Shortly after shutting Veretekk down I embarked on building a new platform from scratch, all new code, fresh, from the start using modern operating systems, this vision is called Markethive. It is a true social network, easily navigated and works similar to Facebook, which means it is extremely intuitive and a quick learn to use.
Markethive is a vertical social network for entrepreneurs, a culture that represents innovation, vision and determination and driven to achieve greater than one’s own boundaries. An engine that roars with the blood, sweat and tears of the individual that seeks beyond their capabilities. We now live in a time that the entrepreneur has become all of us as the traditional culture of jobs fades away into today’s realities.
But Markethive has another engine as well. If you were a member way back in the 90s you remember us ”inventing” Automated Marketing, Veremail (autoresponder emails), Traffic Portals (Blastomatic, Sohomatic, Maoney_Machine, Vereconference), Broadcasting platforms (The Hammer), Tracking (Veretracking) all of this and more all integrated, 20 years ago! Remember the massive unique leads you would get coming to you, not you chasing them?
Today it has been rebranded as Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is attracting traffic, converting to subscribers, then converting to customers, that converting to advocates. Other companies sell a similar service for up to and more than $10,000 per month. I am not kidding. These platforms are valuable, expensive to build and flat out work!
Markethive has fused the Entrepreneur Social Network together with our own Inbound Marketing platform. The results are outstanding
The Hammer evolved into a master piece that published a message, Title and link to literally billions of FFA sites, Classified Ad sites, Guest books, and forums. It was abusive, rude, did not ask, it broke down the walls and placed it’s message, millions of messages on billions of sites. It was an amazing piece of work. It produced massive inbound traffic and leads. People literally became addicted to it. It combined an entertaining eye candy process and a huge massive result. It got oooos and ahhhhs. I became famous for The Hammer. I even have a video of one of the later versions of the Hammer. It is nostalgia in it’s purest form. Enjoy.
I have replaced the Hammer!
In fact I have eclipsed the Hammer with a new Social Networked Broadcasting tool called the Blog Caster (Broadcaster). It integrates into the hundreds of Social Networks owned by 1000s and growing into millions of Markethive subscribers accounts. It operates on a viral process of subscribers, to your posts and their subsequent reach, giving you a downstream result that can easily eclipse reaches of readers into the billions. But not static, but people who react to your messages and the traffic influx becomes massive.
And the message? It originates from your Markethive blog. So your message(s) are comprehensive and often will find themselves being shared by people you never knew. Your Markethive blog is subscribed to by your 1000s of friends and their 1000s of friends, 1000s also share your blog content, with your permission, to their many WordPress and other blogs.
Markethive WordPress plugins turn WordPress into a massive broadcasting platform, exponentially increasing even further reaches. This chain reaction has no limit.
Markethive is just getting started. If Veretekk impressed you once upon a time long ago, Markethive will blow you away. And we are just getting started.
Unlike Veretekk, Markethive’s technology Inbound Marketing platform, the whole enchilada, is Free!
We fund Markethive with advertising and the best part about that? We share up to 50% of that revenue with you.
I told you I would return, come join me as we head of into the future 10 years ahead of the rest. Now Unfair Advantage is available to you, again, for Free.
There are more and more bloggers created every day. If you have a point to share about a product, service, business, events (the list goes on), many people choose to expose it online via their blog. With so many blogging services and platforms out there, how do you choose one? Even after you have chosen a blogging platform, service or network, can you still "Reach" enough people to make a difference.
We all know that blogging is definitely a numbers game. This is why so many bloggers are scrambling to create and promote their blogs on multiple platforms thinking they can reach more people. The greater the "Reach" can bring success to what you're promoting. A big question is, how many people would you like to reach? Now that you have that number in your head the other questions is How do I do that?
MarketHive is the simple answer for many reasons. MarketHive makes it simple, easy and more affordable than any other option out there. Before WordPress, Aweber, Constant Contact, Facebook and other marketing solutions is the CEO of MarketHive. He ushered in the industry of automated marketing back in the early 90's known as the "Godfather of Automated Marketing". if that wasn't enough he then created the first Inbound Marketing Network in the mid 90's. Now he's at it again with his new social Inbound Marketing Network for all entrepreneurs, built by entrepreneurs called MarketHive.
Don't just take my word for it, see his video blow that talks about reaching massive people by blogging. This is just one component of his new business network and how it can impact any bloggers reach in a massive way.
If you're a entrepreneur that specializes in helping others to succeed online, you owe your viewers this info. To get inside the MarketHive system for free more details is as easy as connecting any of your favorite Social Profiles byClicking Here Now
Now is you want to be telling others about MarketHive before they start telling you and others they know.
Brown rice, cooked quinoa, farro, or similar for serving
Place the lentils in the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, curry paste, salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom, then stir to combine.
Pour the tomato puree over the top of the cauliflower and lentils. Refill the tomato puree can halfway with water, then pour it over the top of the slow cooker ingredients so that they are covered with liquid. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours, until the lentils are soft.
Just before serving, stir in the coconut milk. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or farro, topped with fresh cilantro.
Below is the picture before I turned the power on to high.
Below is the picture after 5 hours in the high position. I added this to cooked quinoa.
Rick Wiles interviews retired firefighter Mark Taylor who was given this prophetic revelation in 2011. The Lord has chosen Mr. Trump to bring America back from the brink of destruction. Mr. Taylor wrote this amazing prophecy in 2011 giving us a glimpse of what's to come and why all who attack Mr. Trump will fall by the wayside. What's amazing is that this revelation has gone forth to thousands. The wrath of God has come not for the people of America but for the leaders of the establishment. ("I have the same revelation and have said so for over three months maybe longer. Judgment has come fot the wickedness in our leadership and Donald Trump is leading the way." Thomas Prendergast CEO Markethive) The hour of judgment is upon them. The light has begun to shine and the darkness of evil will prevail no more.
