fc_barcelona

Barcelona 2 – Manchester Utd 0

fc_barcelonaI couldnt let the biggest game in Europe go by without congratulating Barcelona. At times played breathtaking football.

So both teams end up with three trophies, I am sure Barca will be the happiest though

Well done!

Latest Email Scam – Trying another Tack

I have just started receiving a new wave of scam emails, these look like phishing ones (where the perpetrators try to mimic a reputable website, to encourage the public to enter personal details etc ), but the twist is that they are now changing from fear related (ie for your security, or there was a problem style) to reward related.

Here is the email I just got, I have removed the link, but left the link text:

Subject: Complete our quiz for a chance at 500$
From: quiz@commbank.com.au

Complete our quiz for a chance at 500$

We will randomly draw 50 winners from those that respond with all correct responses and deposit $500 in the customer's account.
You may only enter once and must be a member to enter. 

Please follow the link below to proceed: 

<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext">http://www.commbank.commbankcau.com/quiz/</a>

Winners will be notified by phone and/or mail. 

You must complete this quiz within 24 hours to win. 

Sincerely,
Commonwealth Bank

Notice that the domain of the email quiz@commbank.com.au
, and the domain name of the link www.commbank.commbankcau.com
are different

These are all attempts to trick people into clicking the link and handing over their details.

Once again, any emails coming from your, or another bank or financial institution like Paypal should be treated with caution. As a rule, do not follow any links in these kinds of emails. Go to your Bookmarks, or search in Google for the text of the email to see if you can find any mention of scam related issues.

Let me know if you have seen something similar, or other tactics these people are trying to use to trick us.

Why your Website needs a “Call to Action”

People use the internet for all sorts of things: Entertainment, Shopping, Information. Their path through the internet may seem at times random, taking funny turns from topic to unrelated topic.

However, at all times, people are open to opportunity and things of interest.

I know there are times that I realise I am a long way away from what I originally started my search for.

What will happen though is that people will come across your website because they found something of interest. It may be a listing on a search engine, directory listing, article or other forms of advertising.

The key thing is to take advantage of the visit to convert them into a customer.

Conversions of visitors into customers is where the money is, no point having visitors that don’t end up doing what you want them to…whatever that is.

This is where a call to action is important. Why let chance determine whether someone does business with you. People have little time and clear, definite calls to action helps people get to the right place, for them as a prospective customer and you as the business owner.

So what works?

There are a few key things to consider

Placement – Where should it be?

It needs to be visible, the more visible the better. It needs to be “above the fold” , this is the part of your website visible without scrolling. Imagine it as a newspaper folder on the shop counter, you only get to see the first half of the front page, same as your website.

If your call to action is below this, research states that between 70-90% of visitors will not scroll on the first page of their visit to your site.

Some sites have heat maps, that show where people look the most, and spend the most time looking at. Here is a view from Google regarding where to place Adsense ads. While here are real case studies on Websites in the UK

What to Say?

Ok, so you have decided where you want t put your call to action, so what should it say.

This depends on what type of site you have and what you want people to do. Here are some examples

  • Buy Now
  • Book Now
  • Act Now – offer expires May 31st
  • Get a free e-book by joining our newsletter NOW.  Click here!

All these things are driving people towards the goal you wish them to complete.

Summary

Call To Actions are important in increasing your visitors to customers. This is the art of conversion optimisation.

Try different wording and styles, colour can make a difference too.

The important thing is not to leave it to chance, let your visitors know what you want them to do and more of them will become customers.

Beware the Powerpoint Virus

This give attackers access to everything the host user has access to. So this is obviously worse for someone with administrator privileges.

Microsoft has deemed the problem as critical, the top rating on their security scale.

Symantec’s virus hunters have dubbed the virus Trojan.PPDropper.B, while other antivirus makers are likely dissecting it as well. It follows a well-worn pattern: an email arrives from an unknown source, in this case from a Gmail account, and has a PowerPoint file attached. The email has Chinese characters in it, which would indicate its origins are in Asia.

Interestingly, the latest viruses are appearing just after Microsoft’s regular update to try and allow the virus or exploit to be in the wild for as long as possible.

