Author Archive: Sarah King

Crushing It… still so very relevant…

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Users on digitalpoint often ask “What niche is profitable right now?” and my response is always “Follow your passion. If you don’t believe in your topic then you won’t get far”. It goes without saying that, for them, my answer is the “wrong answer”. Chasing the dollar is a pretty soulless way to operate.

I’ve been watching how people use the internet to make names for themselves ever since I first went online back in the ’90s. I’ve been frustrated by my husband’s humbleness that has stopped him from utilising his already high profile within his industry while others have done it incredibly well – however it has seemed that in his world, the loud and proud are not what they seem – something their clients only realise after its too late.

Back in 2004 Shawn Hogan was well known in the fledgling SEO community and when users became disenfranchised by SEOChat (alot of us were still on dial up and the ads were huge) he started his own internet marketing forum which is huge. He tied it to his company and had lots of free tools which drew people in.

By 2006 Jeremy Schoemaker was making his presence felt under the name “Shoemoney”. He decided to take it up a notch and had tshirts printed. I was envious of his ability to go to conferences in the US and of his energy. He lives and breathes his topic. By believing in his brand Shoemoney is now a huge resource for bloggers interested in monetizing their sites.

Being a big believer in open source, blogging and sharing information freely I haven’t been big on buying books about online marketing. Back in ’99 I used to go to Tech Books in Newmarket and elbow my way through the crowds filling the aisles to the books I wanted to read, pore over them to decide which were valuable and then spend over a hundred dollars a book. Today the shop is gone and I haven’t bought a programming text book this century.

Audio books, however, have caught my attention. They’re essentially podcasts and I like having them on my phone and being able to listen when I’m alone in the car. Audible.com had a sale on last week and they highlighted that a book that was in my wishlist was included in the sale so I hopped online and bought it.

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

Gary Vaynerchuk published this book back in ’09 and the audio book came out in ’10 and he updates the book throughout where he thinks things have changed. By now things have moved on even more. There was no Google+ then and Orkut is now gone (not sure what the Brazilians are using now).

Don’t let the age of the book put you off reading or listening to it – the guts of the book apply today. I’m going to summarise the key points the way I see it but Gary embelishes from his own experience and really gets the point across.

  • be passionate about your subject
  • be 100% committed
  • choose your medium
  • don’t be afraid of hard work

Obviously his book goes into way, way more than that but I see kids in Pakistan saying they want to do a Hollywood Celebrity blog because they think adsense pays well.  There is no way that that kid is going to do well because all the material is going to begged, borrowed or stolen. Now if the kid lived and breathed Hollywood Celebrity and had the knack of interpreting tweets and photo opportunities to know that a relationship was on the rocks etc and published that before anyone else, that blog would be interesting and successful no where the blogger lived. The key difference is passion!

On a personal level, I’m wondering if my passion is actually helping others shine and coaching them on how to use the internet well. I’ve made a start in a couple of areas where the “client” is receptive the message and can see the long term benefits. I’m ready for a change so I’ll be mulling my future direction over and re-listening to the book.

Google searches with 2012 on the rise

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Some things never change but for others time plays an important role. When I search for technical info the web is now so mature that, increasingly, I’m adding 2012 onto my queries so that the date of the information becomes an important search criteria.

I thought I’d take a look at Google Trends for the last 5 years and sure enough, the “trend” to add the current year is catching on.

What is astounding is that there is a tail off effect at the beginning of the following year. A likely explanation would be that people are searching for corporate or sports results from the previous year rather than news or technical information.

Are you doing that too?

Akismet.org blacklist is a toothless threat?

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I’ve been a user of Akismet right from when it was in Beta and running under a completely different name – it is so good I can’t imagine turning it off. I’m surprised, though, that spammers don’t take the threat of being blacklisted more seriously. I know I’d be seriously pissed off if I hired someone to promote my site and they got me banned! Read the rest of this entry »

Dimwitted Blog Comments shouldn’t be mistaken for genuine interest

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A few months ago I was lucky enough to have VIP tickets to Katherine Wilson’s event in NZ Fashion Week. I’ve since been following Katherine’s blog. Most days I don’t have time to read her posts but for some reason today’s entry caught my attention.

On Cheating

The article, itself, is absolutely fine. What has amused me is that Katherine has been sucked in by the low life types who post comments asking for advice on their relationships and life.

Its not ewhoring, but it is a close relative.

People who want to leave comments in blogs have to get them past spam filters and then blog owners.

First up there are the filters that look at content, sentence structure, links in the post and the IP address. What could be more benign than girly angst about relationships?

Once your comments are being accepted the filters mark your IP address as clean/safe/trusted.

The blog owner might be slightly perplexed by the comments but is more likely to be flattered that their opinion is being sought and that their blog has the kind of reader who will open their heart.

The spammer is now all set to run automated systems to spam links for paying clients over targetted blogs. Comments on posts where the blog is set to auto approve  or auto-after-x-comments will go live immediately and the blog owner probably won’t notice. Moderated blog owners will probably see equally benign content and still approve.

