download of your movie or music as a reward for contributing to your project.

While crowdfunding is a great way to raise capital, a lot of preparation and thought must go into creating a crowdfunding campaign that will actually bring in the money.

Speak to people who have crowdfunded

If you know someone who has succeeded in raising money through crowdfunding, you can speak to that person and get some advice. The most important ingredient that most people who were successful at crowdfunding will attest to is hard work. Before your campaign goes underway, try to get a team together and share responsibilities. Someone should always be available to speak to people and answer questions that your supporters may raise online.

All contributions should be public

Let’s consider that you want to make a short film and you need money to produce it. Normally, you would approach your family and some friends to back your project financially. You can approach your family and friends but wait for until the project is launched and then ask to contribute to your project through your online page.

Unlike traditional businesses, with crowd funding, people often contribute to your project publicly. Note that more raised inside of your campaign, more traction the project achieves and more support you get from people who are yet undecided whether they should support your project or not.

Don’t Be Anonymous

Note that your supporters are not only interested in your project; they also want to know about you. Crowdfunding campaigns should never be run anonymously. Upload pictures. Better still connect through Facebook. Update your profile. If it is appropriate, you can also reach out to groups who might take a special interest in your project, not only for financial support but also to promote your project in their areas of influence.

Prepare a Break-Even Analysis

If you are crowdfunding through a popular portal, and you have decided that you want a certain amount of money, note that you may have to pay transaction costs and commissions to the site, after the campaign gets funded successfully. You may also have to produce the rewards (especially tangible ones) and deliver them.

A break-even analysis can help you understand if your target is too low. Keep your rewards unique. As the funding is underway, post updates regularly, and keep your supporters involved throughout. Address their concerns and answer questions promptly. Note that if you plan another campaign sometime later, you might need their help again.

Featured images:

The guest post was written by Mike from midwestinvestmentnetwork.com. Mike is an expert in raising start up capital for companies online and offline as an entrepreneur himself. 

5 Fundamental Link Building Mistakes In 2013

It’s an unfortunate reality that SEO isn’t an exact science. It’s also a skill in an industry that is constantly evolving. We’re all taught different strategies during our careers; however these are often dependant on either budget, or the previous experience of your superiors.

As an affiliate marketer my initial understanding of link building was non-existent, but over the years I focused on uncovering “the secrets of link building” which progressed very quickly from directory submissions to outreach, link bait and other strategies that are still working to this day.

In this post I’d like to dispel some of the most common link building errors that I still see on a regular basis. In a post-penguin world we all need to be a bit more careful and acknowledge that link building en-masse simply isn’t a sustainable strategy.

1 – Not Linking Out

It’s a common misconception that linking to external sites is bad for your SEO. This usually manifests itself in three forms: A loss of organic visibility, loss of pagerank or losing the user to an external site.

However most sites brand and authority sites link to external resources. Below is a snippet from one of the BBC’s latest news articles. It contains 4 external links, none of which are “nofollow’d”. Wikipedia includes citations and external links whenever appropriate as well.

As long as you’re not linking out to malware infested, pop-up loving sites that revolve around adult entertainment and illegal content, odds are you’ll be increasing your visibility within the SERPS rather than decreasing it.

2 – Focusing on One Link Building Strategy

A few years back directory submissions were the flavour of the month, article submissions had their 5 minutes of fame and blog commenting pre-nofollow days resulted in outstanding results.

Diversity is key when actively building links. Natural profiles usually consist of a mixture of all types of links, earned and built as well as anchor text diversity (covered below).

What’s the current strategy of choice?

A lot of SEO strategies are now increasingly reliant on guest posting. While there is no fundamental issue with high quality guest posts submitted to on-topic sites with genuine reader bases, the issue occurs when agencies and service sellers start trying to mass-produce guest posts, cutting costs and quality suffers.

Diversify your link building strategies, aim to get editorially earned links, share your content freely and encourage sharing both socially and via outreach.

3 – Lack of Anchor Text Diversity

In high competition niches, anchor text abuse is a common sighting. Insurance websites are particularly guilty of heinous crime.

Looking at the top 10 results for Car Insurance in the UK you can see just how heavily they weigh on exact match anchor text.

Larger brands will get away with this to a certain degree, but those that are too obvious will be penalised. Try to build brand led links and semantically related anchor text, and don’t forget your “junk” terms like “click here” etc.

4 – Focusing Heavily on “DoFollow” Links

Matt Cutts has stated on numerous occasions that the nofollow attribute results in a link not passing along PageRank, it also results in the anchor text being ignored, except on the odd occasion due to a bug.

However, one could argue that having a link profile that consisted entirely of “dofollow” links would also look abnormal.

Once again I’ve taken a look at the top 10 results for “car insurance” in the UK and you can see the percentage of NoFollow links varies wildly from 1.41% up to 30.86%.