The Spirit of God says, I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this. For as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel, so shall this man be to the United States of America! For I will use this man to bring honor, respect and restoration to America. America will be respected once again as the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth, (other than Israel). The dollar will be the strongest it has ever been in the history of the United States, and will once again be the currency by which all others are judged.
The Spirit of God says, the enemy will quake and shake and fear this man I have anointed. They will even quake and shake when he announces he is running for president, it will be like the shot heard across the world. The enemy will say what shall we do now? This man knows all our tricks and schemes. We have been robbing America for decades, what shall we do to stop this? The Spirit says HA! No one shall stop this that l have started! For the enemy has stolen from America for decades and it stops now! For I will use this man to reap the harvest that the United States has sown for and plunder from the enemy what he has stolen and return it seven-fold back to the United States. The enemy will say Israel, Israel, what about Israel? For Israel will be protected by America once again. The spirit says yes! America will once again stand hand and hand with Israel, and the two shall be as one. For the ties between Israel and America will be stronger than ever, and Israel will flourish like never before.
The Spirit of God says, I will protect America and Israel, for this next president will be a man of his word, when he speaks the world will listen and know that there is something greater in him than all the others before him. This man’s word is his bond and the world and America will know this and the enemy will fear this, for this man will be fearless. The Spirit says, when the financial harvest begins so shall it parallel in the spiritual for America.
The Spirit of God says, in this next election they will spend billions to keep this president in; it will be like flushing their money down the toilet. Let them waist their money, for it comes from and it is being used by evil forces at work, but they will not succeed, for this next election will be a clean sweep for the man I have chosen. They will say things about this man (the enemy), but it will not affect him, and they shall say it rolls off of him like the duck, for as the feathers of a duck protect it, so shall my feathers protect this next president. Even mainstream news media will be captivated by this man and the abilities that I have gifted him with, and they will even begin to agree with him says the Spirit of God.
This is the first blogpost in the Markethive Group called Crockpot Recipes. I encourage anyone reading this to join and share their crockpot recipes. It will be featured on different websites. I also plan in the future to make a Pinterest board for crockpot recipes to pin the ones I like.
The recipe I am sharing I got from mostly homemade mom. Below is her link. The recipe is perfect. I was impressed how easy and delicious it came out. I am not a fan of sour cream so I did not use it.
Although the recipe is wonderful, I can’t help myself but always add more things to it. It is fun to experiment. Below are the ingredients I used.
2 (14 oz) packages of black beans, drained and rinsed. (I use Fig Foods Black Beans)
1 uncooked cup of brown rice (I use Texmati Brown Rice)
2 cups water
1 cup salsa (I used Frontera Hot Roasted Habanero Salsa)
2 tsp cumin (I bought Cumin Seeds from Amazon)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt (I use Himalayan Pink Salt)
¼ tsp black pepper
1 diced onion (my idea)
5 minced gloves of garlic (my idea)
1 avocado (my idea)
1 jalapeno pepper (my idea)
A handful of mushrooms cut into smaller pieces (my idea)
I greased my crockpot with coconut oil and threw all the contents in it. Below is my picture of it before I turned on the power.
Following the original recipe I put my crockpot in the low setting. The original recipe called for 3 hours cooking time, the picture below was 4 hours 30 minutes later. I waited for the liquid to soak up.
This was the third time I have made this. It is great by itself. You can use it for dipping tortilla chips or making burritos. This time I am using it for soft shell tacos.
I like using Maria and Ricardo’s Soft Corn Tortillas. They taste great and do not fall part like other soft shell tacos. I have experimented with others but keep coming back to them.
While being your own boss can be scary and a little risky, it’s not as difficult as people think. You do have to be someone who loves his freedom, likes to be able to set his own schedule and likes to work on things he’s excited about.
Is that all there is to it? No, it takes a ton of hard work, and an ability to learn from your mistakes, and an ability to get up and go again.
Let’s briefly look at some of the things that will help you on your journey to freedom.
First: Can Anyone Be Self-Employed?
Not everyone should, because some people just love working where they’re working, they love the people they’re working with, and they absolutely love what they do. They couldn’t be happier working on their own. And, that is probably great if you want to be in the same situation year after year.
But … there’s a fallacy that those who start their own businesses or work on their own are somehow born with an “entrepreneurial spirit” that the regular workaday employees just don’t have. They aren’t “risk-takers”, they aren’t self-motivated, and they just can’t manage themselves.
That is just a load of excuses.
Sure, some people like the security of a regular paycheck, but if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that this kind of security is an illusion because they usually spend everything they earn and are no farther ahead at the end of the year as when they started.
Sure, some people are afraid of starting their own business, because it means they have to figure out things they know nothing about … but don’t we all do this, anyway?
No-one really likes being told what to do, or work on what someone else wants to do. We all like freedom, but we allow our freedoms to be sacrificed out of fear.
It’s this fear that stops us. And so the question really becomes: can anyone overcome this fear?
It is possible. Whether you’ll be successful at overcoming the fear, and at starting your own business, is another question — it takes work, and time, and an ability to accept failure and learn from it.
How to Overcome the Fear
Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen?
For some, it’s that you’ll lose your mortgage and become bankrupt. But that’s happened to millions of people recently, and they’re OK. They just can’t get another loan soon, but they’re still living. For others, it’s a fear that you’ll be out on the street or hungry. Ask yourself, though, if you have a safety net: family and friends who will take you in if it ever comes to that.
That’s the worst case scenario. Now ask yourself: is that likely to happen? Probably not. If things get bad, you can take a job with someone else, or try a new tactic, or figure something out so that things don’t get that bad.