Here is a link to the Microsoft website (Security Bulletin MS09-017), where the exploit description and how to protect your software is located

Hulu and Vimeo vs Youtube

There has been plenty of talk about online video.

When Google bought Youtube, that seemed to be the end of online video sites, as they had with Google Video over 80% of the video market.

However, Hulu and Vimeo have made waves for different reasons.

Hulu is the one closest to Youtube in style and delivery. The key change seems to be the promotion of commercially produced full length episodes of TV programs so often banned and taken down on other sites.

Youtube is still the choice for uploading any kind of content, subject to the terms and conditions. If you are quick enough, you can find replays of Champions League, Premier League and more. Wait a couple of hours and the videos are starting to be taken down as violation of copyright.

The surprising thing is that people do it every day, knowing they will only last a short time. The amount of resource that Youtube (and other providers) need to put into the policing of this is amazing.

However, for non US residents, Hulu is not available, due to copyright agreements in place in other countries around the world.

They provide a popup, where you can put your email and region, so they can let you know when Hulu becomes available. (It could take some time)

Then there is Vimeo. Vimeo is a different kettle of fish. They provide this as a simple guideline to the content they want on their site

Vimeo exists to provide you with a space to showcase your creativity and share your life. As such, we do not allow you to upload videos that are commercial in nature or videos that you did not make yourself

So, this gives a completely different feel and purpose for this video site. I have seen Vimeo used for hosting training, video tutorials, video blog files and more.

The quality seems better than Youtube (even though the controls seem a bit obtrusive) so looks like a nice platform.

You won’t beat Youtube for potential traffic and viralness (Is that a word?) but Vimeo looks like a great alternative for staging video content on your site.

Do you have a preference, any others  worth noting?

CNBC IT Co. Limited are at it again – More Domain Scams

I had an enquiry for a client about an email they received, as soon as I saw the content and who it was referring to, it was obviously a scam I blogged about earlier, and with SEDO here.

The ones I received, were sent directly to my email address, supposedly from the WHOIS record of my domain. That wouls make sense, as it should be that person responsible for the renwal or registering of the domain.

My clients one however, was sent via the contact form on her website.

It pretty much says the same thing, but it is the first I have seen sent using this method.

Possibly passing Antispam due to the originating email coming from the sites mailserver.

Here is the content of the email

Below is the result of your feedback form.  It was submitted by
(paul@cnbcgov.org.cn) on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 22:47:02
—————————————————————————

feedbacktype: General Information

name: paul

comments: Dear CEO,

We are CNBC IT Co.,Limted, which is the domain name registration organization in China, which mainly deal with international company’s in china. We have something important need to confirm with your company.

On the May 06, 2009, we received an application formally. One company named huaxia Investment (china) Co., Ltd applied for the Internet brand name “clientdomain” and the Domain names “clientdomain.cn” “clientdomain.asia” etc. . which involve internet intellectual property right of your company.

These days we are dealing with it. In order to deal with this issue better,We would like to get the affirmation of your company,please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible. Please let someone in your company who is responsible for trademark or intellectual right contact me freely.

Best Regards,
paul
CNBC IT Co.,Limted

Tel:+86-797-6654451
Fax:+86-797-6654452
Web:www.cnbcgov.org.cn

2009-05-06
paul

So you will see that the information hasnt really changed, but the delivery has.

Let me know in the comments if you have seen any variations on this.

district_nine_xlg

District 9 – Peter Jacksons upcoming Scifi Film

district_nine_xlgOne of the best pre release implementations is Peter Jackson’s District 9.

Not necessarily the best marketed, as I only found a link to it when reading about something else, but once I had started to look at the things they had done on the web, it really makes me want to watch the movie when it releases in August.

I watched the trailer and while interesting, it wasn’t compelling.

However, the supporting website seem really cool, from the “real” looking company website, to the information portal for either humans or non-humans (with translations of course)

They even have a amateur looking Maths quiz to see if you have the right potential (I got 6 out of 10, which wasn’t good enough)

I also had a laugh at the blog written by one of the aliens.