Other case studies have shown that building NoFollow links has resulted in an overall increase to visibility. This could however be due to another algorithmic factor that takes the number of do/nofollow links into consideration. When building links, where possible, try to get a dofollow link, but don’t neglect the benefits of a nofollow link from certain sites.

5 – Using Public Link Networks

It seems a given, but every few months Google comes around and wipes another popular link network of the face of the planet. The Russian SAPE network is rumoured to be one of the next networks to be taken down, but as of yet it still seems to be working.

@dannysullivan @seocom just another day at the office for me. :) Okay, gotta look at some really naughty Russian link selling software now.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 13, 2013

It should go without saying, but using network links on your client sites is not only immoral, but it reduces the credibility for other SEO’s that put the hard work in. If you can’t rank the site legitimately, then don’t risk your client’s livelihood over a couple of bucks.

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Sebastian Cowie is a freelance SEO expert and founder of SebastianCowie.com. He spends most of his time focusing on link building strategies and working on his affiliate projects. He occasionally comes of out of SEO hermit hole and if you’re lucky, you may catch one of his contributions on SEO sites around the globe.

E-Faux Pas: Wonderful Blunders Of The Tech Kind

The E-Faux Pas is one of the most painfully embarrassing developments of the technological age, and one of the most common, too. We’ve all been there: The colour drains from your cheeks, you break into a cold sweat and that the rush of panic runs through your body like a freight train. And it usually happens because you’re not paying attention or using your common sense when you’re using technology.

There are great stories out there about the technological social faux pas, and more often than not, they are absolutely hilarious. Texting your Mum instead of your girlfriend? Ouch. E-Mailing your boss instead of a work colleague when you’re feeling particularly venomous towards them that day? Painful. When it’s not you who’s committing these crimes of social embarrassment, they make for fantastic tales to tell. When it happens to you, the likelihood is that you are likely to disappear from the face of the earth for a while. If people want to find you, they should check under the sand, because that’s where your head will be buried.

Text Message

“Hey sexy, how r u? Looking forward to seeing you later for a party for two. Xxx”

Text sent.

To your Mum.

Time to look for somewhere else to live.

Mobile phones should come with an Artificial Intelligence ‘Don’t Be an Idiot’ function that is somehow able to work out when you are being a muppet and sending a text to the wrong person, because human beings certainly don’t seem to have this function.

How many times have you been sent a text message that simply reads: “I don’t think that text was meant for me” and felt the sickness and panic take over your body, before quickly running through your sent box to find the incriminating evidence. This is sometimes down to a lack of awareness, but often it is because of alcohol, the arch-villain of common sense and instigator of the worst e-faux pas’.

Social Media

Once a couple of Shandy’s have found their way into your bloodstream, you may suddenly feel the urge to tell everybody on your phone and on your social media profiles that you love them… or the opposite. Looking through a drunk persons Twitter feed or Facebook statuses reads like the ramblings of a person who is desperately aiming for an entry into the Stupidity Hall of Fame.

When you wake up the next day and check over your activity, it is not uncommon to find a few Likes or Retweets, a few ‘Tut-Tut’ style responses, a few declarations of war, and a few less Followers… And that’s if you’re lucky. It’s from this moment that the awkwardness and apologies begin.

Leaving the alcohol induced stories out of the equation; there are plenty of social media faux pas that can happen without being intoxicated. There is the now legendary cautionary tale of the girl who took to Facebook to complain about her boss, only to be met with a response from the boss, who she had clearly forgotten she had added as a Friend. D’oh. So many other people have made similar errors; they just haven’t gone quite as viral as that social media cock-up classic.

E-Mail

E-mails – like text messages – can quite easily be misconstrued if they are short and to the point or use words that could come across as aggressive or negative. Spelling and grammar errors certainly don’t help. In 2007, whilst working for a Business Travel company, James Francis was sending an email to a client about a particular booking that he had arranged with a hotel, and the purpose of the email was – for all intents and purposes – to show off and seek praise.

This would have been great, had the email not been signed off with: “Kind Retards, James Francis.”

Political incorrectness aside, it must have been slightly confusing when the client checked his emails and found a nice long email detailing his hotel booking, only to be met with an admission with James Francis was very complimentary about the mentally challenged.

Did James get a response?

“It was completely ignored,” he said. “But I wanted to die. I kept reading the email in my Sent items, hoping that the next time I looked at the email it would somehow change to ‘kind regards’ and my heart could go back to less than a million beats per minute. It was horrible.

There you have it, three different kinds of social faux pas crimes, all committed via technology. We’ve all been there, and the chances are we’ll be there again. Let us know your e-faux pas (if you dare) below:

Sophie works alongside Abtec (www.abtecnet.com), a company specialising in IT support in Leicester, Birmingham and Leeds. Over the years she has fallen foul of a few tech-based blunders herself, therefore understands the importance of checking before you send!