Stay Lean and Small
Lean and small and hungry and nimble and flexible are good things. It means you don’t need to pay a lot of bills, you don’t need a huge amount of revenues, and you can change as you need to. Big corporations need to make huge revenues, need to sell millions, and have a hard time changing because of a massive corporate structure and thousands of meetings and lots of invested time and lots of people who are resistant to change. Small and lean has none of those problems.
Don’t start with a lot of expenses — start small, with zero or almost zero expenses.
Sure, not everyone can start for free, but you can start small.
Want to run a ballet studio or fitness studio? Start by going to your clients, or start in your home, or do it at schools and use their space. Want to start in retail? Start online, with a cheap host and free web software. Want to be a marketer? Do it out of your home, with a cell phone, a computer and a car. Want to be a landscaper? All you need is a lawn mower to start out. Want to start a health clinic? Operate out of your home, or make house calls, in the beginning.
There are lots of ways to start out cheap — if your business requires lots of money, think about scaling it back or finding a different way of doing it, for free.
Starting out cheap means it’s hard to fail and easy to succeed.
Start Right Away
Don’t wait for perfection. Figure out the simplest way to start, and just start. Don’t worry about taking a bunch of expensive courses — just do it, and learn as you go. You might even start for free if possible, so that you can gain experience and as you get better, you’ll get good word of mouth.
Start out without an office, a website, business cards, employees, and a lot of equipment and software. Sure, you’ll need some of those fairly soon, but you don’t need them to start. Well, unless your business is a website — then you’ll need a site, but those are cheap.
You can get a business card later. You can set up your accounting structure later. You can figure things out as you go. The important part is just starting.
Does that mean you don’t need to plan? Well, you should, but don’t overdo it. You should give a lot of thought to what you’re good at, what you can offer, who your target customers are, how you’ll make money, how much you should charge, how you can add value beyond what is already offered out there. But don’t let it stop you — if you can’t decide on something, just start and adjust your targets as you learn.
On Quitting Your Day Job
For most people, it’s best to keep your day job at first, just so you have some income while you get the business started. Work in the morning, on your lunch break, after work, even during work if you’re not super busy — just don’t get fired. This is a good way to fund your start up — have a steady income and get the business going until you’re ready to quit the day job.
For some, quitting the day job is best right away, because it gives them the kick in the butt they need to get moving. It’s scarier this way, of course, but there’s no better motivator. This is best for people who don’t have a big family to support — singles or couples without kids — or if you do have a family, perhaps you have some savings you can live on for at least 2-3 months while you get the business off the ground.
Even if you quit your day job, you might be able to do some freelancing or consulting business to get some regular income right away, as you also get the business going.
What to Do
First, you should choose something that you love and know a lot about. If you love gardening, do something related to that. If you love writing, do that. You should ideally have some experience, or be willing to put in a lot of hours learning at first. If you’re already good at something, and you love doing it, you’re off to a great start.
Next, you should figure out what you have to offer, and how it will be different than what’s already out there. How will you meet people’s needs in a new way? Who needs your service or product? How will you reach them? Where do they go now, either in the real world or online?
And what’s the simplest way you can reach them and offer your product or service? Simplest means the least work, the least amount of steps and complications, the easiest for the customer, the least expensive, the least amount to start up.
And how fast can you get started? What’s the bare minimum you need to get started? For many, this is signing up for a free web account and putting up some content. For others, this is calling the right people and meeting with them with an offer to provide services. And that’s all — get the basics started, and add the rest later.
Again, you can get the business card later. You can figure out accounting and corporate structure and all that later. You can refine your marketing and product later — just start, and keep improving.
Never Stop Learning, and Never Stop Failing
Failure is not the end of your business. It’s just the beginning.
You have to take the attitude that failure won’t stop you from making it on your own. If your business doesn’t get off the ground, learn from that. And try again, but do it better this time. You might need to get a job temporarily to fund your life as you make another attempt, but that’s OK. You do what you gotta do.
Failure isn’t a reason to get depressed, to quit. It’s a learning opportunity. Failure is a stepping stone to your success.
And if you make it, don’t take that as a reason to get complacent. You should always be learning, always improving — not because you’re not satisfied with what you’ve done, but because if you stop learning, you’ll stop having fun. There should always be new challenges, new things to explore, new skills to learn, new ways to grow.
One more thing: do not be afraid of hard work. You’ll work harder than you ever have. Becoming an entrepreneur is not about laying around in a hammock and drinking Margaritas. Although you can do that, when you want to. It’s about loving what you do, about working hard to build something you’re proud of, about pouring your heart and soul into something rather than giving it to someone else. Make no mistake about it: you’ll work hard, or you won’t succeed. But you’ll love every minute of it.
Should you Start in a Bad Economy?
This is the best time to start. This is a time when job security is low, so risks are actually lower. This is a time to be lean, which is the best idea for starting a business. This is the time when others are quitting — so you’ll have more room to succeed.
And with social media and networking taking off, this is the easiest time to start a business, the easiest time to spread the word, the easiest time to distribute information and products and services.
And while the big corporations may struggle in a bad economy, you’re small and lean, which means you don’t have the fat that the big guys have, you are able to adjust to the market much better, and you’re less subject to the problems of financial markets, real estate markets, and other external realities.
But What If Everyone Were Self-Employed?
What if everyone were in business for themselves? Would this be a horrible thing? I can imagine a world of tiny businesses and free agents. I think people would collaborate — with many people — but they’d do so as free agents, not as employees. And that’s a huge difference. A world of difference. Because then they’d come in as equals, and they’d be collaborating because they want to, because they’re excited about a project. Then the world of trying to motivate employees disappears, because people are motivated already — they’re excited, they have freedom, they choose to do the work.
