Thursday, 29 March 2012

A piece of software that is making me smile!

After my moan yesterday about Microsoft Outlook, I think I may have stumbled on a piece of software that actually does what it's meant to!  (But it's nothing to do with email.)  It was recommended to me by Social Media expert, Paul O'Mahoney, who has been using it for some time.  (And it's nothing to do with internet marketing either.)  According to the blurb, its function is to "turbo-charge your mind", which it does by flashing subliminal affirmations onto your computer screen.  So, while you're sitting reading your emails or surfing the net or writing a letter or doing your accounts, every few seconds you're being reminded that "I am focused", "I remember names easily", "I can learn anything", "I achieve great results", "success follows me" or whichever of the many affirmations offered you have chosen as appropriate.  And if the list doesn't have the affirmation you want, you can add it.

Now I tend to be a bit suspicious of things that sound so simple, and I'm not sure that I'd have bought the software - called Subliminal Power - if it hadn't been for Paul's glowing recommendation and the many effusive reviews on the Subliminal Power website (including one from Mark Anastasi who says 'It's amazing').  So I thought I'd try it.  It's not expensive (only $39.95 if you download it, and an extra $10 if you want the CD as well).  I installed it yesterday and, well, I think it might be starting to work.

The affirmations come in packages and I've got the "laser sharp focus", "magnificent memory" and "business success" packages running at the moment.  Not sure if it's my imagination, but I certainly do seem to be a bit more focused today.  And since my memory has never been all that good, I'll be interested to see whether it improves - and absolutely delighted if it does.

I'm watching eagerly for signs of improvement and, meanwhile, the thought that something so simple could actually work is making me smile!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Microsoft Outlook is driving me bananas!!!

I’ve recently changed my computer and have Windows 7 installed, together with the latest version of Microsoft Outlook.  Windows 7 is OK (I was a Vista fan and there’s not too much difference).  But Microsoft Outlook is driving me bananas.  Although I have the junk mail filter turned off, it insists on shoving stuff into the junk folder.  This doesn't stop junk turning up in my inbox - well, I don't mind that - after all, how long does it take to click 'delete'?  But what I do object to is the legitimate emails that regularly turn up in the junk folder.

There's a company that sends me a daily email - I've requested it and I always read it, but it always goes into the junk folder.  And before you say 'why don't you add it to your white list?', I have - countless times.  It makes no difference at all.  This despite the statement that 'email from addresses or domain names on your safe senders list will never be treated as junk mail'.  Oh really?

And what on earth is it that makes the software categorise something as junk?  Today emails from Facebook and Paypal were treated as junk.  But the icing on the cake was when an email that I sent myself as a memo (from my own address to my own address) was treated as junk!

Perhaps if I turned on the junk filter, it would start shoving everything into the junk folder and then at least all my new emails would be in the same place.  Hmm . . . it's worth a try!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

So are there alternatives to Google adwords?

If you've read my previous post, you'll know about my friend Peter who was 'suspended' (ie banned) from using Google adwords.  After the shock had died down, he decided he needed to find out if there were any alternative ways of promoting his current website and the information products he intended to write.  Could Google really end his career on the internet at one fell swoop, or were adwords just one way among many of driving traffic to his site?

After a short search he discovered the website of Ryan Healy.  Ryan is a freelance direct response copywriter, who has worked for some of the top names in internet marketing, and is co-author of the book    Million-Dollar Marketing Secrets.  In September 2010, he was suspended by Google adwords.  In a post on his blog, he says "I still don’t know exactly why I was suspended.  I know it had to do with something on this domain. From what I was able to figure out, my site was classified as a “make money” site, probably because I’m a freelance copywriter who helps clients make money.
In Google’s eyes, it’s apparently an “unforgivable sin” to talk about making money or help others to make money."

Like Peter, Ryan found Google less than helpful.  He writes "I would gladly fix my site if Google were willing to tell me what I did wrong. Isn’t that how a business relationship works?  Communication has to flow both ways. The merchant and customer need to work together for a fruitful relationship. But Google doesn’t seem to want good business relationships.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re spending $500 a month or $30,000 a month — they’ll cut you off without notice if you so much as blink the wrong way.  I spent exactly $9,825.74 on AdWords before my account was suspended. A client of mine was spending $30,000 a month up until two weeks ago when he, too, was suspended without warning.  Who the hell snubs a customer who’s spending $30K a month and then won’t even give the customer the courtesy of an explanation?"

