When an image Watermark is too much.

Photographers use watermarks to protect their work from image theft. But there is situations where watermarks can do more harm than good like going overboard with them.

More than one watermark, large or colored text, watermarks that run through the center of the image, basically any watermark that is too prominent distracts from the image and can actually hurt business.

People who buy photo are less likely to want to license an image with overly distracting watermarks. They may think you are a difficult person to work with.

Your images are less likely to be shared by others via social networks especially those that already link back to your work.

Building excitement about your work is important for your business and subtle, non distracting watermarks are more likely to do that.

Fact is, someone who wants to steal your work will. It’s not hard to remove a watermark. So overdoing it on your watermark isn’t going to really do anything but ruin your awesome image.

Announcing Hawaii’s first Viral Marketing group 808 Viral

BOSS is proud to announce our new project Hawaii’s first Viral Marketing Group 808 Viral.

Since my first viral video in 2006, I have been creating viral content. A few years ago I was able to start generating extra income and it just spiraled from there.  Over the last few years I have met some amazingly talented content creators and started doing collaborative projects on Hawaii Vines and Instagram then eventually YouTube.

Recently a few of us decided to start 808 Viral, and immediately generated our first viral post SPAM OREOS.  Since then we have had hit after hit, our latest one MOKES TRY VEGAN food hit a million views in 24 hours and our Facebook page went from 9000 followers to 20,000 in 3 days.  Other Viral projects include: Shaka Like icon (now seen on Facebook), Spam Oreos, Loco Mocosubi, Dog Reacts to Cancer Test Results, Spot the Cat (Kittydorable), Mermaid Kariel and much more.

My viral content is currently totaling close to 100 millions views, with social media pages over 400k followers and has been on: MtV, Ellen, Buzzfeed, YouTube front page, trending on Facebook and Twitter, front page of Reddit, DailyNet, Marlon Wayons, Barstool Sports, Fox News, Elite Daily, Distractify, Live Leak and much more.

YELP ATTACKS THE PRODUCER OF BILLION DOLLAR BULLY

Producer Kylie Milliken is currently in production on documentary Billion Dollar Bully which is an  investigative documentary about Yelp that examines the claims by business owners of extortion, review manipulation and review fabrication.

Yelp, who is notoriously defensive, is not happy and has fired back in an unusual way.  Shannon Eis, vice president of corporate communications, went on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” where she went head to head with Milliken.  She revealed that she had several sock puppet accounts that she used to review her husband.   As you can see, they actually released a screen shot revealing her username, something they claim they don’t do as well as her husbands business name.   After looking at their privacy policy, turns out they are within their right to do this, because if you join Yelp you have no privacy.  They can do what they want with all of your information including giving it to 3rd parties and in this case use it to retaliate by releasing it to the public.

For a company who is trying to defend being called “mob like” and “Bullies” it is very surprising to see their reaction here.  What Yelp is telling people is that as long as you don’t upset them, you have nothing to worry about.  And its  telling us that they must be worried, otherwise why react at all.

The truth is I have more than one account.  If they looked at my IP they would see quite a bit.  Some are clients whose accounts I have created and claimed for them which is not against policy.  And some are accounts I set up to test out accounts I feel are blacklisted.

And I have a couple I have used for damage control.   I don’t feel bad about that at all.  When you have a website that is misleading your customers due to an admittedly imperfect filter system, we need to offset that damage.  If  Yelp removes valid reviews leaving up one fake negative one,  I personally feel a business has every right to do what they must to manage their reputation the way they see fit.

Notice how defensive Jeremy Stoppleman is when he feels anyone says anything incorrect? In fact Ms. Eis said they are responding to make sure that the facts are made clear.  Yet they tell businesses, so sorry, we realize our imperfect system has made you look bad, just focus on good customer service and move on.  And if you try to defend yourself in anyway, expect to be attacked.

Shannon Eis also accused her of ignoring all of the evidence that, according to Yelp, has long since discredited allegations of extortion, including a Harvard Business School study, a Federal Trade Commission investigation and numerous court cases in which federal judges found no evidence of wrongdoing.

First. The Harvard paper cannot be taken seriously.