Whether you’re a published author or just getting started with blogging, it’s not always easy to string words together in a way that makes sense, sounds good and makes the reader feel something.
But every marketer should be able to write — and, more importantly, every marketer can write. It’s just a matter of finding the writing environment that works best for you, expanding your vocabulary, asking for feedback (and listening to it), and practicing.
Luckily, there are a slew of great tools you can use to help improve your writing. Check out the list below, and feel free to add the most helpful ones you use in the comment section.
The Content Ideator is an easy-to-use topic generator tool that’s similar to Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Input your noun of choice, and it will show you all the results related to your keyword. You can view up to 90 pages worth of topics according to your search.
For example, if you enter the keyword “writer’s block,” the Content Ideator will generate more than a hundred potential topics such as:
Writer’s Block — How To Overcome A Writer’s Greatest Curse
Writing Prompts To Overcome Writer’s Block Considered — Case Study
How to Write an Outline: I’ve Got Writer’s Block and No Time Until My Deadline!
Check out other tools first unless you’re up for digging to find the topic that speaks to you.
2) Portent’s Content Idea Generator
This tool is a piece of cake to use, and its chalkboard background makes it fun to play with. Simply add the keyword, and hit the “enter” button. You get one title and content suggestion each time you click.
This generator has some personality, adding witty comments and jokes in bubbles alongside the topic suggestions. If the title isn’t what you expected or seems silly, you can refresh it as many times as you wish to find a gem. (The only difference between a content idea generator and a blog topic generator is that the former lets you fill in only one keyword per search while the latter allows you to enter three.)
3) 750 Words
Another way to practice your writing is to do a “brain dump” exercise using a tool like 750 Words. “Brain dumping” means getting all that stuff in your head down on paper — without having to worry about incomplete ideas, tangents, and private stuff.
It’s not blogging or status updating — it’s just you, writing whatever you want on a totally private account, without ever having to title your content or tag topics or share with your friends.
What it does do is track your word count so you’re sure to write 750 words (about three pages of writing). Plus, it’s gamified, which makes it kind of fun: You get a point for writing anything at all, two points for writing 750 words or more, and more points if you write consistently. And every time you write, it’ll give you some cool statistics on how much time you spent writing, the feelings and themes of your words, and so on.
Publishing content on a consistent basis is crucial in the blogging world. Our own research concludes that companies that commit to regularly publishing quality content to their blogs tend to get the most website traffic and leads — and those results continue to pay out over time. Tools like Twords can help bloggers commit to writing consistently.
Twords calls itself “the app that nudges you to write.” It notifies you when you haven’t written in a while so you can keep yourself accountable — and even gives you the option to connect with others who will help keep you accountable. It also tracks your writing so you can start to see patterns for the days you’re blogging more versus less, and so on. Finally, it includes some cool resources like a prompt library and articles about habit formation, writing resources, and so on.
5) Swipe File
If you had asked you what a swipe file is, You would probably reply with something like this:
“Umm…does it have something to do with stealing?”
Swipe files aren’t stealing. In fact, they’re not even borrowing.
Basically, a swipe file is just a folder where you can curate cool stuff you come across, like advertisements, copy, emails, etc. “Save things that make you click, sign up, laugh, or go ‘whoa!'” says the post. The purpose? To flip through it for inspiration.
Christopher Penn defines a swipe file as being “a collection of stuff that has worked, arranged in such a way to inspire you and give you future ideas.” Sounds simple enough, right? Actually, we put together swipe files all the time without knowing it.
Brides put together binders full of pictures and wedding planning articles. Interior designers create mood boards. If you’ve ever used Polyvore or a similar site, you’ve (in a way) made a swipe file. By putting together resources that spark new ideas, you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run. No marketer, copywriter, or creative professional can go through his or her career without getting stuck. It just happens. We’re human and when the idea well runs dry, we have a tendency to give up.
The importance of a swipe file isn’t its size or its diversity of material. It’s the swipe file’s ability to help you through creative roadblocks.
As SEO copywriters and marketers, we can keep a swipe file filled with headlines, social media campaigns, blog posts, landing pages, lead generation techniques, calls to action…if it helps you write great copy, include it there. It’s that simple.
In terms of putting together your own swipe file, there are many tools that you can use. Personally, here’s what I use or have used to put together my own collection of inspiration:
I have three techniques I use for my Swipe Files
1. I copy the article, ad, blog, whatever and paste it into a MS Word document then save it to my dungeon of articles and it is huge. But remember text based files can be searched. I use UltraFileSearch
2. I also keep track of reference and interesting sources, blogs, news feeds to curate content with my online bookmarking service @ Delicious as well as my browser’s bookmarks.
3.I use Pinterest as another alternative swipe depository and it also gives me brand credibility and SEO juice.
6) Help me Write
If you can’t decide what you want to write, let the community make that decision for you. Simply, add your ideas, share them, ask your friends what they’d like to read about, and write and publish! By knowing what your audience wants to read before you even start writing, ensures you’ll have readers as soon as you hit publish and will save you time.
Writing efficiently and organizing well is a part of writing well. Use a tool like Trello to collect content ideas, assign them to different members of your team, attach due dates, collaborate with other team members, track their progress, and move them from conception to completion.
Putting the edits you made to the forefront of its interface, Draft shows you where and what you’ve changed, giving you the option of accepting it or reverting it back to what it was originally. What’s even more useful is the Mark Draft feature that saves that version of your work as you go.
With many other options that make iCloud and Google Docs seem dated, this tool can help you write and share your writing for other presentations not limited to blogging.
Quora is a great place to go for crowdsourced answers if you want to reach outside your network. Simply search for a keyword, follow topics related to the topics you’re interested in, and/or post your own questions.
