Submit your business or personal news, photos, calendar events, or classified items on jamadots.com today.
At jamadots.com, not only do we wish to be part of the communities we serve, but we also want to work with you to help build those communities. This is why we want you to share how things are going where you live. Have you got a newsworthy item to publicize? What events are taking place that you would like to promote to others across the UP? Do you have an item you would like to advertise to a larger audience so that you may sell it faster? Have you got some terrific photos to share?
If you answered yes to one, or more, of these questions jamadots.com is the community website for you. With approximately 80,000 pageviews each month, this is the UP portal that can help you get your information noticed.
It’s easy, fast, and FREE to share your information. Here’s how:
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Select the service area to which you want to post your information by clicking on the community on the map landing page. This will set a cookie on your computer that will remember this page for future visits. Should you wish to change to another community in the future, just click on ‘Not your community? Click Here’ (shown below).
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What could be easier? Jamadots.com. is the fastest, most convenient and FREE way to get your information seen by the rest of the UP. We encourage you to post your items today.
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We appreciate your ongoing support in the community. We look forward to hearing from and working with you!Tags: aligncenter, caption, com, community, community portal, information, Portal, width
Most small retailers (51 percent) believe there is a growing ‘buy local’ sentiment in the U.S., according to the American Express OPEN Retail Economic Pulse, a survey of retail small business owners with storefront locations. A majority of those surveyed (55 percent) believe that ‘buy local’ campaigns can help small businesses compete in challenging economic times.
Most small retailers (57 percent) are planning local campaigns in 2011. One in five small retailers also say they plan to give more of their business to local businesses (20 percent) in 2011.
More than one third (36 percent) of small retailers say the biggest incentive for consumers to buy at local, independent businesses is ‘better customer service’. The second biggest incentive is supporting the community by creating local jobs (16 percent).
Local market and the web
The Retail Economic Pulse revealed half of small retailers currently advertise on local business review sites such as Yahoo! Local and Yelp. At least one in five will use social media to offer local promotions (22 percent).
Overall, half (51 percent) of small retailers will use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for their businesses in 2011. Most retail small business owners expect to increase social media in 2011 (37 percent) or keep social media plans the same as 2010 (14 percent).
For key findings from the survey, download the American Express OPEN Retail Economic Pulse Fact Sheet.Auto, Draft
You can laugh now, but some years ago you were getting a very nice deal by buying a $3398 10MB hard drive.
A sexy modem? Come on!
Two are always better than one. At least according to this 1978 ad from Technico Inc. TMS9900.
Remember Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? Besides appearing on TV in features like Elvira’s Movie Macabre Halloween Special, Elvira also invited Computerworld readers to “cut through paper-based CASE [computer-aided software engineering] methods with LBMS” software.
This ad won’t make any sense if you’re not a follower of the TV series Lost. However, if you are, you’ll find it amusing…
It’s small and light at ‘only’ 11+ lbs.
“With WordStar, you have a true screen image of what your printout will look like before you print it! With WordStar, you’ll erase, insert, delete and move entire blocks of copy.” Gee, it’s like magic!
Would you say this ad was a little sexist?
Every Kid Should Have an Apple after School.
In the future, everyone will use floppy disks.
Broadband access and technology adoption are critically important to economic development. It is a necessity if Michigan is to compete in our high-tech new world but many areas of Michigan still lack this lifeline to our information-driven economy. In May, the MPSC, in conjunction with Connected Nation, released a set of interactive maps showing that more than 95% of Michigan households have access to broadband services.
Thanks to an actual public/private partnership, we now know that Michigan’s broadband providers have done a remarkable job of investing in advanced networks.
Cutting corners with deception
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The internet is full of people looking to deceive you and take advantage of you. That means it’s a great place to find deceptive marketing practices.
I know — shocker.
Today, I’ll share with you some of the most common deceptive digital marketing practices. To be clear, I’m not talking about criminal activities including things like phishing, offers from Nigerian princes, or even spam about “male enhancement.” I’m talking about those deceptive tactics that, while not illegal, fall squarely in that grey area that always looks so tempting. Some of you reading this may have strayed into this area once or twice. Some more of you are probably there right now. And a few of you are there, but might not even realize it.
In this article, each of these 10 practices receive a score from 1 to 10, with 10 being criminal (literally) and 1 being “poor form.” Simply put, all of these deceptive practices amount to people just cutting corners. How many is your company using right now?
AstroTurfing; lucky guesses
1. AstroTurfing (aka, we make it look like real people actually care about us)
Deception score: 6
Simply put, AstroTurfing is when a company or group creates a campaign designed to look like a grassroots consumer movement when, in fact, it’s completely artificial. Get it? Astroturf = fake grass. In each case, the company attempts to hide its involvement so that that the ruse continues, all the while hoping we never find out.
