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Mobile Devices Are The Future – Desktop PCs Sliding into Third Place

Have you ever sent or received a fax? Me too. About a thousand times I think. Back in the days before email, the fax was the best way to send a document. As late as 2006, I was sending and receiving faxes as part of my job at the car dealership. Despite the fact that everyone had email accounts at that time, our business was still sending and receiving faxes regarding vehicle financing, vendor payments, etc.

Even today, five years later, there are still people using the fax machine daily. It’s an established form of business communication, and despite the rise of email, the fax hasn’t disappeared.

Yet clearly, the days of the fax machine are dwindling. At some point, they will disappear. It’s inevitable.

I talk about the fax machine because I think it illustrates the manner in which desktop PCs will decline. Eventually, they will be overtaken by mobile devices, a.k.a. smart phones and tablets.

Here’s why: Continue reading

New Libya Government Preferred Vendor Email Scam

I recently received a rather inventive email from someone purporting to be affiliated with the new Libyan government. Here’s the pitch:

  1. The new Libyan government has funds but needs foreign companies to provide goods and services
  2. The new Libyan government has a new “preferred vendor” registration process that requires filing forms, paying a registration fee, etc.
  3. The person who contacted me claims that he’s very interested in our services, and that he would make an order once we have been verified.
  4. Fortunately, there is an expedited fee option…it’s just a little bit more money ($1,000 USD)
  5. If I wire the expedited fee to this man, he’ll get me an order as soon as next week.

Sounds almost real, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s total BS. Still, how many desperate small business owners would fall for this one? Continue reading

Alternatives to Cheap SEO Services

I hate the idea of “cheap SEO,” because in my experience there’s nothing cheap about SEO…at least not good quality SEO.

Whether you hire someone or do SEO yourself, it’s time consuming work that requires attention to detail as well as an understanding of how search engines work. If you hire someone, they need to be compensated for their skills and their knowledge. If you do your own SEO work yourself, you need to be prepared to invest significant amounts of time.

Still, there are companies that provide so-called SEO services on the cheap. Some companies sell “SEO” for $39 a month, promising top rankings for dozens of keywords at a price that’s lower than your cable bill. The thing is, if you know even the basics of SEO, you know that $39 a month really doesn’t come close to covering the costs of real work.

Think about it this way: SEO can make or break a business. If you rank #1 for your target search term on Google, you’re going to get hundreds of website visitors and (hopefully) dozens of calls and emails. Generally speaking, dozens of calls from potential customers are worth far more than $39 a month…and we all know that you usually get what you pay for. If you buy $39 worth of SEO, you’re going to get something that – at best – offers $39 of value.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that some businesses can’t afford to budget more than a handful of dollars to SEO. If this is your business, the following is for you. I’m going to talk about good alternatives to cheap SEO companies. Continue reading

Why I Donated To Occupy Wall Street

Last week I sent a paltry sum to the folks organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests. My reasoning is that the American public needs to raise their awareness of income inequality because… Continue reading

The ‘Bad Links Can Hurt You’ Myth Just Won’t Die

Earlier today, an article I wrote for Search Engine Journal titled “Let’s Kill the Bad Inbound Links Can Get Your Site Penalized Myth” received a less than complimentary response from Michael Gray, a well-known member of the SEO community that I have had the pleasure of listenting to at a couple of conferences over the years. I so enjoy Mr. Gray’s work that I have – and I just counted – 4 different blog posts he has written bookmarked and filed under “SEO Tips.” He’s on my SEO faves list on Twitter. I’ve recommended him to clients who need more than I can provide.

Without an ounce of sarcasm, I say that the guy is a fantastic SEO. If I someday acquire half of his knowledge and skill, I’ll be lucky.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when Mr. Gray dropped the following tweets in response to my article:

I call BS on this article narrow minded BS…If you don’t believe there are poison link networks you are a naive idiot and should step away from the keyboard … NOW

Ouch, right? He’s referring to me when he says “naive idiot.” My problem is, I just don’t get it.

UPDATE: James Carson, an SEO in the UK, wrote up a blog post about Mr. Gray’s response to my article. He’s said that he doesn’t agree with me (fair enough), but I think he’s done a good job of giving an outside point of view, so feel free to check it out. Continue reading

Median American Family Debt Problems – Infographic

We created the following debt infographic in concert with our favorite Denver bankruptcy attorneys because

  1. we wanted to build some links and
  2. we wanted to raise awareness of a pretty big problem – debt

After putting together a lot of the data for the graphic myself, I’ve come to the following conclusion: America has a culture of debt. Our government (at the local, state, and federal levels) has budget problems, yet voters expect government to provide numerous services…even when they don’t have the funds to do it.

Our cultural icons – movie stars, athletes, business tycoons, etc. – all emphasize the accumulation of “stuff.” It’s not enough for us to admire or emulate someone…we have to buy their perfume, wear their clothing, etc.

Finally, our tax and financial laws are written to encourage debt. Borrow money to buy a house? Get a tax break. Borrow money for college? Get a tax break. But if you pay for your house or your college education with cash, the law doesn’t give you a break, nor does anyone offer you a ‘cash discount’ on tuition or property (well, at least not often).

I know I’m ranting here, but my point is that the following infographic made me think. I hope you like it.

American Family Consumer Debt Facts

Created by Spork Marketing on behalf of Wink & Wink, P.C.

Denver Internet Service Options – Surprise, none of them are very good

As a long-time Denver resident, I feel comfortable stating the following: The average Denver consumer loaths the local cable company. I can’ t think of anyone who likes the local cable company (Comcast), but most people seem to begrudingly tolerate them.

I count myself among the latter – I don’t hate Comcast, but I’m not a fan either. Unfortunately, Comcast offers the best Internet service in Colorado…here’s how I’ve come to that conclusion. Continue reading

Keybroker Social Facebook Ad Manager – A Review

June 17,2011 – As part of our pay-per-click ad management services, we help create and manage Facebook Ads campaigns. For the last couple of years (we ran our first Facebook ad campaign back in June 2008), we’ve been managing these campaigns directly on Facebook. While this isn’t a terrible way to go, it’s time consuming and very limiting when you’re trying to run a larger campaign with lots of different ad creative.

Last week, when faced with the prospect of manually creating dozens of ads on Facebook one-at-a-time, I decided to test a Facebook ad management tool called Keybroker Social. Here is a quick review of the Keybroker Social Facebook ad management tool.

Keybroker Social Facebook ad manager review Continue reading

Custom WordPress Post Loop With Pagination via wp_pagenavi That Works!

For a client project, I needed to display recent blog posts on a custom page. I used the standard WP_Query method of pulling a custom page loop (this post does a nice job of breaking down all the possible WordPress loops), but I had a problem. I wanted to use the WP-PageNavi plugin, but I couldn’t get it to work. I would click on the next page, and instead of loading page 2 of posts, it would show page one…even thought the URI clearly indicated page 2.

I found some advice that suggested resetting my permalinks, but that didn’t help. I also found a few blog posts that claimed to solve the problem, but none of them worked either. Fortunately, the trusty old WordPress CODEX had enough documentation of the WP_Query function that I was able to figure it out.

After hours of testing and searching, I arrived at the following solution:

    'paged' => $paged

  $loop = new WP_Query($args);

while ($loop->have_posts()) : $loop->the_post(); ?>
     **DO LOOP STUFF**


The key is that the syntax for the get_query_var function changed as of WP 3.02 – the proper way to grab the page ID changed from get_query_var( 'paged' ) to get_query_var( 'page' ) – that’s paged to page.

Deleting the ‘d’ made it work.

Funny News Story Highlights Facebook Spam Problems, Facebook SEO Tricks

Anytime you have a big, user-generated website, you have spam. Facebook is no exception, but unlike other networks, Facebook spam can be hard to spot. Unless someone is blatantly obvious, it’s fairly easy to:

  • Create a fake profile assuming the identity of an attractive person
  • Randomly befriend people – If, for example, you pretend to be a recent graduate from CU-Boulder, Facebook will start suggesting “friends” who graduated at the same time that you say you did.
  • Casually suggest links, comment on walls, send messages, etc. to try and generate revenue, leads, etc.

If this is done carefully and infrequently, it would be almost impossible to detect. While the pay-off for this practice is minimal – Facebook limits users to 1,000 friends – it’s not as if there’s no money to be made here. What’s more, this practice could influence Facebook search results (more on that below)

So, what I’m saying is that Facebook has a spam problem, and that will continue until they force users to verify their true identity. The funny news story below (taken from Time online) illustrates just how easy it is for people to pretend to be someone they’re not on Facebook.

A woman named Angela Voelkert pretended to be a 17-year-old girl to draw out incriminating evidence from her ex-husband via Facebook by creating a fake account for 17-year-old “Jessica Studebaker,” complete with a trashily attractive photo, and friended her ex-husband. Then, in an attempt to gain information she could use against him in a custody battle, she chatted him up.

The trap has been set – Angela is pretending to be a young, attractive female to trick her ex-husband. How is this legal? What is Facebook’s responsibility here?

Fortunately, Angela’s attempt backfired: Continue reading