If you’re writing something that includes an interview with someone else, oTranscribe is a great tool that’ll make the transcription process much less painful — allowing more time for your own writing and analysis.
It’s a web app for transcribing interviews created by Elliott Bentley, a graphics writer at Wall Street Journal. The audio player is integrated with the editor meaning you won’t have to click back and forth. You can pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward using keyboard shortcuts. Every second, it automatically saves the transcription to your browser’s storage. You can export it to plain text or Google Docs.
Ready to start writing? Here’s a tool that’ll boost your productivity. A study out of the University of Chicago found that a moderate level of ambient noise, or “white noise,” helps people be more creative. While there are a lot of white noise generators out there, Cofftivity is my favorite. It offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from “Morning Murmur” and “University Undertones” to “Lunchtime Lounge” and “Brazil Bistro.”
12) Tomato Timer
If you like to write with a little pressure (or you’re just on deadline), then Tomato Timer is useful (and free). This tool offers a “Pomodoro” option, which refers to the Pomodoro technique: a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo based on periods of distraction-free work followed by short breaks — which is supposed to be optimal for productivity.
A clean and minimalist approach to where you write. Blocking out visual distractions, with features to stylize the text, add hyperlinks, and block quotes.
14) Power Thesaurus
Power Thesaurus isn’t just any thesaurus: It’s a crowdsourced thesaurus that provides alternative word choices from a community of writers. The word suggestions are totally original, and are based on the editorial work of a team of writers and years’ worth of reviews visitors’ suggestions.
15) Twinword Writer
Here’s another help that’ll help you if you get stuck on a word and don’t want to leave your browser or skim through synonyms. If you type using Twinword Writer, it’ll automatically sense if you pause because you’re stuck on a word. Then, it’ll analyze the context of your writing and open a box suggesting alternate words you can use. You can also click any word to get suggestions. A better writing environment for delivering your ideas and thoughts in the most suitable vocabulary. Everyone from journalists, bloggers, marketers, to amateur cooks, students, and daily writers improve their writing.
Letting you read an article one word at a time, Squirt enhances your reading speed. You can also use this tool to improve your grammar and spelling errors, and improve your brain’s transition between flow of thought and writing output. 17) Factbrowser
While you’re writing, you may find you need to support your ideas with research. Tools like Factbrowser search facts, stats, reports, studies, and surveys. Their research covers a wide range of topics, including social networks, gaming, specific industries, holidays, coupons, marketing, and so many more.
You may also find you want to include a quote from a famous author, politician, celebrity, or any public figure to strengthen your writing or inspire your readers. BrainyQuote is a library filled with millions of interesting quips that you can search by a speaker (from Aristotle to Dr. Seuss to Audrey Hepburn) or by topic (like peace, success, leadership, and more).
Once the actual writing part is done, it’s time to edit. While human editors will be able to catch most grammatical errors, editing tools like Grammarly are great tools for triple-checking before you press “publish” or “send.”
Writing for many is a challenge, even for me. It takes focus, determination, and some confidence. But it is the foundation of the Internet, you know information.
I put this list together to help make it a little less stressful. It should remain a challenge because we should embrace challenges. That is what makes us, especially as an alpha Entrepreneur, right?
How to Target the Right People with Mobile Marketing
Everywhere you go, you can see someone using their cell phone. Many times they are not using it to talk, but to search the Internet, downloading an application or accessing a social networking site. Why not use that knowledge to grow your business? Here are some mobile marketing tips that are sure to get you going.
If you operate an off line business like a restaurant, small store, or any other local location, make sure that you are emphasizing your location in your mobile marketing. Businesses like these have a much larger niche market, and someone just driving in the area for a while might love to stop in and grab a bite to eat.
Focus on using mobile marketing especially for customer retention. If people have already purchased from you, they are more likely to welcome mobile communication from you if they are pleased with your product. Try to reach new prospects, but never lose sight of the opportunity you have with people who are your customers already.
Whether you are running a large business or a small home business, you need to sit down and develop a social media policy that sets the standards of what should and should not be done through social media. This is going to help you and your company from the many things that could possibly go wrong.
Get training. Many vendors actually offer training programs on how to safely and properly run a mobile marketing campaign. These people will educate you on everything from how often to send out deals and messages, to the regulations you will need to follow while your program is ongoing. Take advantage of this.
Your natural inclination may be to send out unsolicited messages with your new mobile marketing campaign, but spamming people is never the way to go in any campaign. It is a huge turn-off and can possibly leave a permanent stain on your reputation and cause you to lose regular customers.
Make a social marketing policy. Every business should have policies to help dictate proper behavior, and mobile marketing is no different. You should make sure that every member of your company is aware of and understands that policy, and take steps to ensure that it will be followed in any event.
Remember that mobile marketing landing pages are different from standard landing pages, and they need to be streamlined to be viewable. Make sure that you do this right, because mobile landing pages are invaluable when it comes to generating leads and acquiring those customers who are constantly on the go.
Make it easy for one recipient of your mobile marketing ad to send it and they probably will! Prior to publishing your promotions, make certain that they are simple to forward to others and even include some incentive to the original recipient for doing so and you will have an instant ad booster!
You realize how many people are using cell phones, blackberries, or any type of mobile device and how much you can use that to help your business grow. Apply all the advice that you have learned in this article to really make your business launch quickly to the next level.
A few weeks ago, Lindsay Buescher, senior manager, analytics at Carat, read an article on Adweek.com about a company called FreeStreams.com that was pumping up its traffic by enticing Web users into accidentally visiting via hidden links on sites that house pirated content. As it happened, one of her agency’s clients, Red Bull, was a FreeStreams advertiser. Buescher was determined to find out what was going on. Her team discovered Red Bull video ads were running on FreeStreams through two different networks, including ValueClick, a publicly traded company. (ValueClick says it has since stopped working with FreeStreams.)