Examples of AstroTurfing can be found both offline and online. An infamous example of AstroTurfing in digital was perpetrated by Sony in 2006 with its “All I Want for Xmas is a PSP.” Sony secretly set up a blog featuring what was supposed to be a couple of random teens (even if they looked like they were in their early 30s) on a quest for a PSP. The problem is that it didn’t take long for someone to figure out that it was all a sham.
As you can see from the image of the site after Sony was “busted,” at least it’s admitting that you caught them. Amazingly, the company is still sticking with these absurd characters to deliver their apology.
2. Lucky guess (aka, we were “smart” enough to acquire your email address, so we’re sending you stuff)
Deception score: 5
If you’re like me, you probably find yourself on the registration page of a lot of websites. Whether you’re making a purchase or signing up for “exclusive content,” every company wants to capture your information so it might have an ongoing relationship with you. I’m fine with that. Of course, that assumes I want to have a relationship with you. Chances are that I don’t.
In the picture above, I’m pointing out one of my favorite features in Gmail: the “Report spam” button. I’ve got a similar one in Outlook for my company address as well. I use it a lot. I’d estimate that I get between five and 10 emails a day looking to sell me one service or another. As someone who was a business development director for a while, everyone seemed to have a list, platform, or application they wanted to sell me. I suppose that made me a prime target for this deceptive practice.
These emails come from out of the blue and from people I know I’ve never met, much less asked to send me anything. I don’t think I’m on a giant list, as I’d expect much more unwelcome email. And indeed, I recently got one of these people to confess as to where she got my email. She told me (adding in a smile emoticon), “I guessed it.”
Well, congratulations, you guessed it. It’s not like my email address includes enough characters to be as secure as nuclear launch codes. Guessing my address is not an impressive feat — to be sure, it’s not something to brag about. If you send me unsolicited commercial email, whether you used your Kreskin-like powers to guess it or not, it’s spam in my book. It’s also spam according to some regulators.
If you want to speak to me, then ask for my permission. Don’t assume your potential customers want to be interrupted to hear about your product. And don’t assume they won’t be annoyed when you do interrupt them. By the way, if enough people press that “Report spam” button on your messages, Google won’t be delivering any of your messages to anyone. Not good.
Anonymous cleanup; image manipulation
3. Anonymous tidying (aka, we fix what we don’t like and hope you don’t find out)
Deception score: 5
This will come as a revelation to some, but here goes: If you try to cover up your identity online, people will find out. Always. Not today necessarily or even tomorrow, but eventually. Yet some companies still can’t resist trying anyway and think they’ll be the one that gets away with it. So, companies end up going under cover and do a little “tidying” all around the internet.
Perhaps the most infamous place to make these sorts of edits is Wikipedia. As an open community, anyone can edit it, and some companies have done just that. The good thing for these companies is that they used to be able to do this completely anonymously. Enter WikiScanner, which matches up IP addresses to enable you to see which companies own all those anonymous edits. Anonymity gone.
When the tool was first released in August 2007, quite a few companies — including Apple, Dell, Fox News, Halliburton, and many more — got black eyes for some edits they made. Even the CIA was a frequent editor of content it didn’t appreciate. One of my favorite examples comes from Ford, which edited the Dodge Rampage article to describe it as an “ugly little truck.” Oops.
4. A little off the top (aka, we reject reality and substitute our own stylized version)
Deception score: 4
I probably don’t even need to say what the problem is here once you look at these pictures, but let’s just say that the credit for these images goes to the Photoshop Disasters blog. If you still don’t see what’s wrong with these, I think the folks at Boing Boing described it best: “Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis.”
Clearly, no human has proportions like this, and Ralph Lauren has since admitted to a little Photoshop tomfoolery — but the company took a shot. It appears that, for many marketers, there’s no reason to accept reality when there is great image editing software available.
“What harm does it do for a marketer to edit its own photos?” you ask. Well, the next step is this:
I’m guessing you see the problem here (image via Huffington Post).
Trapping visitors; an inability to cancel
5. No escape (aka, we’ve put in a lot of effort to get you here, so we’re not letting you leave now)
Deception score: 7
Take a quick look at the box above. Assuming you don’t want the “Special DISCOUNT” that’s being offered, which button do you press? “OK” or “Cancel”?
I’ve read this thing three times, and I’m still not sure.
When people click on the big red “X” on their browser (or the little red circle for you Mac folks), it generally means that they want to leave your site. They either found what they wanted or didn’t. But now they’re ready to leave. You really should let them.
I’m not completely against any form of pop-up. However, when you make it intentionally confusing to leave your site, it’s another story. Do you think this makes people more likely or less likely to buy your products? Does anyone really say, “Gosh, I was a bit annoyed that you tricked me into staying, but now I’m relieved because I almost lost you forever”?
6. Together forever (aka, we make it impossible for you to cancel your account, so don’t bother trying)
Deception score: 6
Picture this: You’re checking out some links that you find in your tweetstream, and you’re led to a site that looks like the coolest idea ever, so you sign up. Whether it was a free online game or a mashup that tracks the seasonal migration of desert yaks, you realize after a while that you want out. So, you head over to your profile and look for a “Cancel my account” button — but you don’t find one.
