Wow, what an amazing ride it’s been. I’m happy to say that this blog post is my 1,000th blog post that I’ve posted on BillHartzer.com. It has certainly taken quite a few years to get to this point. But I honestly can say that I’m quite surprised that I’ve been able to write 1,000 blog posts just on this blog. If you count up all of the other blog posts that I’ve written over the years and contributed to other blogs (not including other blogs I own) it’s a lot more than 1,000, I bet it is well into several thousand blog posts. [Read more...]
Working with clients’ online marketing plans, SEO, and their websites, I often recommend during an SEO audit that a website should have a blog. A blog is a good way to regular add content on your website and start engaging with your website visitors. Both are key to your site’s online visibility and success, especially when it comes to search engine rankings. [Read more...]
Well, here it is, December 31st, 2013, the evening is drawing to a close. Still a few hours until the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square. Around this time I am always thinking of Times Square, the original(?) place where it all happens. But, maybe because I’m from the New York area, and am used to always staying up to watch the ball drop.
This past year has been quite interesting, and personally I’m very happy to get on with 2014. Not that 2013 was a bad year, or that it was actually an odd (unlucky 13) year. But to be honest with you, a lot of good happened for me, and a lot of not – so – good things happened. Let’s start with the ‘not so good’. Probably the biggest most memorable blog moment for me? A post that I ultimately removed. Have you ever written what you thought was a really good blog post, not because of the writing (yeah, my writing is always good, huh?). But because of the subject matter. The topic. What you “found” and what you felt was a really big issue that had to be dealt with. And boy did I deal with it:
My most memorable (at least for me) blog post of 2013 was one of those. One of those posts that impacted quite a few people. It stirred up the pot, and was, in fact, quite a controversial subject. Needless to say, there were a few comments posted and a few responses that were posted here on my blog. But that’s not where it blew up. It blew up in a private forum so to speak, a place where the general public (and the search engine crawlers) didn’t have access to: Facebook.
That’s actually kind of ironic, I guess, and probably (ultimately) a good thing. A lot of people impacted by one blog post of mine said a lot of things that the probably now regret saying. Or maybe not. But it was in a private venue, a private forum, where only a select few (a few hundred?) people actually knew what was being talked about.
So in 2013, I saw a big change. Where, say, 10 or even 5 years ago these sorts of public outcries over what was a seemingly innocent blog post, that ended up causing quite a stir, played out on Facebook. And not in public, where others’ comments were not so public. Did this have an effect on what was said? You bet. I believe that people in this exchange over 1 measly blog post (that I wrote) said things that they would not have said if they knew they were saying these things for the public to see. Again, there were public comments made on the blog post: but they weren’t as harsh as what was said on Facebook.
So, looking back at 2013, it was the year that the SEO community, as well as quite a lot of others, finally fully showed that they embrace Facebook as a means of communication. Prior to this past year, if there were blog posts like the one that I ultimately removed from my blog, people would have written blog posts and made public responses. Not anymore, though.
And then there was a terrible incident that occurred to one of our beloved, respected, members of the SEO community. This person was hospitalized, and (thank goodness) is making progress towards her recovery. In 2013, when this happened, the SEO community used Facebook as a means of communicating. 5 years ago, this might have played out in a more public way, in a place other than on Facebook.
Then there were the updates. In 2013, Google really turned Search Engine Optimization on its head and ‘shook really hard’ so to speak. I can honestly say that the way I have done business in the past (promoting my own and my client websites through SEO techniques) has changed dramatically in 2013. I will always remember 2013 as the year when I spent cleaning up after bad SEOs and bad SEO techniques. There certainly is no automated, cheap, link building anymore. At least that’s not recommended anymore. 2014 is now the beginning of Link Earning. And we’ll only see link earning (not link building) be more powerful and more respected in the future.
2013 probably is going to be the year that we see a lot of SEO firms go out of business: or start to go out of business in the beginning of 2014. I suspect that at the end of 2014. we will see a lot of SEO-related domain names suddenly become available. Some, perhaps with a lot of bad links pointing to them. But there may be even more with a lot of their former clients’ sites linking to them, as well. So, if you’re enterprising, you may want to start watching the SEO domain names during 2014, I bet there will be quite a few that become available on the domain auction circuit or just drop entirely. And, as well, in 2015.
I’ve already offered up some of my predictions for SEO in 2014, so I won’t dive into that right now. Especially since that posts seems to already be doing quite well.
So, what did I start doing in 2013 that seems to be making a difference when it comes to SEO and rankings? Here are a few things that one could call “SEO tips” that are worth investigating. Pay attention, because I normally don’t give out info like this. Really! Here’s what I think is worth mentioning:
- Pay attention to Google Plus. Work towards being an influencer there. Don’t just get followers. Don’t just follow people. When you post, make sure you get +1s and shares. It makes a huge difference. You don’t have to have thousands of followers (although that helps). But when you post, make sure it is noticed.
- Pay attention to Twitter. If you have a blog, make sure your blog post URL is tweeted and retweeted. Not just once, but more than that. If you’re not popular, and not an influencer, then there are other ways to get people to tweet and retweet stuff for you. Yeah, I just said that.
- On Twitter, look at how many people you’re following. Look at how many people are following you. Fix your following to follower ratio. Following 2500 people? Then make sure you have more than 2500 following you. If 2500 are following you, then only follow 10 percent of that, which would be around 250 people.