That wasn’t something Buescher had run into much. She kept digging. After about three weeks, Carat was blacklisting 77 more sites for Red Bull beyond FreeStreams. Many of the sites didn’t actually sell pre-roll ads, which was what the client was supposedly paying for. Some were merely gaming sites with interstitials. Some were sites that didn’t even exist or were blocked by her company. Others ran video inventory continuously. Many were simply a case of “fraud,” she found.
In the end, Buescher’s efforts resulted in not only a lot of legwork but also a $150,000 refund for the client. That’s hardly enough to set the industry on a different course, but to Buescher it said something. “Red Bull is spending 90 percent of its online budget direct with publishers,” she says. “Imagine if they weren’t.”
It might not matter either way. That’s because the online ad industry is facing a swelling crisis, one defined by fake traffic, bogus publishers and invisible Web visitors, a trend first investigated by Adweek in an online story, “Meet the Most Suspect Publishers on the Web,” published March 19 of this year. Once thought contained to a handful of rogue players that had figured out how to exploit ad exchanges, bogus ad inventory, as it turns out, is rampant. In fact, according to numerous sources across the ecosystem, fake traffic is essentially systemic to online advertising—it’s part of how the business works. And a slew of top companies are involved in this—whether wittingly or not. “You see it with almost any partner you work with,” as Alan Silverberg, media platforms director at Moxie Interactive, puts it. “From AOL and Yahoo to Facebook, from pure-play partners and the network space to portals. We can’t stop it,” he says, referring to the preponderance of questionable traffic. Though for many publishers, it may be a question of whether they can’t stop it, or won’t. Adds Buescher: “It’s the whole business. We see this even with direct-to-publisher deals. It’s really the media planners’ fault. But when you start seeing partners breaking contracts … no one has time to monitor 3,500 sites when they are just cranking, cranking, cranking out plans.”
Of course, there are plenty of those who think this is being blown out of proportion. Some in the online ad world see bots, fake traffic and the like as a manageable nuisance, hardly a crisis. But the ranks of the alarmed are growing by the day.
During a recent interview, online ad veteran Wenda Millard, president of Medialink, made the bold claim that a quarter of the online ad market is fraudulent. “What we have found is the devaluation of digital media is causing us to lose about 25 percent of the roughly $30 billion that is being spent,” she reported. “It’s stolen [ad revenue].” In defining fraud, Millard lumped together piracy, nonviewable ads, ads stacked on top of one another, inappropriate content and, of course, deliberate malicious behavior, in her analysis. “In most people’s wildest dreams, they wouldn’t imagine how much [questionable traffic] there is,” she says. “People should be very, very worried.”
Let’s start with individual publishers. A group of Web-traffic analysts that did not want to be named for fear of pointing a finger at potential clients has identified a dozen well-known sites that exhibit questionable traffic patterns, including Break, CollegeHumor, Complex, Crackle, Entrepreneur and Totalbeauty. One source of information the group examined was comScore’s cross-visiting reports, which revealed that each site on the list has a high percentage of visitors who also visit sites suspected of living on bot traffic.
For example, Break, CollegeHumor, Complex, Gamespot and Crackle all have a high cross-traffic index with sites like Mommyhotspot, featuring parenting content, as well as Missoandfriends and Dreammining, a gaming hub aimed at young girls, plus a variety of sites frequently blacklisted by ad buyers. According to Augustine Fou, founder of the Marketing Science Consulting Group, Dreammining raises many questions. Using Alexa data, Fou found Dreammining’s top search term to be “mining of selena,” which exhibits zero traffic on Google, he points out. The site also has a high at-work audience that doesn’t match its demo, while the second- and third-largest domains driving traffic to the site are “possible click farms,” he says.
Fou also looked at Mommyhotspot, which had unidentifiable domains driving traffic and barely any inbound links, per his analysis.
The overall pattern Fou and others examined—sites like Dreammining and Mommyhotspot sharing audience with Break and Crackle—does not in itself directly implicate these branded sites in anything scandalous, though it might strike some as unexpected that a group of guys’ websites share traffic with several young girls’ sites, let alone girls’ sites possibly employing click farms.
But a deeper examination is revealing. According to an analysis conducted by a Web-traffic expert who did not want to be identified citing confidentiality agreements, all these sites, whether wittingly or not, have some level of “bogus traffic.” Research companies regularly discount traffic from Web publishers before reporting data like unique users or impressions because such traffic looks questionable. And even they don’t catch everything. In this case, an Internet security expert suspects these sites (Break, College Humor, etc.) might all be purchasing traffic from the same vendor, which is likely employing bots.
Adweek reached out to Ben Edelman, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard, who has done extensive research on Internet architecture, advertising, traffic patterns and fraud detection, and who has built a proprietary Web crawler he uses to detect curious activity. Edelman says via his proprietary tracking tools, he’s gathered evidence that Crackle, College Humor, Break and others regularly employ “invisible traffic”—i.e., these companies deliver their entire sites via iframes or tiny pixels on other sites that no one else can see.
Consider the guy-oriented Break (which last week was reported to be merging with Alloy Digital). Edelman found that Break.com loads invisibly through a variety of complex methods. In one instance, a company called Ptp22 redirects Break traffic through a variety of middlemen before it is loaded invisibly via iframe. (The list of go-betweens includes Marketwithmogul and TooShocking.)
Another company, Deplayer, conducts the same kind of operation. Adweek was unable to find contact information for the company.