It really got me looking and peaked my interest into the movie.

Whether this is the idea of Peter himself or one of his creative advisors, I have to give it a big thumbs up.

Do you know of any other movie tie ins that are really well done? I am not talking about flashy promos for the film, but something more subtle and clever like D9?

Time for the Government to take a bold lead

We are in uncertain times, but taking a bold lead in the upgrading of the countries Broadband infrastructure would be the right move.

With the Government already pledging 1.5bn to help trigger private investment in the nations fibre network, they obviously see the potential and necessity in upgrading our current creaking offering.

Vodafone seem to be seeing things similarly, whereas Telecom and Telstraclear have differing views, possible clouded due to their existing investment in infrastructure.

I believe that the country would benefit from a “lead from the front” mentality. Asking others to come to the party is all and good, but by expecting private enterprise to provide more infrastructure spending then the Government is will to provide puts the whole project on the wrong footing.

It seems like it is the Government supporting private investment, rather than the other way around.

Given the Governments concern about the economy, things need to be looked at very carefully, but the level of investment is large and John Key needs to show that he means business.

New Zealand can benefit more, relatively, than other countries, due to our distance from other countries.

After doing a speed test at a clients house, we found that New Zealands average connection speed was under 5mbps, where as South Korea was top with over 17mbps (and that is an average)

Ignoring home users for now, business will benefit from the speed that information can be transmitted. Efficiencies can be harnessed by collaborating online, telecommunting can become a reality.

Add in the benefits that home users will find and the folw on effects for advertisers and ecommerce and this shows the benefits this upgrade will provide us.

I hope that there are decisions made quickly so the benefits are felt soon.

Even though my town isnt eligible, NZ needs the speed.

Market Research for Website Owners – Know your Market

In my SEO courses, one of the key things I talk about at the start is the need to do good research. Having resources at your disposal to find information related to your business and your website.

Doing business online is a bit like shooting blind without the right information, you know there is something out there, but you might die from starvation before you are lucky enough to shoot something.

Whether you have a website already, or are looking to start one soon, this is a key step.

When you are looking at your markets, you need to identify who is most likely to need your services.

Men, Women, Old, Young.

Here is a good article from Webpronews on the buying habits of men and women.

I think there are some key things like:

both genders agree that ease of use is the most important aspect of usability. Pose as a visitor. How easy it is to upload/download/view/purchase? However, men prize download speed over easy navigation, while women place both easy navigation and accessibility ahead of download speed.

This can make some serious difference to the way your site has been designed, but also in the path people must pass to complete the action you are wanting (subscription, purchases etc)

And an interesting generalisation

unless your website is very niche, that when you design a site for general use, you’re really designing a site for women. If you can make it fast and easy, and leave out the purple, men will like it, too.

In addition to market research, research around keywords and key phrases is another important step on the road to making your website work for your business.

Many sites are built with no regard to how it is presented to a search engine. Consideration must be given to the words and phrases that people use to find what you are selling.

Put yourself in your buyers shoes, what solutions do you provide to their problems and more importantly, what are they searching for. By mimicking their enquiries with the search engines, you are in a better position to be found.

Tools like Wordtracker (7 day trial, but costs USD329 for a year, or USD59 for a month) are great to find out what people are searching for. Your web stats only show what your are found for, not what you are NOT found for.

For a free alternative, use Google Adwords Keyword Tool, to find words and phrases that you could include in your text on your website.

Research and information gathering doesn’t end once the site is built.

Key statistics can help you make informed decisions on changes to your website. I talk to many website owners who don’t know how many visitors they get every month, how many enquiries they get, where there visitors are coming from.

This information is critical to being able to make a difference to the way your website is performing.

Conversions of visitors into purchasers is what the website is all about. Sometimes, people spend too much time and effort getting people to their website, rather than spending time on getting those who are already there, making purchases on the site.

On a previous post I linked to a video on the same site that talked about e-commerce optimisation and making things as easy as possible for people to make a purchase.

Immersing yourself in information about your website and the markets you are attracting is the best way to arm yourself for the battle with other websites in your industry.

It could make all the difference.