If this has happened to you, then you know the frustration. Instead of the one-click process it should be, too many companies make closing an account more like the 12 labors of Hercules. Think about it this way: If I’m so disappointed in your service that I want to cancel my account, do you really think that making it hard for me to cancel is going to turn me into a happy, loyal customer?
My favorite example of an account that was notoriously hard to close was MySpace. (It’s since become a bit simpler, but not one click by any stretch). The folks at The Consumerist got several reports on this back in 2006, as MySpace began its decline. So, they decided to try to cancel their accounts, but didn’t have much luck. That is, until one of their staffers realized that if he uploaded porn to his account, it would be deleted within hours (read more here). It’s amazing what a creative mind will come up with to escape you.
7. Free advertising (aka, we will use your accounts to broadcast our service — whether you like it or not)
Deception score: 7
You see them on Facebook. You see them on Twitter. In fact, they’re just about anywhere that someone can update his or her “status.” I’m talking about oddly promotional updates from your friends. Instead of their usual updates about the collapse of their favorite sports teams, you see updates about some new application they are using. And then you see another. And another.
For every application that plays nicely when you supply access to your account, there are a few more that don’t. These applications hijack your timeline and insert their own tweets or updates mixed in with your own. Some only send out one, while others keep sending them until you figure out how to shut them up.
When you give away your sign in credentials, you also share the power to update your status. Give it to the wrong people, and they’ll take advantage. If a brand wants to be able to update a person’s status when he or she uses the company’s services, that’s fine — but at least be polite enough to say “please.”
By the way, if you run across any application that sounds like the fake one in the image above, you should probably click on “Deny.”
8. The bundle (aka, we attach our stuff that you don’t want to something you do want)
Deception score: 5
Here’s the situation: You get a message in your browser that tells you to update to the most current version of Flash. No problem. You head over to Adobe’s site and are greeted with the screen above. Everything looks on the up-and-up, so you start the install.
But wait, what was that McAfee part? Yes, you just installed a little program from McAfee that’s going to scan your computer for viruses. What’s that you say? You already have virus protection? You don’t know what a virus scan has to do with Flash? Sorry, me neither. I guess you should have unchecked the box.
Someone thought it would be a good idea to “partner” with a company that has software people want (or are required to have) and attach their product to this software. Of course, the products that get bundled to others are generally things we don’t want, which is why they have to be bundled in the first place.
Like I said before, how about unchecking the box by default? For every technology geek like me who knows to look for these things, there are tens of thousands of non-geeks who don’t. Like spammers always say, “There’s nothing like forcing someone to try your product to build loyalty.”
9. The switch-a-roo (aka, we know you thought we would give you info about “X,” but this is really about “Y”)
Deception score: 3
If you have ever clicked on a paid search ad before, then chances are you’ve fallen for this tactic. Since it’s so easy to do and potentially so lucrative, many companies have created paid search ads that seem to indicate they have just what you need. When you visit these sites, you find there’s nothing that’s related to your original search.
It’s a high-stakes game, and some companies go too far in trying to “capture” their next customer — so they over-promise. For the user, you find yourself on a page that, at best, is slightly off topic from what you searched for, or, at worst, is off topic in a NSFW kind of way.
Your paid search ads should be created to ensure that you can deliver what you promise. If you find yourself creating a bunch of ads that all point to your homepage, instead of a page with information related to a specific search, then you’re probably guilty of this.
10. SEO for dummies (aka, we heard that we can trick these search engines, so we’re trying it)
Deception score: 6
You’re probably wondering what in the world this image has to do with anything. It’s actually the most absurd example of keyword stuffing (a common yet ineffective SEO trick) I’ve ever seen. The image is from Matt Cutts’ blog. (Matt is head of Google’s webspam team.) It’s an image from a website he found a while back that was trying to game the system by cramming hundreds of completely irrelevant keywords onto its pages in hopes of showing up in searches. The red-outlined box is where all the keywords are hidden.
The owner of this particular site (that, incidentally, is selling the secret to immortality) was complaining that his site wasn’t being indexed by Google because Google is somehow trying to suppress this invention on behalf of “big pharma.” Classic stuff.
You’ll need to visit Matt’s blog to see what the keyword stuffing looked like, as the owner of the site in question has since wised up and removed the stuffing. And guess what — his site is now indexed. Perhaps there wasn’t a conspiracy after all.
As you’ll see from the image Matt took from the site, the keyword list was long and, ahem, diverse; it included keyword phrases ranging from “plasma tv advanced chart” to “alien cemetery.” So, if you want to be in the same marketing class as a guy selling immortality, then, by all means, use keyword stuffing and every other SEO trick you can find. Just be aware that Google probably will figure it out, and you’ll have to explain to your board of directors why your site doesn’t show up in Google.