One important fact that is left out is that Jeremy Stoppleman is a Harvard man.  If someone else from an entirely unrelated school writes a paper I might be more likely to trust it.

The Harvard Paper points out the power of a one star rating drop and also states that Elite reviewers are more trusted and are recognized as more reliable.  My previous post shows evidence that Elite are certainly NOT reliable and in fact can be quite damaging.

But if you combine the facts from the Harvard Paper and that of a Nielson Report you actually can see Yelps whole strategy.  The Nielson Report that was released prior to that which revealed “people are more than likely will leave a negative review than a positive one”.

So if businesses encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews, the need to market their business via more traditional methods (advertising!) is reduced.  This explains why Yelp has to control businesses so much.

The FTC issue is also not to be taken seriously.  They have historically made mistakes and bad decisions or rulings.  The FTC ruling relating to Amway in the 70’s facilitated product based pyramid schemes.

They area also know to catch on slowly, and as CSPAN said “3 years too late”.  The FTC took forever to finally address all the complaints about DIRECTTV’s hidden charges. And they made numerous mistakes in regards to the Google complaints.

Even the FTC Chairman admits they aren’t perfect, “We’re not a regulatory agency. We’re an enforcement and policy agency, so it’s harder for us to set up rules in advance, so…you’re right…it’s a tricky question…responding to how do we make things better going forward as opposed to correcting mistakes a few years ago…we try our best using the tools that we have”.

And regarding the court cases, Yelp fails to disclose the whole story on some of these.

Yelp actually lost one case and was order to pay the plaintiff,  but then later after an appeal the judge dismissed the case.  Not because Yelp was right (in fact the Judge agreed they were like the Mafia) but because the terms say that you have to go through an arbitrator before court.  So the plaintiff simply made an error in how the case was handled.  The judge initially ruled against Yelp.

Yelp also was sued by a group of its own shareholders. They  filed a class action lawsuit against the company alleging that the Yelp executives sold of more than $81 million in “artificially inflated stock” while deceiving shareholders.

I for one am more than a little interested to see this film.  Anyone who has followed me over the years knows I have heavily disagreed with Yelp as I have witnessed the damage first hand.  It is frustrating to see Yelp dump huge amounts of money into legal fees and creating systems that hurt businesses rather than simply making some changes to the User Operations department so they can fix the issues they know the filter creates.  The problem is that it is hard to get review issues fixed even if it violates policy.  They don’t fix the issues they know exist.

They have an  imperfect computer system that they have had to spend a lot of money defending, that is responsible for our economy and our communities.

If they truly care about businesses like they say they do, they would find a way to integrate  a better system to offset that damage rather than fight against it.

My follow up articles on YELP:

 

Hawaii Web Tips

5 Incredibly useful TIPS for Hawaii Businesses

If you are a Hawaii Business finding yourself navigating the unfamiliar and ever changing world of the web you are no doubt looking to cut through the crap. The rapidly changing online landscape makes it hard for even the professionals to keep up. There is a lot of noise out there and these people are screaming out you from all directions. There is an over saturated market and not enough available education for our small businesses.

As a business you need to know that there are people out there right now targeting Hawaii Businesses. Our Aloha spirit makes Hawaii more susceptible to falling prey.

Through unethical advertising, false or exaggerated claims and outright lies people have succeeded in scamming many local businesses already. I have had many clients come to us trying to recover their losses.

The good news is, that it can be easily avoided.

 

RULE #1 – DO YOUR RESEARCH!

I can’t stress this enough. The secret to avoiding being ripped off, or ending up with something that will cost you more money to fix is this point right here.

CHECK EVERYTHING OUT!

No doubt many of you have already gotten emails, cold calls, even personal visits to your business, claiming they can help you spin your business into online gold.  Some of these people are nice, friendly and charming. Others resort to high pressure sales tactics.

It does not matter what any of these people say or how well intentioned they may seem. No matter how great their website is, how impressive their presentation or marketing materials are, no matter what they promise you. IGNORE IT and follow these tips.

TIPS

  • Avoid unsolicited services. If these businesses were doing what they claim, they would not need to solicit you. The best businesses have people coming to them. Many of them don’t market because they don’t have to.
  • Do your own research. Ask around! Get referrals from local business organizations. Better yet, look around and businesses who seem to be doing it right, and just ask them how they did it and who they use.
  • Avoid using businesses who don’t give examples of their work, or have vague information about who they are and where they are from.  Google them.  Check out their website.  If you have even a little trouble finding information about them on the web be wary. A reputable business will be transparent and easily accessible online.
  • Never rely on their own claims (even screenshots of their work can be manipulated). CHECK THEM OUT. Don’t take their word for it. Taking an hour to simply check out things like if they are a legal business, calling some of their clients, and actually going to the websites in their portfolios to see if they exist is a good idea.
  • Be careful of off shore businesses. Try to stay with local, or at list in country businesses who are REGISTERED legal businesses paying taxes. Not only does it show they are more serious, but it helps you recover damages. Local businesses also do a better job with marketing because they know the area and the keywords that only locals would know.
  • Be careful of Craigslist. I am not saying you can’t find any decent help on Craigslist, I am just saying that you need to know what type of people market there. I would say about 1 in 20 is trustworthy. Many of theme appear to be local, but are actually not. Again, not necessarily a bad thing that they aren’t local, the problem is that a company that is not being forthright and find it necessary to be vague and misleading about their origins and location are not trustworthy.
  • Do not trust a company that promises your page one ranking. No one can guarantee that and no ethical company would make that claim.
  • Try and find a FULL SERVICE company. Someone who not only designs the sites but also codes them. There are web designers and web developers. You want someone who is both. You also want someone who understands that Search Engine Optimization needs to be built into a website and someone who offers education and training, and knows how to integrate and leverage Social Media.

FACT: There are numerous businesses right now, marketing in Hawaii that have false information on their site, from fictional clients, to false local addresses.

 

RULE #2 – KNOW THE ENEMY

So who are the people we see cost businesses the most money? Let’s get to know them:

  1. The well intentioned family member, friend or start up company who set up a facebook page or website once
  2. The unethical money-hungry scam artists.
  3. The off shore or out of state company with the local sales people
  4. You.

 

The Friend or Startup

I am not saying your friends or new companies are bad people.  But well intentioned people can do just as much damage to your business online and it will cost your money in the end.  This could be your friend, your brother in law, your employee, a new business just starting out.  Any experience professional will tell you that we spend more time and more of our clients money repairing the bad work that resulted from a well intentioned person. You were looking to save money and in the end spent more than had you had paid someone to do it right the first time.

There is a lot involved in building websites and successful social media campaigns. It takes years of experience. No one can learn this overnight. Some of these people mean well and are looking for a way to make extra money or start a new career.  I have watched 11 businesses spring up around Hawaii offering social media services in the last 4 months at costs higher than I charge. ALL of them have new twitter and facebook accounts with less than 100 followers, no clients or campaigns to speak of.   They have some great looking websites, and well written content and marketing materials. But not one of them have any experience.

True story:  A client of mine had a sister in law that wanted to start building websites.  She had a built a few and told my client she wanted to redesign theirs.  She didn’t do a bad job with the design.  But she made a lot of rookie mistakes that made it clear she didn’t understand search engine optimization or copyright law.  The site got them in trouble with google and was removed from the searches, they lost all of their ranking and they got hit with $4000 in fees from copyright owners because she used illegal imagery and non licensed products.

 

The out of state company with the local sales people

There are quite a few of these in Hawaii now. They are either out of state or out of country firms that have created website specifically for Hawaii, that have local numbers and addresses (some real and some not). They have hired local sales people to attend meetings or solicit businesses.

The problem I have with these companies are their tactics.  I feel its unethical and misleading to encroach on another market by misrepresenting yourself as a local company. If you want to market in that area fine, but be forthright about who you are and where you are. Several local companies have contacted some of these people. When we asked them outright if they were local they lied or gave answers that implied they were.

You

Don’t hate me for saying this. But as a business owner, you can be your own worst enemy.  SEE RULE #

 

RULE #3   WHEN IN DOUBT, GET HELP

The TRUTH: You are going to have to pay for help. Its just that simple.  Think about your own business.  I am sure there are people who choose to try to do it themselves, or there are cheap options for what you do.  And you know, at some point they are going to need a professional.  If you try to cut corners, you are taking a risk. And if you do that, you only have yourself to blame.

If you can’t afford to hire someone to build your website or run your marketing campaign and plan to try yourself, try hiring a consultant.   Some companies are willing to offer consultations to small businesses. Maybe the web designer you wanted to hire but can’t afford might have an hourly rate and would be willing to sit down with you and help you. Be honest with them. They can discuss your budget, available options, and you can even hire them to teach you or your staff social media or how to update your website.

Workshops and seminars are also a huge help.  Try an attend regular events to help keep you in the KNOW.

 

RULE #4    BUILD A TEAM

When approaching someone to handle your web design or marketing needs, its important you understand a few important things.  You to look at them as part of your team.  You need someone you can trust and that has a history of supporting businesses in your community because things keep changing and you will continue to need help.  Building a relationship with someone now will save you so much time and money over time.

When hiring your own staff, try and find people with experience in social media or online marketing or who are interested in it. Having someone on your staff like that will be hugely helpful.  You can pay them a little more and give them a cool title and make them in charge of working with your web studio. Most will be grateful for the experience as well.

The biggest mistake you can make is treating your prospective web team like you are hiring a new employee and that its their job to impress you.

Here is a little inside information. You are being interviewed too!

You will be sized up and the results of that assessment will determine the cost and whether they will even take the job. In order for us to give you a proper proposal, we have to know what is involved in a project.

Most companies, have a set pricing scale they go from. But there are things that can come into play that will affect this scale and that is YOU. There are red flags they look for in potential clients.

Once you find a team you can trust its important you understand how to work with them. If you have done your homework and followed these tips, you should have a qualified team behind you and should not be worrying. Now, its time to let them do their work.

BE:

  • Timely
  • Available
  • Responsive
  • respectful

NO:

  • Micromanaging
  • Asking WHY too much
  • Nitpicking or complaining about cost

Follow these rules and you will get the best out of them and they will WANT to help you.

 

RULE #5  BE SECURE

There are so many security issues, that it is now more than ever, vitally important you take steps to secure yourself online.

I am surprised by how many people do not have IT people for their computers.   I see clients with very unsecure systems, passwords, emails, etc.

I can tell you that when something goes wrong, and it always does, it is huge and never a good time for them.

BE PROACTIVE, don’t wait for something to go wrong.  Having an IT person come by every few months to check out your computers and help you stay up to date is worth the money.

Have a password system in place, where you and your employees change your passwords regularly.

Consider investing in APPLE products.  Apple has a huge amount of resources, training, and support that does not cost anything and they have an entire department that supports businesses.

 

 

Is the internet making us younger?

Teenagers who are connected to their parents on social media feel closer to them in real life, according to new research from Brigham Young University.

The study of nearly 500 families also found teens that interact with their parents on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are more likely to be generous, kind and helpful to others.

Lead study author Sarah Coyne said one of the reasons social media helps families feel more connected is because it provides people with opportunities to give positive feedback and show affection.

“Social networks give an intimate look at your teenager’s life. It lets parents know what their kids are going through, what their friends think is cool or fun, and helps them feel more connected to their child. It gives a nice little window into what is going on,” she said.

Coyne said half of the teens in the study reported being on social networking sites with their parents, while 16 percent interacted with parents every day through social media.

More frequent interactions were linked to more family closeness, she added.

“The more frequently parents used social media to interact with teens, the stronger the connection.”
Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1112898355/social-media-help-families-connect-071613/#qQPohys3sWWHSvZ6.99The other

 

Did you know, that the internet is not only keeping you young, but  could be actually making you younger?

“There is no doubt that brains are being rewired,” danah boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. “The techniques and mechanisms to engage in rapid-fire attention shifting will be extremely useful for the creative class.”

Studies show that the internet is actually reshaping our brains.   UCLA professor of psychiatry Gary Small studied brain activity in experienced web surfers versus casual web surfers.  MRI scans on both groups to evaluate brain activity revealed that Internet surfing, the brain activity of the experienced Internet users was far more extensive than that of the novices, particularly in the  prefrontal cortex associated with problem-solving and decision making.

However, the two groups had no differences in brain activity when reading simple blocks of text.

Web users had developed because of their Web use.  Dr. Small concluded that “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

The internet helps boost brain power for middle-aged and older people.  By engaging in complicated brain activity,  it helps exercise and improve their brain functions. People are using technology as external memory storage.

Los Angeles Times says, quoting the researchers:

[W]e’ve come to use our laptops, tablets and smartphones as a ‘form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside of ourselves. … We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where information can be found.’

Sparrow believes that this is what is making us smarter, because we don’t waste energy trying to memorize facts, which is reserving brainpower for understanding the big picture.

Seniors

Facts show the correlation between longer, healthier lives and feeling happy and more connected to others.  Technology gives plenty of tools to communicate and stay connected.   A bedridden grandparent can attend a grandchild’s birthday, or stay in contact via voice and text communication over the internet. Access to medical information can literally be a life-saver for seniors.  Websites like WebMD offer valuable information ranging from early warning signs to cutting edge treatments.

WebMD also offers tips as well as advice for specific diseases, including articles and summaries of the medical procedures and medications available on the market. Greater knowledge and informed decisions can significantly improve  life expectancy. By recognizing and treating ailments sooner and more effectively, they can often be managed more efficiently.

the DIY Generation

DIY or Dot it Yourself videos and articles allow people to learn, stay active, and even save money.  You can keep up with or even learn a favorite sport or hobby, with video sites like Youtube.com, Espn.com or Hulu.com.   You can learn how to fix your car, troubleshoot a hardware issue, play guitar, even deliver a baby.   You can shop online, watch movies, and get coupons.

All of this activity is keeping the mind continually engaged, and an engaged mind will stay healthy, and less likely to develop degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.

Brigham Young University did a study that shows staying socially engaged and interacting regularly with friends and family can help you live longer by reducing feelings of depression, stress, and risky behavior, while encouraging you to care more for your health.

Lack of regular social interaction can have the same negative health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! 

 

The internet keeps you COOL

The other day, I was on Facebook and I was watching a conversation between my friend and her teenage daughter.  They were sharing the love of a song that had recently come out.  Looking over the course of their Facebook activity, their posts were filled with the sharing of pop culture, trends and current events.  If you didn’t know they were mother daughter, you would think they were friends.  Mom  understood and  used all the terminology, and daughter was enjoying talking about it with her and not embarrassed that her mom was practicing her twerking, or was using terms like “peeps” and “bae”.

I think most people in their thirties and older can related, that we thought our parents were so UNCOOL and didn’t understand us, our generation or our music.  I rebelled against my parents and got into a lot of trouble.  I could talk about things openly in front of them and know they had no idea what I was talking about.  That was because until the 2000’s, parents didn’t have the internet to keep up to date with the trends.  The only information parents were getting was what kids CHOSE to tell them.  And let’s be honest, in a “parents just don’t understand” generation, that was very little.

The internet has changed how we interact with our kids.  Now we can actually keep up with the “cool kids” which helps to build a stronger connection and support system.

Researcher Sanford Grossbart explored the relationship between the mother and child and how Internet use affected this relationship.  The basis is that around the relationship between parent and child is highly influenced by the changing experiences and events of the generation.

“Parental warmth” is a factor in how receptive a parent is to being taught by their child.   Parents who are open are more open to learning how to use the Internet from their child even if the parent happened to be more knowledgeable on the subject.   This fosters teaching in a positive environment, which sustains a strong relationship between mother and child, encourages education, and promotes mature behavior.

WIRED

“The explosion of technology over the last 10 years is just the start of a symbiotic new world. Computers and handsets are becoming an extension of body and mind, creating a Cyborg-like population.” says author Marc Prensky

The human race is now in a struggle to keep up with technology.

While we may be struggling to keep up,  the facts show that overall, the advance in technology is completely changing and greatly benefiting how we live our lives and even  how long.