Peter read through the post, in one way reassured that he was not alone but increasingly depressed and angry about Google's high handed attitude.  However, his spirits lifted when he got to the final subheading and read "Google Is Not the Only Game in Town!"

Ryan lists a number of alternatives: 
  • Bing Ads: At the moment, Bing is probably as close as you’ll get to a paid search experience with capabilities that are similar to AdWords.
  • Facebook Ads: Advertising on Facebook is fun because you get to combine images with ad copy. Advertising on Facebook lets you target groups of people by interests and demographics.
  • Amazon Pay-Per-Click: If you sell physical products, then you may want to advertise on Amazon. Right now, you can start advertising for as little as $0.10 a click.
  • LinkedIn Ads: If you are in the B2B market, then consider advertising on LinkedIn. You may actually spend less to acquire sales and leads on LinkedIn given your ability to target exactly who you want to reach.
  • Infolinks In-Text Advertising: This company lets you place text links on a network of publishers’ web sites. When a reader rolls over your link, an ad pops up. This medium is similar to Google’s Content Network — but you get more than just text to get readers to click.
He concludes by saying "I’ve only scratched the surface here. The more I investigate, the more I begin to see how many alternatives to AdWords are available.  Whether your AdWords account has been suspended or not… I strongly suggest you explore other advertising options and begin to divert a portion of your ad spend away from Google.  Because the way things are going at Google, it’s only a matter of time before your AdWords account is “permanently suspended.”

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma - part 3

Mention Google's 'User Deception' policy to a friend of mine and you'll see steam coming out of his ears.  He is one of those who was caught out by the subtleties (or obscurities) of meaning in this policy.  Now, I have to say that this friend - let's call him Peter - is as honest as the day is long and will go out of his way to to do things ethically and fairly.  So, when Google told him that he had been suspended - and when he discovered why - he was appalled.

Peter had only recently gone into internet marketing.  He's a professional man, now retired, and had thought that he might share his knowledge and experience in his own field via a website.  He set one up and ran a successful short adwords campaign (based on Armand Morin's Secret PPC method) to drive people to the site.

Some time later, he signed up for Simon Coulson's Internet Cashflow course and found it both interesting and useful.  It was certainly something he'd recommend to other people, so he decided to promote the course as an affiliate.  And it seemed the obvious thing to promote it via Google adwords, using the same method as before.

Now, Armand's method requires the use of banner ads and, when you submit a banner ad to Google, you have to wait for it to be approved, unlike the ordinary line ads which go live as soon as they're submitted.  And so Peter discovered that he'd been banned not for running an ad that was contrary to policy but simply for submitting one for approval!  Believing that it must have been the wording of his ad that was at fault, he replied to the email from Google, explaining that this was a genuine mistake and asking them to reconsider.

The reply Peter received from Google was uncompromising.  He read in growing disbelief that his account had been suspended "due to submissions of ads that promote an Unacceptable Business Practice - get rich quick.  In response to the many complaints that we have received from users and publishers, we've decided not to allow ads which promote "get rich quick" sites."

How, he wondered, could a website which offered a year-long course, involving a considerable amount of study and work, be considered a 'get rich quick' site?  True, Simon Coulson promotes the course as being the system that he used to make £2 million and that his students have used to make considerable incomes, but does that make it a 'get rich quick' system?  Simon has made over £2 million and a number of his students have done extremely well using this system, so he's only stating what is true.

Once again Peter contacted Google, explaining that he had assumed (wrongly, it appeared) that a 'get rich quick site' was one that was underhand or was trying to pull the wool over people's eyes by promising them something that was unnattainable - for example, £20,000 in the first week with only half an hour of work a day.  He pointed out why, while Simon Coulson's site truthfully said that large incomes could be achieved with this system, there was no suggestion that this would be achieved quickly.  Google was unmoved.  However, he was told that if he 'changed the wording on the website' his case might be reconsidered.  When he replied that it was not his website, he was told there was nothing that could be done.

So there he was, banned for life for innocently trying to promote a perfectly genuine website selling a course which he had found very helpful.  And from what he has heard since, many internet marketing sites have met the same fate.  If you Google 'make money online', the ads that come up are all concerned with gambling or modelling for 'sexy cam' sites.  Personally, I'd rather see ads about internet marketing courses.