Analytics firm SimilarWeb would seem to provide more supporting evidence. Some 25 percent of Break’s traffic comes via referrals, much of it from the adult category. The top referring site isn’t Facebook or Twitter but a firm called ClickSure, which sells Web traffic. In Edelman’s opinion, Break knows it’s buying such traffic. “But [this traffic doesn’t deliver actual] users who can see the site or any ads on the site. But there are indeed ads on the landing page. I saw ads for AT&T,” he says.
“We occasionally use the common practice of trade link sharing, which accounts for a small percentage of traffic,” says a Break representative. “We consistently work in the interests of our partners and have created high standards to vet traffic for quality issues. We have immediately suspended suspicious providers in question for further exploration.”
(UPDATE: Carat’s Buescher says her agency has found that a campaign purchased through Break is running on three piracy sites: allmyvideos.net, divxstage.eu, and movreel.com. They admitted to it,” she said. Adweek has reached out to Break to respond).
Edelman says he has been tracking Crackle for years. That site, which is owned by Sony and features a series starring Jerry Seinfeld, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, exhibits signs of invisible traffic, says Edelman. According to SimilarWeb, 18 percent of Crackle’s traffic comes from referrals. Among the site’s top referrers are Inttrax, Lnksdata, Redirect.ad-feeds and Contenko. Some of these companies are known for selling pop unders, adware and the like, per Edelman.
A source close to Crackle says the site cleaned up some of its traffic sources from years past but still occasionally encounters suspect traffic when marketing the site via various ad nets. The problem is described as “minor and the firm takes measures to address it.” Also, per sources, College Humor has noticed suspect traffic patterns from traffic purchased from outside vendors and has taken steps to eliminate it.
“Complex typically shares visitors with quality sites such as GQ.com and Vulture.com,” adds a Complex spokesperson. “In August we conducted a small, one-off traffic vendor test that delivered impressions that fell far below our standards, and we quickly terminated the relationship. We take seriously the matter of bogus traffic and we support any and all industry measures to address the problem.”
Beyond direct publishers with invisible traffic, what about the assessment from Moxie’s Silverberg that the Facebooks, Yahoos and AOLs of the world could be touched by the questionable traffic issue?
In Facebook’s case, the company has wrestled with scammers creating fake profiles and selling artificial likes. It’s a problem that’s mostly under control, according to a Facebook spokesperson: “As part of our ongoing site integrity efforts, we have recently updated our automated systems to remove ‘likes’ on pages that may have been gained by means that violate Facebook’s terms. On average, less than 1 percent of likes on any given page will be removed.”
Facebook is generally a closed environment. But it’s the wide-open, murky world of ad networks, ad exchanges and real-time bidding that experts say is rife with fraudulent activity. That’s because clients continue to look for huge quarterly CPM decreases and expect the Web to deliver cheap, efficient results. Meanwhile, agencies benefit from marking up ad inventory through their trading desks. Every vendor is plugged into every other vendor and platform, and sellers are incented to drive the most clicks at the cheapest rates possible. Thus, this ecosystem is practically begging for scammers.
“A certain set of conditions has led to a proliferation and explosion of this, and everyone will be touched by this problem to different degrees,” says Steve Sullivan, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s vp, ad technology. “Add in retargeting and audience buying, it really represents a challenge in differentiating quality impressions vs. non quality.”
AOL and Yahoo both operate in the network exchange realm. And experts consider them among the good guys—the companies that have billed themselves as safe havens in this lawless space wouldn’t be vulnerable to bogus traffic. But exchange buyers say that even these companies can be vulnerable to questionable traffic. Take AOL’s Advertising.com, which has long billed itself as a premium exchange. However, ad buyers reveal that AOL campaigns sometimes feature chunks of inventory going to unidentifiable sites, reported back as “dummy publisher” or “house account.” AOL will also deliver major swaths of inventory to companies like Swaave, which will return a 0.0 percent clickthrough rate. CTRs are low these days, but not that low. A look at Advertising.com’s inventory mix includes properties like the live video chat platforms ooVoo and Tinychat, the Web-browsing disguiser AnchorFree, as well as companies like Integri and JCarterMarketing—essentially other ad nets. Meaning that buyers who come to Advertising.com for transparency may not find it, leaving it open to all sorts of deception. “We see these [kinds of] companies selling ads on 20 to 30 ad networks,” says Carat’s Buescher. “The percentage of inventory on our blacklists is astounding.”
“Whenever you buy from someone who won’t tell you where your ads are running, there is a real danger they are ripping you off,” says Zach Coelius, CEO of the ad tech firm Triggit.
According to one ad buyer, Ad.com’s supply currently includes questionable inventory and “copyright-infringing sites.” An executive from a major agency trading desk confirmed that Ad.com runs ads “on suspect sites and reports back traffic from unnamed publishers.”
AOL’s svp publisher services Dave Jacobs declines to discuss specific partners but says the company employs an in-house quality-review team that is constantly monitoring these issues. Jacobs adds that Advertising.com only works with other ad networks on a site-by-site basis—and never buys blindly. He was unable to discuss why some clients receive reports with traffic from the likes of “dummy publisher,” while maintaining that such a practice was not common.
“We think we are at the leading edge of protecting our partners,” he says. “We are very much focused on maintaining blacklists. With Ad.com, our focus is the direct-supply area. There may be instances where we can identify opportunities to deliver subset audiences outside our network. It’s not unusual for any company in our position to evaluate multiple sources of supply … but with our network, we’ve been focused on telling a story that is about premium.”
Similarly, Yahoo’s data-driven targeting platform, Genome, has billed itself as a tool that “allows you to benefit from direct access to Yahoo premium inventory, publisher partners such as MSN and AOL, and comScore top 1,000 through a simple, streamlined transaction point.” Yet Genome campaigns can also include unnamed sites or properties like the file-sharing site MediaFire and the ad networks eHealthcareSolutions and Blackboxmedia. Meaning Genome buyers may be flying blind, while the platform is vulnerable to abuse.