- Facebook. Yeah, Facebook can send a lot of traffic to a site, especially to blog posts. Get yourself a public biz page if you don’t have one. Those are crawled. Work on getting Likes on your page. Have a blog post? Post it on your Facebook page and pay to promote it. Even $20 can go a long way.
- Title tags. Title tags still count. Write awesome headlines. Headlines always have (even since 1997) always gotten people’s attention, and will get people to click on through to a site.
- Got a blog? Think like a journalist. Uncover something in your industry. Post often. Even if you “see something” peculiar or something that’s changed, don’t forget to write about it. Honestly, some of my best blog posts have been “trivial” to me, and I really didn’t think people care about the topic I was writing about. But believe-you-me, those are the posts that end up going viral.
So, goodbye 2013. The old-ball, ‘unlucky’ 2013. And hello 2014. I have a feeling 2014 is going to be hone heck of a year. Besides, I’m already set for four huge conferences in the first 3 months of this year, which is going to be a record year for me.
Post often, and stay thirsty for content, my friends.
It’s always interesting when a non-technical person sees something technical. I mean, the technical terms oftentimes are like a foreign language to people who are not so technical. Let’s look at what happened when someone who was obviously non-technical suddenly discovered web developer tools.
Apparently this person was in Firefox and somehow brought up the Web Developer Web Console, which is available under the “Tools” menu on Firefox. Here is what they asked on Facebook:
My Facebook suddenly split in half and this screen popped up with al these random cyber space options and it was like watching and assessing things soooooo weird? and talking about chile… and children being forced WTF???? is this some sort of cyber police thing that my IP was accedently allowed to access so i could help stop child abuse on the net or am i going crazy???? as this happened to anyone else??? – feeling confused.
Well, I guess you could see it that way if you didn’t know the “parent and child” relationships when it comes to web development.
On Saturday, November 30, 2013, Paul Walker, along with his friend Roger Rodas were tragically killed in a car crash in which they riding in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. This is very eerily similar to the 2005 car accident in which Corey Rudl, an internet marketing pioneer, was tragically killed. In both accidents, they were driving a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT., similar to the model shown below:
In the 2005 accident, Mr. Rudl’s family ended up settling a lawsuit with Porsche and the racetrack owners where the accident occurred. In the lawsuit, Corey Rudl’s family claimed:
the sports car was not equipped with Electronic Stability Control, a feature that would have prevented Mr. Rudl’s death. This is according to Craig McClellan, who represented the Rudl family in the lawsuit. The lawyer and the family says that the “track was dangerously designed with the concrete barrier that the Porsche hit being placed in the “run off” area where the vehicle is supposed to be given room to slow down.”
Regarding the 2005 Corey Rudl accident and lawsuit, Auto Blog wrote an article updating the situation with the lawsuit:
Tracy Rudl, the wife of passenger Corey Rudl, filed a lawsuit claiming gross negligence by many parties associated with the track event. She recently received a settlement of approximately $4.5 million. The contributing parties to the settlement fund were 2% from the merging Ferrari driver, 8% from Porsche, 41% from California Speedway and Ferrari Owner’s Club and finally 49% from the Carrera GT driver’s estate.
This really begs the question: if the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was equipped with Electronic Stability Control, could Paul Walker’s tragic death have been avoided? I realize that speed were most likely factors in both crashes. But I find it kind of a weird coincidence that both of these crashes involved a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.
Today, I decided that I would share a really super duper online marketing tip on my Facebook page. This tip has to do with domain names, but not just any domain names. You have to have a good domain name along with good traffic to that domain name in order to market your business online.
Unfortunately, I cannot get into details about this really super duper online marketing tip here on my blog. But, if you have “Liked” my Facebook page, which is http://www.facebook.com/bhartzer then you probably already have seen this tip.
There hasn’t been one of these “killer” marketing tips around nowadays that when something like this comes along, I just have to share it with others.
So go ahead: “Like” my Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/bhartzer
I promise that you won’t regret it.
Here’s an interesting case of fraud, deceit, and outright theft by a PayPal buyer against the seller. By siding with the buyer in this particular case, PayPal is encouraging fraud and deceit, allowing buyers to steal merchandise from honest sellers. I am usually a fan of using PayPal, but this case makes me not want to sell any merchandise: ever, using PayPal.
Let’s say, for example, I purchased a laptop computer from Dell using PayPal. Dell shipped the laptop to me, and for some reason I decided to ship the laptop back to Dell, because I didn’t want it. But, before I shipped the laptop back, I opened the laptop, took out the hard drive, the wifi, and the keyboard and used a screwdriver to scratch the screen. It was shipped to me in a new condition, with certain components. Dell would expect that laptop in the same exact condition as it was sent. In this case, I would probably not receive my money back. I still had the hard drive and the wifi components.
This would certainly not fly with Dell. But, with PayPal, buyers are encouraged to deceive and steal from sellers, just the opposite of what would happen if I stole a hard drive from a Dell laptop.
Let’s look at this extraordinary example of how PayPal encouraged deceit and theft, and ultimately sided with the buyer: who stole merchandise from the seller, and even receiving all of their money back (including what they paid for shipping). Not only did the buyer get the merchandise–they got it for free (and free shipping too!).
Let’s start with the overview of what happened in this extraordinary case. This is an account directly from the seller. We have attempted to reach the buyer for his side of this story, but have been unable to reach the buyer.
“The buyer, from Florida, contacted the seller to purchase a 4DTV satellite receiver. He paid us $132 ($100 plus shipping costs). