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The Online Gambling Industry and Advertising

The Business of Online Gambling is big business, and is invariably fraught with problems (often legal issues, but also connections to the mafia).

Disclaimer - We do not endorse gambling or advertising for the gambling industry.

Advertising for the gambling industry therefore is also big business, which means there are lots of money to be made by people who are unscrupulous and don't mind people developing gambling addictions and all the problems associated with gambling (higher crime rates, spousal abuse, child abuse, over drinking, etc).

The goal essentially with the online advertising end of the business is to legitimize their websites by getting reputable websites to link to them.

One way they do this is by contacting sports oriented websites and offer them a lot of money for advertising on their website. Typically $100 USD for 1 page of content is the going rate, but it can often be a lot more.

They then write and submit to the website's owner the content to place on the website. All the owner has to do is place the content, possibly create internal links, and receive payment via PayPal. For people who have never done advertising before, they will quickly realize it is the quickest $100 they have ever made - ignoring all the time and effort that went into making their website, which they have just tarnished their reputation by advertising gambling.

While it can help a person earn money, their website's reputation may forever be damaged.

In the example below is content produced for a sports website we own, but the content was never used. It was originally for a specific sport, but we have altered some of the words and changed it to Lacrosse instead (because so few people ever play Lacrosse).

Since we never posted the content, we see nothing wrong with changing a few of the words and reposting it here as an example of the kind of Black Hat SEO that should be frowned upon.

The red highlighted sections would be links if this article was used. The links go to various government websites, news articles, and of course the gambling website they are looking to promote. By including government / news / popular sports links in to the mixture of links, it creates the illusion that the links on the page are all to reputable sources. It is a Black Hat SEO technique used to escape the notice of Google. Google recognizes that there are links to reputable sports websites, government websites, and news articles about sports and/or gambling, and this tricks Google into thinking the new page of content is supporting something reputable, when in reality if someone actually reads the content they realize they are trying to trick people into losing their money on gambling websites.

Sometimes they will even add internal links within the article to further embed the idea that is article is part of the website's regular content.

Example One
Sports betting is of course a huge business in all countries of the world, and if you are a Canadian citizens and you have an interest in betting on one or more different types of sporting events, then you may be interested in learning more about the online sports betting environment. Before you start, check out this review for Canadians to see a wide variety of sporting games.

Anyway, it is not illegal for you to place sports bets and wagers online in Canada, however the laws surrounding sports betting sites clearly state that any gambling site based and location in Canada must hold a Government issued gambling license.

As there is a very good chance that any sports betting casino you come across online is going to not be based in Canada, you need to ensure any site you do sign up for and join does at least hold a valid gambling license in a recognized jurisdiction, for by doing so you will be afforded the full protection offered to customer of such sites by the licensing commission or licensing authority.

Many online betting casinos and sites have an automated system in place in regards to settling all winning bets placed at their respective sites, and as much you should never be waiting more than a minute or two to have your winning bets and wagers settled once the actual sporting event you have bet on has ended. Occasionally any very large bets that are struck and turn out to be winning ones may have to be settled manually, however this will not usually see you having to wait for a long period of time for your winning to reflect in your account.

If you have any problems or complaints with any sports betting site then you should first try and get the site itself to resolve those problems, however if that is not possible for whatever reason then you should escalate your complaint to the license issuer for that site. This is why betting online at betting sites and casinos that hold a recognized gambling license issued by one of the more respected gambling commissions will bear fruit, as those licensing commissions offer bettor a complaint service and they will step in and help when help is needed.

You may be used to picking out your sports bets and wagers in advance and will once you have selected them place those bets and wagers before a sporting event starts. However, many online sports betting sites will now allow you to access and utilize something known as a live in play betting market and this is a betting market that opens up and become accessible only once a sports event has started. In Play betting markets are proving very popular as they allow sports bettors to hedge bets placed before the sporting event started and bets can be placed on these IN Play betting markets right up until the dying minutes of that event. Soccer, hockey and basketball are among the most popular sports to bet on in Canada, but if you are a fan of lacrosse even a little bit, you’ll enjoy this article about rules and laws or lacrosse. Maybe it’ll get you big money, you never know.

Do not be under the impression that you are not going to be able to place every single type of bet that you can place in a land based betting venue if you choose to utilize an online sports betting site. There are no differences at online betting sites and casinos in regards to the type and variety of bets and wagers that you can place at such sites, and in fact you may find a few exclusive and new bets on offer at some sports betting sites.
 So above in Example One you see the examples I am talking about:
  • review for Canadians links to the gambling website. It is at the top so it has more prominence/value.
  • gambling license links to a government website about gambling licenses.
  • this article links to an internal page about Lacrosse rules and regulations.
  • land based betting venue links to a newspaper article about gambling.
 Example Two
If you thought the only way to get closer to the NFL, NHL, NBA, or CFL action was to increase the size of your HDTV, think again. Gambling online in Canada offers you way more legal thrills than you probably knew existed. By sports betting online, you can feel like you're smack down in the middle of the field, court, or ice. Read this comprehensive review because if you’re a fan of quality welcome bonuses, you’ll like this one.

Not every legit online sports betting site is open to Canadians. And not all of the ones that are open make it lucrative to place real money bets in the currency you want. The best sports betting sites for Canadians offer solid bonuses and allow you to deposit in Canadian dollars.

The sports betting sites Canada players can choose to play at will offer odds on the favorite and the underdog. If you're betting on the favorite, you typically need to wager more than C$110 to win C$100. You can also bet on point spreads, where you predict how much, for example, a hockey team will win or lose by. And the best online sports betting sites also feature prop bets, where you can bet on unpredictable things like which team will win the coin toss.

NFL, CFL, NBA, and NHL are some of the sports leagues you can make bets on through online gambling sites. With 32 teams to bet on and 17 weeks of games, the NFL, or National Football League, is one of the most popular and lucrative sports to get involved with, including NFL betting. Lacrosse, on the other hand, is not so popular as these other sports, but if you are a sports fan in general check out lacrosse rules and regulations and maybe you can try betting on lacrosse as well. You never know, maybe big money is waiting for you!

Anyway, there are all kinds of popular online betting sites Canada gambling fans can get their hands on. Each top website tries to hook in players in with promises of big betting bonuses and bigger payouts with every win; some even promise payouts on losses. Before you choose one Canada online sports betting site over another make sure you understand the incentives. Low juice Internet betting sites offer lower lines than you'd find at the competition.

For example, the industry standard money line is -110, but low juice sites offer lines of -105.

What that means is instead of having to lay down C$110 to win C$100, you'd only have to lay down C$105. But their odds on the underdog are usually not as good as the competition. Other online sports betting sites in Canada include cash back sites and deposit bonus sites.

Let's face it - if online sports betting Canada residents were offered the chance to bet on just CA league sports, sites probably wouldn't be that successful. Sure, Canadian Football League is exciting, but the season is fairly short, so there's not that much opportunity to rake in some real cash long-term.

Thankfully, the biggest and best online betting sites Canada players can enjoy on the Internet have access to markets for every game in every major league international sport. That includes MLB baseball, NBA Basketball, NFL football, the English Premier League Soccer, NCAA basketball, golf, tennis, lacrosse, and, in some cases, even darts and bowling. If the sport exists, Canadians can enjoy online sports betting!
In Example Two you see more of the same types of things:
  • Read this comprehensive review links to an online casino website, again, right at the top.
  • lacrosse rules and regulations is another internal link to create the illusion the content is part of the Lacrosse website's regular content.
  • Canadian Football League links to the CFL website, a reputable sports website.
  • NBA Basketball links to the NBA website, a reputable sports website.
THE BACKLASH OF A BAD REPUTATION

The problem however is what happens when Google eventually notices that your website is linking to gambling websites.

Google routinely downgrades websites that get a bad reputation for advertising anything disreputable such as gambling, xxx, contraband, illegal activity, etc.

Just in writing this article we had to be careful what keywords we are using to make sure what we write is family friendly, and while we do talk about gambling, we make it clear we do not endorse gambling or advertising for the gambling industry.

Once a website is downgraded it is very difficult to fix a bad reputation. It can be done, but it could potentially take years and a lot of money. Depending on the amount of money invested in the original website it might actually make more sense to just start over with a new website and a new brand name.

Because articles like the two examples shown above are designed to fly under Google's radar by masking themselves with government, newspaper and popular sports websites they can go unnoticed for a long time, but when Google does eventually notice the effect will be immediate.

Google could even potentially remove your entire website from their search database. The whole thing could just DISAPPEAR.

Your website would still exist, and appear in less popular search engines, but since Google is the search engine of choice for 90% of the world, if you are not in it you can expect your website's popularity to drop to 10% of whatever it used to be. Along with your profits.

So while quick money may seem like a good idea at the time, you will eventually regret taking it.

HOW TO SAVE YOUR REPUTATION

If you already took gambling money, and the gambling content has been up for two months or more, you should probably just take it down immediately. Hopefully Google has not noticed your website.

If the people advertising the gambling website contact you asking why you removed it, just say the following:

Sorry. We got an email from Google saying that we had to remove the article and links. They were threatening to ban our website from their search engine. We didn't have much choice.

And because it has been two months since you received the payment via PayPal, it is past the time that the advertiser can demand a refund via PayPal's dispute resolution process. You already rendered your advertising services, so you are under no obligation to give a refund.

This means that in theory, if you wanted to, you could take their money, leave their advertising up for 2 months, then take it down, and keep the money. And if they ever complain, copy/paste the reply up above regarding Google threatening to ban your website.

And there you go. That is how you stick it to the man and make money off the gambling industry. By ripping them off.

Gambling is for losers.

Guest Posts Do Not Equal Free Links, + How much to charge?

Or WHY YOU SHOULD BE CHARGING $30 EACH TIME SOMEONE ASKS FOR A LINK

Back in January of this year I wrote a post titled "Guest Posts, Free Links, and Why it is Bad for your Business".

In the post I explained the following key points in more detail:
  • Guest posts should contain zero links.
  • "Guest posts" that contain links are not "guest posts", they are advertising.
  • Giving away free links = charity that is hurting your business.
  • People should be paying for links, because links = advertising.
But I did not explain how much people should be charging for links when they accept a guest post.

The basic price = $30.

This is the minimum price you should be charging just for your time and effort of adding a guest post containing links to your website. You have to edit and format everything on the page, add images, add the link(s), and you deserve to be paid for your time, effort, and the value of the link advert.

If you are charging less than $30, then you are not getting paid enough for your time.

Plus guest posts are presumably permanent advertising. Until the website is eventually deleted, the advert will be there for years. So $30 is a bargain when you consider the duration it will be there.

The premium rate = $60.

This is when your website is more popular. You can demand the higher rate because of the following reasons:
  1. Your website is more popular and therefore worth more to advertisers.
  2. Your website is more exclusive. Less outgoing links means the few outgoing links there are are considered to be more valuable. (Thanks to Google's "less is more" algorithms.)
  3. You might also simply want to discourage advertisers by charging a heftier price, this then enforces the notion of value and exclusivity - while allowing you to present a website less bogged down by copious amounts of advertising.
The expensive rate = $100

This is when your website is super popular. It is probably your full time job working on this website / the business you have associated with it. Like above you benefit from the following factors:
  • Super Popular.
  • Super Exclusive.
  • Possible Brand Name Recognition.
The website in question probably also has a social media presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc - and therefore is worth more to advertisers if they can be promoted on those too.

The super expensive rate = $200 or more...

The sky is the limit when it comes to popularity. Some very expensive / super popular blogs might be charging $400 for a single blog post.

This is sometimes the result of being a niche topic, the pseudo-celebrity status of the writer of the website, or just the sheer ridiculous popularity of a particular website.

What about sponsored content?

Now not every website accepts guest posts. Some websites might prefer that they write / make their own content, but they are still accepting sponsors for said content.

An example of this is video blogger Hanna Hart - best known for her "My Drunk Kitchen" YouTube channel. In the video below she has a guest on her YouTube channel, Seth Rogen, who is promoting the animated film "Sausage Party".

At which point you have to wonder, how much was Hanna Hart paid to be sponsored by "Sausage Party"?  Good question.



Well...

Hanna's YouTube channel is insanely popular. Over 2.5 million subscribers.

She has hundreds of videos. So many I was unable to find an actual statistic.

And she has access to working with companies selling both food and alcohol, and evidently films about food or alcohol.

So clearly she can make lots of these videos for sponsored clients if she so wished, and presumably charging a lot for her services and time.

Never Annoy a SEO Expert

Here is a good SEO tip...

Not just for advertising your business, but also for life in general.

Never annoy or piss off a SEO expert.

Let us pretend for a moment that you are running your business, whatever it happens to be - for the sake of the sheer boring-ness of it, lets say you are an accountant.

And for whatever reason you get into a dispute with a SEO expert.

And the SEO expert knows:
  • Your Name
  • Where you live
  • Your occupation
If you manage to annoy or piss off the SEO expert they might decide to do the opposite of Reputation Management and instead deliberately ruin your reputation.

This happened to a recent potential client of mine. They pissed off a different SEO expert, who then proceeded to leave nasty comments all over the internet, post fake news stories about the person, making up all sorts of nasty stories about the person, and so forth.

And they didn't just post such things. They made links to those articles and comments, and SEO-ed them so that they would be boosted up in the search rankings. They used websites, social media, posted in directories, blogs, discussion forums - they honestly did a really good job of ruining his reputation. Respect.

The client then came looking for a different SEO expert in order to fix their now damaged reputation.

And I said:

"Honestly, it would be easier and cheaper for you to just legally change your name."

Well, they didn't like that idea.

So I quoted a price for what I felt would be required to write enough positive comments / articles to drown out / dilute all the bad ones, but honestly, it is not going to be cheap.

And the client didn't like that either. Too expensive. Can I do anything cheaper?

Nope. Not really.

Plus consider this.

What happens if the SEO expert who hates you simply goes back and does more damage? Again and again?

You could end up spending thousands of $$$ or even tens of thousands over many years trying to fix your reputation, and if the hater keeps posting more it will just be a constant battle that will never be won.

You could try to sue them in court, claiming defamation, but since the things are being posted online anonymously, you would never be able to prove who is saying the bad things about you, and it would never stop. Defamation is super hard to prove when the person posting it is anonymous.

So the best thing to do when it comes to Reputation Management is to never annoy someone who is internet savvy - and definitely don't piss anyone who is a SEO expert.

But if you do, we can help you. It won't be cheap. It will cost a lot and it may take years, but we can fix it for you.

Or alternatively, you could always legally change your name.

The client mentioned above is still mulling over what to do. They want to keep their name, but they are unwilling to pay the costs needed to fix this problem. If they do nothing their reputation will be permanently damaged.

Another option would be to move further away and switch careers. I imagine they don't like that option either.


Guest Posts, Free Links and Why it is Bad for your Business

Let's imagine you are emailed by someone asking to add a guest post to your website or blog.

They write the post and then insist that you include a link or two (or more...) in the post to websites that they own / work for by building advertising.

In other words they are looking for free advertising via free links.

While you gain content in this deal, your website ultimately loses because you are giving free links away and it damages the SEO quality of your website.

I don't have to imagine because it happened to me recently.

I posted the guest post, removed any links, and sent her the URL. I also explained that for that particular website it was $60 per link if she wanted any links added.

Her response:

Thanks a ton. Could you please add one clickable link to my site?

Beth

Hey Beth!

Certainly. Which link do you want added?

You can pay the $60 fee via PayPal or Interac Email Transfer.

I only want a clickable link to my website in the author bio. I would really appreciate if you do it without a fee. I am currently low on budget and cannot afford to pay for it.

I wrote the article with much of my efforts, I will consider it a kind favor from your side.

Beth

Hey Beth!

#1. I am running a business.

In order for my business to be successful I need clients to be able to find my website and contact me.

In order to find my website and contact me I need to ranked highly in Google searches.

If I am not ranked highly in Google then I need to spend more money on advertising.

My Google rank is dependent on having lots of quality links coming into my website and very few going out.

If I add a link leaving my website, my rankings go down and my business suffers financially.

If my rankings go down then I need to spend more money and time on advertising.

If someone pays for a link on my website, I take that money and spend it on advertising.

If I give a free link out, then I actually LOSE money because my business suffers and to fix the problem I have to spend money on advertising. So either way, in that scenario, I lose money.

#2. I am married and my wife has a baby on the way.

If I start running a business that is losing money because I am giving away free links to people, I go into financial ruin, my wife divorces me and I rarely get to see my child in the future. Not a guarantee, but why risk it by wasting time and money giving away free links?

While I like the idea of being nice to people, where are the benefits for me and my family? None. I would be losing money and that is money that should be spent on diapers / baby food / clothes.

#3. I am in the SEO business.

I know how the link business works.

Here is some free SEO advice. You will find it very useful for growing your website:

http://www.designseo.ca/SEO-Advice.html

Pay special attention to the SEO Checklist, as it is particularly important.

http://www.designseo.ca/SEO-Checklist.html

If you want free links check out WebRing, StumbleUpon and similar websites for sharing links.

You should also check out online newspaper style publications which allow authors to write articles for them and post links within those articles. eg. http://www.thecanadiandaily.ca/

Have a nice day!



So yeah...

In the future when people ask you for free links, send them a copy of this page and hopefully they will understand why they are wasting their time and yours asking.

Also for those who don't know, the character shown below is called "Link". Not Zelda. Zelda is the princess he is trying to rescue. Understand the difference? Good. Stop calling him Zelda. His name is LINK.

Link from Legend of Zelda

Festive and Holiday SEO vs PPC SEM

It is December 1st 2016 and there is only 24 days left til Christmas.

Black Friday, the 2nd busiest shopping day of the year, has already come and gone. The busiest day, Christmas Eve, will soon be upon us.

When it comes to the holiday season and spending your time and money on SEO, you might as well not even bother. Search Engine Optimization is designed for the long haul. It takes months for SEO to take effect. SEO does garner the best results, dollar for dollar - but the effects take time.

So don't bother. SEO simply takes too long and you are trying to advertise last minute. Anything you advertise in December won't see major results until months later. And that will be too late. Good for next year maybe, but not right now.

If you are trying to sell product NOW, during the Christmas rush, then your best bet is actually Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and that means paying Pay Per Click (PPC).

Lets say for example you are trying to sell a computer console game (eg. Skyrim Special Edition for PS4 = awesome game. I am hoping to get it for xmas myself.) and you want to be getting your customers to actually buy the product instead of just browsing, then you need to be focused on getting them to the checkout stage of purchasing.

This means you need to set up a PPC campaign wherein you only pay if the customer:
  • Clicks your ad.
  • Clicks a product for purchase.
  • Goes to the checkout.
Google Adwords is your best bet for getting all of that. And the great thing is that they have to do all three things before you pay a penny.

It doesn't guarantee that they actually buy the product. Half of them might change their mind and decide to shop elsewhere, but if you are offering a good sale price, free shipping, 1 day or 3 day shipping, then chances are likely they will purchase via your store. This is why you need to calculate how many people are making their way to the checkout and how many actually make a purchase. Once you know the percentage, then you can compare that to your profit margin and figure out how to maximize your returns and how much you can be bidding/spending on each sale.

Hot Tip - If your sale price beats the price of the same product being sold on Amazon.com, and still has a good profit margin, you are basically guaranteed to make money if you are offering comparable shipping to whatever Amazon is offering.

For example if Amazon is selling the same console game for $69 and after Fedex shipping and expenses you are making $35 off every sale at the same price, you can then lower your price to $59 (and be making $25 off every sale) to beat their sales price. You could be spending $1 or even more on paying for clicks, but if half the people who make it to checkout stage change their mind and don't make the purchase, then that doubles your marketing costs to $2 for every sale. But you are still making $23 off every sale.

All you need to do then is calculate how many products you have in stock and how many you want to sell RIGHT AWAY. If you have 1000 units of the game, you could make your daily advertising limit $2000 (which most likely won't end up being used right away, but it could theoretically happen).

If you manage to sell 200 units the first day (for a cost of $400 but a profit of $4600) you are already in the black. Then just lower your daily advertising limit to $1600.

Day 2, another 200 or so units sold.

Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. If you are doing well you sell out of units and might even order more from your distributor. Then you simply suspend your SEM PPC campaign and wait until your next shipment of 1000 units arrives. Also you laugh all the way to the bank because you just made $23,000 in 5 days. (The Fedex people are amused by you sending out 1000 small packages in 5 days, but they might start offering you a business discount in the future.)

And eventually the well runs dry. The Xmas shopping season is over.

So you recalculate your profit margins, change your prices, change your PPC bids, and continue selling products anyway at a smaller volume.

And wait anxiously for next year, trying to calculate which console games will be the big sellers and worth advertising.

Update, Jan. 2017.

I did get Skyrim Special Edition for PS4 for Xmas. Woot. Oh and it is beautiful. The graphics are amazing. Breathtaking. I already had the old PS3 version of the game, but I wanted to play the new one with the updated graphics and all the added mods, expansions, etc. Simply wonderful game to play.


Search Engine Algorithms

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is defined as the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search engine results (SERPS).

Generally, the earlier a site gains a position in the search results, or the higher it “ranks,” the more visitors will visit that website. SEO can also target several different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry specific vertical search engines.

Because Google is currently the world’s most popular search engine, webmasters generally concentrate their efforts in getting their website to rank as high as possible in the Google search results, followed by Yahoo search, and MSN (Live Search, Bing, etc).

Webmasters and content providers began optimizing sites for search engines as early as the mid 1990s, as the first search engines were indexing the Internet. Website owners started to recognize the value of having their sites highly ranked and visible in search engine results, creating an opportunity for both white hat and black hat SEO’s. Basic early versions of search engine algorithms usually relied on webmaster provided input such as the keyword meta tags on a web page.

Today SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories:

1 – Techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design.

2 – Techniques of which search engines do not approve.

The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the second as much as possible. The two terms commonly used today to classify these methods are white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.

* Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. Tricking the search engine into ranking a site higher than it actually deserves, often only temporarily.

* White hat SEO is when a webmasters site development and optimization techniques conform to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception.

By 1997 search engines had realized webmasters were making efforts to rank higher in their search engines, and some webmasters were actually manipulating their website rankings in the search results by stuffing pages with excessive, hidden, or irrelevant keywords. Early search engines, such as Infoseek, started to adjust their algorithms in an effort to prevent webmasters from manipulating (spamming) rankings.

Two graduate students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed “backrub”, a search engine that relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. Page and Brin later founded Google in 1998. Google attracted a loyal following among the growing number of Internet users, who liked its simplicity. Off page factors (such as PageRank and hyperlink analysis) were considered as well as on-page factors (such as keyword frequency, meta tags, headings, links and site structure) to enable Google to avoid the kind of search result manipulation seen in other search engines that only considered on page factors for their website ranking algorithm.

Over time Google would downplay the importance of certain factors, like meta tags because it was commonly used to stuff keywords in there that had little to do with the site's content.

By 2007, the major search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce this huge impact that webmaster link manipulation was having on their search result relevancy.

Google says it ranks sites using more than 200 different signals. The three leading search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Live Search, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank website pages. They are essentially trade secrets, and are kept secret so SEO people cannot game the system once they know the most important factors - the really experienced ones know how to game the system regardless. The SEO Checklist on designSEO.ca for example shows 115 things people should be doing, but it doesn't cover all 200+ things that Google looks for.

Whether you are new at website design or an old pro you really should study this list of things to do, and not do, when using search engine optimization for high rankings to avoid search engines penalizing your website for search result manipulation. Just follow the rules on the Checklist and you will do well.

Remember SEO is not always an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing and offline strategies can sometimes be much more effective, it all depends on the site operator’s goals. eg. A brand marketing campaign for example might be better suited to have a Social Media aspect.

Implementing the signs of a quality website should vastly improve your chances of being ranked higher in search engines such as MSN’s Live Search, Yahoo, and Google’s search results. If you intend to make a living from working online and are in for the long haul then designing a quality website that adheres to the search engine guidelines is a must.

Offline / Online Synergy Marketing

The "billboard" advertisement shown on the right is an example of Offline / Online Synergy Marketing.

Basically what you do is do something outrageous / funny as a marketing stunt, and then you photograph or film what you did and use it for your online social media campaign.

Your goal essentially is to do smart advertising that is offline, and then use that to ultimately market yourself online.

So for example if I were to do a marketing stunt on the streets of downtown Toronto, and then other people filmed it / photographed it, and then shared what they saw on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites then I have just done two things:

#1. I probably just gained a bunch of new clients / customers who saw the marketing stunt in person.

#2. I just gained word of mouth advertising via social media.

It is a Win-Win as far as advertising goes. The billboard above is for Copenhagen architects, and frankly I have no problem giving them kudos for their smart marketing campaign.

Below is some more examples of smart advertising which also garners social media attention:
















Marketing for Clients

Not every client is the same, and thus not every marketing campaign is the same either. It really depends on the methodology that the client wants. Some clients want different things. Below are some examples of different kinds of online marketing.

SEO, Search Engine Optimization (which is arguably the most effective at getting a good return on investment).

SEM (aka PPC), Search Engine Marketing via Pay Per Click.

SMO, Social Media Optimization (basically a form of Branding for the purposes of name recognition on social media).

VM, Viral Marketing - limited to unique, interesting, one time content.

Video Marketing (not to be confused with VM) - the goal is to make videos that useful to visitors to the website / youtube. They do not need to go viral or generate lots of views, the goal is to make useful videos that help clients, and in turn help generate sales.

VVM, Viral Video Marketing - the goal being to make one video go viral, which is unlikely because it is a numbers game and only a small percentage of attempts go viral. However VVM doesn't necessarily generate sales, because most people who end up watching the video are doing so because of amusement and have no interest in buying the product.
Branding, of which the primary purpose is name recognition, traffic is not the biggest concern - sales is.
Affiliate Marketing, requires people to take a commission on sales, which is often less than 0.5% of traffic or lower, depending on how good or shoddy a product is.

Or combinations of the above categories. Some clients may only want the first three things listed above, as having videos, branding or running affiliates is too much work and unnecessary for whatever they are advertising.

Note - I have (more or less) organized the above list in order of the most effective means of advertising down to the least effective means of advertising and building traffic. Some of the categories above may roughly tied in terms of effectiveness.


The Difference between Amateurs and Professionals

Saw this ad posted on craigslist a few days ago:
"Web Design Teacher Needed
We are presently looking for Web Design teachers
Be able to teach introduction to web design
Native English speaker/Fluent in English language.
Be able to teach evening and Saturdays
Good knowledge of Dreamweaver, word press"


I sent the following response:

"No self respecting professional website designer would be caught dead using Dreamweaver or Wordpress. Such things are for amateurs.
Any true website designer is hardcoding the site in HTML/javascript.
So basically what you are looking for is someone who is an amateur to teach how to be an amateur website designer. Wow. Good job."

Basically what it comes down to is that any one who is serious about website needs to learn how to hardcode a website from scratch. Any idiot can use Dreamweaver or Word Press - because those are WYSIWYGS (What You See Is What You Get), which are designed to be used by amateurs so that any idiot can design a basic looking website using the templates that are provided. To get a professionally designed website you need to be able to think outside the box, to be creative and design a chic / stylish website that engages the viewer.

It is a bit of question of amateur vs professional... to which I shall now invent a new saying:

"Who do you want as a dentist: An amateur or a professional? The results will be dramatically different."

10 More Things People say to Graphic Designers


Proper Response - "Yes, but it will take time and I will require a deposit in full based on a vague estimate. The total cost may be more than expected because you are only giving me a vague idea of time requirements. Also there may be additions charges if you want any revisions."


Proper Response - "In what way do you want it to POP?"


Proper Response - "Do you have a high quality high resolution image of your logo on your website?"


Proper Response - "Sure, but I will have to start charging by the hour."


Proper Response - "Yes, but it will probably be a complete redo based on what you've given me."


Proper Response - "Sorry, but I have other clients with money and I can't afford to help people who don't have any money."


Proper Response - "Nope. Beyond the initial 2 revisions promised in the agreement, any further revisions will be charged my hourly rate."


Proper Response - "Without any specifics to give a proper estimate, I would need to charge you my hourly rate."


Proper Response - "Yes, but I would need to charge you a consulting fee for any calls before 9 AM or after 5 PM."


Proper Response - "I didn't go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ever heard of the saying 'Creativity is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration'?"

See the previous post:

10 Things People say to Graphic Designers

10 Things People Say to Graphic Designers


Proper Response - "That would be like designing a book cover without knowing the size or shape of the book, or even the contents."


Proper Response - "Will it take 5 minutes or less? If not, I will have to charge by the hour."


Proper Response - "It is. Go ahead and edit it if wish to."


Proper Response - "Sure, but I will have to charge you by the hour. How many versions do you want?"


Proper Response - "Depends. What is it you want me to change?"


Proper Response - "Sure, if it takes less than 5 minutes. More than that and I have to charge by the hour."


Proper Response - "You know that is copyright infringement right?"


Proper Response - "Do you own the rights to that image? If not, then no."


Proper Response - "Sorry, my husband/wife wants to go out this evening and see INSERT MOVIE TITLE here. Have you seen it yet? Was it any good?"


Proper Response - "Would you like me to do half the work and give it to you half-finished?"

See also:

Confessions of a Designer


Trolling Business Competitors / Brand Jamming

Deliberately seeking to undermine a competitor is a rather underhanded way of doing business. Trying to make a viral anti-marketing campaign is even worse. Check out the videos below from "Tony is Back", a campaign aimed at mocking the fictional character 'Tony the Tiger' from Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.






The internet campaign advertises http://tonyisback.com/, which looks like an actual Kellogg's website and links to the official Kellogg's website, but Kellogg's has since redesigned their website and all the links end up on Special Error Message page that says:

"You have reached this page from a website that is not connected to or endorsed by the Kellogg Company."

Basically Kellogg's is being forced to spend money to adjust their website in order to point out that they are not connected with the fake advertising campaign that is "Tony is Back".

Kellogg's has also shut down their social media accounts temporarily.

There is another term for this kind of anti-marketing campaign - it is called Brand Jamming. Brand Jamming is when someone (often anonymously) tries to tarnish the reputation of a brand.

In the past Brand Jamming was often used by anti-capitalists who feel brand names are too powerful and deliberately poke fun at brands for sheer amusement and to prove a point. However in the above case we can see that the artist Jani Leinonen (tonyisback.com is registered to his name) has invested a substantial amount of money into this Brand Jamming campaign - too much to be paid by just him.

Which begs the question, who is paying for the high production quality of the videos?

My guess is: Post Foods.

AKA, Post Cereals, the makers Honey Comb, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Fruity Pebbles, etc.

Who else would stand to gain from Kellogg's having their brand name tarnished?

Regardless, Kellogg's has since taken legal action. A cease and desist order has evidently called a halt to more videos that were supposed to released on a daily basis, but only 3 videos became public. The most controversial video of the 3 (you can guess which one) apparently went over the line of parody and was deliberately tarnishing.

So word to the wise, if you are thinking of using Brand Jamming or otherwise attempting to troll a brand, remember these things:

#1. Lawsuits can shut down your efforts pretty quickly.

#2. Do it anonymously.

#3. Why bother? What if it backfires and you end up just advertising your competitor?

The last one makes a lot of good sense. If you think about it, doesn't this just more firmly ensconce Kellogg's as a high quality brand? They clearly would never endorse cops beating up a woman or a woman responding to her beating by becoming a suicide bomber.

Think before you try Brand Jamming. It is most likely a waste of your time, and potentially hazardous to your bank account if you get sued for millions.

If you've been a target of Brand Jamming, please contact designSEO.ca for Online Reputation Management Services in Toronto.

Nothing is Free in the World of Advertising

By C. Moffat, October 2015.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.

Think about that for a moment.

Even if you do your own advertising, it still costs Time. So Time becomes the unit of measurement for determining the value of the advertising you are doing.

If you hire someone else to do the advertising for you then it costs Money. Cash. Dollars. Moolah. Clams. Bucks. Whatever the kids are calling it these days. Loonies, if you live in Canada.

So the concept of free advertising is really a misnomer, because even if you do it yourself it still costs Time and possibly also Materials and/or Fees.

Lets pretend you are handing out flyers on the street to random people. You will need thousands of flyers, which will need to be printed at a print shop like Staples or Kinkos. So there is the cost of materials right there. You spend Time designing the flyer yourself, you have it printed for a Materials cost, and you spend more Time handing out the flyer on the street.

Another route is you build a website - which you can get for free, but you still have to design the website and write all the content for the website. So that is more Time right there. If you want the website to look professional you will need to buy a domain name for a Fee so you can have a .com or .ca website and you are not using Blogspot / Wordpress / etc. [You will note we have chosen to make this blog very low budget, it doesn't even have its own domain name. Not yet at least. We don't bother to buy a domain name for a blogspot page until it reaches 100 posts. It is not worth the investment in our opinion until a blog reaches 100 posts of content.]

So what do we have here...

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Materials (Money)
  4. Fees (Money)

But let us pretend for a moment you have a Lack of Time. How much advertising can you get when you have a Lack of Time? Not a lot as it turns out. You are basically down to the two basic options:

  • Do it yourself with what little time you have.
  • Use the little time you have to hire someone else to do it for you.

Some people may have noticed the Old Catch-22 in this equation. You have to have money to make money.

It is a very simple concept. You have to invest money in advertising in order for your business to make MORE money.

A few days ago a DJ contacted me via email apparently looking for advertising. What was revealed over time however was that they were looking for free advertising. They wanted someone else to do the work of advertising their DJ career, but they didn't want to pay for the advertising. They apparently expected other people to just advertise their career for free.

Now I should note that this person is not famous. I have never heard of them before. But lets pretend that they were famous - famous people know you have to spend money on advertising if you want extra publicity, otherwise you are really just relying on fans to do the work for you - because in theory fans will provide free advertising - provided you do the basic work of making a product that looks good and you have a loyal fanbase due to years of previous advertising to build up both your fanbase and your career. Which goes back to money again - the people working with the celebrity invested money in promoting their career, they made them a celebrity over time, and then the celebrity reaps the rewards of years of money poured into their careers.

A non-celebrity trying to become a celebrity therefore really needs that extra boost of investment in their career in order to make things happen. People don't develop a fanbase over night by doing zero work.

You may be familiar with the concept of artists and musicians being "discovered". That is a false stereotype because what they don't tell you is all the years of training, practice, failure that the artist or musician went through before they became financially successful. They put in the time and effort and their success was result of all that effort.

Here is a little fact for you. Artists typically don't become financially successful until after the age of 40. So lets take for example American painter Jackson Pollock, born 1912, died 1956 at the age of 44.

People like to claim that Pollock became famous because art critic Clement Greenberg "discovered" him, but that is wholly untrue. Pollock was already successful as a painter before Greenberg. Pollock's fame did skyrocket after the Life magazine article in 1949, when he was 37. Thus Pollock managed to become famous before the age of 40, which is very rare, but he was already financially successful.

Oddly enough however his fame didn't add any extra financial success. Once famous Pollock abandoned his drip style of painting and went back to figurative work. His finances never really improved due to the extra fame.

But Pollock never would have reached that point in his career had he not put in the effort. According to people who knew him he was extraordinarily persistent, hard-working and ambitious.

And so the moral of the story for the people out there who want "free advertising" is to go work harder. If you want to become successful, you need to work hard at it. Need advertising? Start working on it yourself or hire someone else to do it if you are unwilling to do the work yourself.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.

Copyright Infringement and Website Design

“Can you design it exactly like [the competitor’s website]? No, I mean, exactly like it?”

To which the proper response should be: "Do you know the penalty for copyright infringement? Because that is what you are discussing and I want to state now, for the record, in case any lawyers are reading this in the future that I had no part in any copying of a competitor's website or their content."

It is okay for clients to want to emulate a website that they admire. But they can never duplicate a site completely, word for word, code for code. That is grounds for a lawsuit. Copyright infringement in Canada can lead to fines of up to $1,000,000 CDN plus any civil lawsuits from the company which was infringed.

Beyond that the thing to do is ask the client what specific elements of the website they really like. Get examples of things they like and learn exactly what aspects of it they like best.

Also ask them what they would change to make it better.

Once those things are nailed down the next step should be to determine a layout. For this I prefer to used old school pen and paper so that we have a hard copy of what the layout design is.

I also sometimes ask a client to "sign off" on a finished layout by initializing the corner of the draft design that was completed on paper. This way they know they have just agreed to this layout/design and this is the layout/design that will be made. Changes may be made later, but any amendments should be relatively minor.

Any major changes imply a whole new design, possibly starting completely fresh. Which means additional costs in terms of time and money.



People who want free SEO and don't want to pay for it

A few days ago someone emailed me asking for a lengthy list of SEO books that I would recommend for people who want to do their own SEO.

My response was as follows:

"Certainly. How many hours worth of research are you looking for to construct this list of books?

Payment is $30 USD per hour and must be paid in advance via either PayPal or Interac Email Transfer."


They never responded to the email, possibly realizing that constructing a list of SEO books is a time intensive activity and thus would constitute "work".

I was not expecting a response either. The tone of my response was polite, but it implied the concept of "nothing is free" and if you want to do your work for you, then you had best be paying for my efforts.

So here is a handy SEO Tip... Either:

DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

or

PAY SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT FOR YOU

I have a life. I don't have time to waste constructing "lists" for people who are not paying me. If I have books listed on one of my websites, then please go read the website. I am not going to waste my valuable time doing research for someone else for free.

Expecting people to do your work for free may harken back to Tom Sawyer tricking his friends into painting the fence for him, but just because it worked for the fictional Tom Sawyer on his hick friends, doesn't mean that nonsense will work today.

Sheesh.


If you need SEO, SEM or SMO help in Toronto then you need to contact designSEO.ca
Get started by emailing contactus@designseo.ca.
Consultations are $30 per hour.