“Yahoo takes supply quality very seriously,” said the company in a statement. “We are committed to maintaining a healthy marketplace with our advertiser and publisher partners, and use technical and procedural safeguards to support that commitment. … Genome uses a combination of internal tools and third-party services to help maintain the quality of the network. Our Genome network purchases inventory on specific sites based on quality and audience, and regularly provides advertisers with site lists before and after a campaign runs for increased transparency.”
“In the spectrum of networks out there from reputable to sketchy, I’d put AOL and Yahoo on the reputable side,” says Chris Paul, gm, svp at VivaKi. “The most common issue is when new sites join the networks without being fully vetted for advertisers’ content standards by the network administrators.”
Agency trading desks also deliver lots of inventory on networks into which buyers don’t have much insight. Often buyers will receive traffic reports listing buckets of inventory from something labeled “microsoftadvertisingexchange,” say insiders.
While the display market has seen dicey practices growing for a while now, the challenge of bad inventory is suddenly escalating in video, where CPMs can be 10 times greater than display. Take the BrightRoll Exchange. Besides housing loads of inventory from the aformentioned Freestreams, the company also delivers large volumes of inventory via sites like Fave.tv and Videoswag.tv. Plus, it delivers lots of ads via “opaque sources” or sites it doesn’t report on, as well as a good amount of blacklisted inventory, per buyers. One buyer says his company blocks one in four impressions sold in the exchange.
BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti says that in the case of Fave.tv, that inventory wasn’t supposed to be available. The site was on a list of unapproved URLs from an Israeli company called HIRO. Sacerdoti notes that BrightRoll does provide an option for buyers called “tier 4,” adding, “We recommend people question it.”
But overall, Sacerdoti says, BrightRoll is an open platform that plugs into nearly everybody selling video, and is not something that the company can be expected to police. It’s not “BrightRoll’s inventory, after all. The BrightRoll exchange is the inventory in the entire industry,” he says. “Is there an inventory problem in the industry? Yes.”
Indeed, the ad exchange space is so fraught with danger that companies like the independent trading desk Digilant run massive reports every week tracking which companies are peddling the same ad inventory on different exchanges—with completely different labels. According to Digilant COO Nate Woodman, the situation is so ungovernable that the agency has found instances where it’s ended up buying impressions from itself. Digilant blocks one vendor, CPX Interactive, for this reason. Woodman says that companies can blacklist sites all they want, but that they are better off creating whitelists—i.e., lists of preapproved sites. “The problem there is, that will kill your performance,” he says. Why? Because when you’re just out for clicks, bot sites perform better.
And the bot guys are slick. “As soon as sites get on blacklists, there is little incentive to maintain them,” explains Kiril Tsemekhman, svp, chief data officer at Integral Ad Science. “Then a new site pops up.”
And so, the problems persist. John Snyder, CEO of the keyword-targeting firm Grapeshot, says he’s lost business because his company won’t sell bad inventory. “We’ll hear, ‘Your competitor got great clicks,’ but all on two sites and it was all fraud. But it’s these optimization algorithms that find those clicks.”
Says Woodman: “When we try to tighten things up, our measured performance goes down. There is an incentive among buyers to let the floodgates open. And publishers need more money, so they ignore.” So the bad traffic persists. “We need to fix this as an industry,” he adds. “Somebody needs to give a shit.”
The IAB seems to. Per Sullivan, the organization is working on devising a standard for publishers akin to the Good Housekeeping Seal. He’d like to see the biggest stakeholders get more aggressive about the problem, including brands and agencies. “If buyers came out and said, ‘I will only buy from certified vendors,’ that would change things,” he says.
Carat’s Buescher thinks bold steps are needed and urges more of her brethren to take big steps. “It’s a sad thing,” she says. “There is no single provider out there that can fix this. Until then, all brands should have a manager that handles brand safety.”
A 'Crisis' in Online Ads: One-Third of Traffic Is Bogus
As Digital Advertising Climbs Toward $50 Billion This Year, Marketers Battle Fraudulent Visitors
Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.
About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.
So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people.
The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers. The identities of the fraudsters are murky, and they often operate from far-flung places such as Eastern Europe, security experts say.
The widespread fraud isn't discouraging most marketers from increasing the portion of their ad budgets spent online. But it is prompting some to become more aggressive in monitoring how their money is spent. The Internet has become so central to consumers, that advertisers can't afford to stay away.
Digital "is too important," says Roxanne Barretto, assistant vice president for U.S. digital marketing at L'Oréal SA, which recently uncovered evidence that an online ad purchase was affected by fraud and other problems. "Slowing down spend represents a missed opportunity to connect with our core audience."
Spending on digital advertising—which includes social media and mobile devices—is expected to rise nearly 17% to $50 billion in the U.S. this year. That would be about 28% of total U.S. ad spending. Just five years ago, digital accounted for 16%.
The big question is whether attitudes will change if signs of fraud increase. Many people in the ad business are worried. Ziff Davis Inc. Chief Executive Vivek Shah, the chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said at the group's annual conference last month that Internet advertising was facing a "crisis."
Several big advertisers—including L'Oréal, General Motors Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. —have found that some of their online ad purchases were affected by fake traffic, people familiar with the situation say. Such examples threaten advertiser confidence in the effectiveness of digital compared with traditional media, such as television.
"When you bundle bots, clicks fraud, viewablity and the lack of transparency [in automated ad buying], the total digital-media value equation is being questioned and totally challenged," says Bob Liodice, chief executive of the Association of National Advertisers trade group. Advertisers are beginning to question if they should increase their digital ad budgets, he says.