When I saw this post I thought I’d make a helpful comment explaining how this situation had come about and all day I’ve watched other comments go up but mine has obviously hit some sort of road bump. It can’t be that I’m not known to Katherine because nor were her help seekers. Is it because the truth hurts?

Where the bloody hell are you

Where the bloody hell are you

This post this comment was added to is 5 years old, the outgoing link is broken, the image link doesn’t work yet the writer found it worthy of a bookmark? Yeah, right.

And just incase you are doubting that spammers could really be behind this – check out this screenshot from the promo site of one of the software packages (click to enlarge).

Video Tutorials suck

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Call me old fashioned, Possums, but when I’m learning new information I like to read, not watch.

With site scraping and plagiarism being a huge problem it was inevitable that intellectual property was going to need to be protected in a way that can’t be achieved by a regular web page. First there were podcasts and then video tutorials.

At the time it had little impact because I was doing the experimenting and staying ahead of technology with the best of them.  Then life gets busy and a new wave of techies take over. No problem, thats just the way it goes.

So I’ve seen some topics mentioned and thought it would be good to get a greater understanding just in case I’m ever asked for my opinion on the subject. What I’ve found is that I either end up on a page with a video clip that starts automatically (disturbing the office) or one that isn’t backed up by a written version of the information.

Now, it may be my age, but I spend enough hours in front of a screen that I don’t need to spend my leisure time there too. Instead I might read some bits and pieces on my iPad when I’m on the sofa and the family is watching TV. I’m there, I’m involved but I’m not obliged to watch the dross.

The only problem is that a video clip probably won’t show on my iPad or I’ll need headphones which defeats the point of being with them. Its also harder to download for consumption later (offline even).

A digitalpoint user recently asked for a review of WebTrafficCollege.com [ref] and it is a perfect case in point. All the “paid” content is hidden in video clips with ridiculously lightweight text descriptions beside them.

Another example was when I was trying suss out something tricky on a Plesk control panel. For this particular feature all I could find were video tutorials which were a) long; and b) starting at a beginners level; I didn’t want to have to wait for 13 minutes to download so I could see if the content in the middle actually covered the question I had.

True Location exposes the fakes

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Over on Digitalpoint I’ve had the ability to see where people really are for a while and mostly people are where they say they are. Its always a concern when people try to be somebody they’re not and so now at the top of your posts we can now see you “fun” location and your “true location”.

We all have to come from somewhere and its not that we should be proud of it, but we definitely shouldn’t be ashamed. We are who we are and its what we make of our lives that really matters.

In the meantime… have a laugh at these fakers

Edit

I was requested to remove any national bias so I’ve deliberately handpicked equal numbers for India and Pakistan but the rest of the grid shows that they are not alone – and one of the Pakistan fakers isn’t there but wants to be. Actually, India is one up because I couldn’t leave out the Las Vegas example. So much unnecessary detail!

I noticed that the Indians were more likely to give their location as a web address than a fake real world address.

vBulletin: Deleting attachments from a post

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I just had a query from a forum member about how to delete images from a thread. Its extremely simple once you know how… its just not that intuitive.

First up – edit the post and choose “Go Advanced”.

Under the editing box you’ll see a list of the attachments

Post Attachments in vBulletin 4

Once upon a time there would have been a link beside each letting you control the attachment. Nowaday we have the Attachment Manager with a nice big button above the list.

Once there look right down at the bottom of the screen and you’ll see the attachments that are on the post.

Deleting a vBulletin 4 Attachment

If you put your mouse slowly over one of the items a little x shows up. Click that and the attachment is gone.

When you are finished deleting the attachments which needed to be removed click Done, then save your changes and you’ll find your thread looks just the way you intended.

Followbots make real people look foolish

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I have two twitter accounts. My main one @itamer and another I created for a very specific technical topic that I was working on last year. After the project the account has been all but abandoned. Its only use is in Tweetbot to show me my tweets in isolation. It doesn’t have my real name or anything to identify it as me.

the tweetI was amused today to find a client’s client who is actively exploring social media had decided to follow that account?

Why?

Because they’ve been told that if you follow people they will follow you back. And once they’re following you then you may unfollow them and they’ll never know… The unfollow bit comes down to the current thinking on the ratio of follows to followers.

Following Stats

I wonder how 524:260 stacks up?

I wonder how many people will get the notification and wonder why they’re being followed?

I wonder how many idle accounts they are following or if their strategy will actually work.

I won’t name and shame the client’s client because I wish them well. They just surprised me.

Another Twitter Newbie

I’ve just been contacted by another dear soul who’s digitalpoint forum account has been locked out.

After letting him know that he needed to send a tweet to @digitalpoint (no, not a PM, no, not via Skype) he then asked me how to send a tweet.

And this is a guy who sells web hosting! If Twitter is a challenge I hate think how Linux stacks up.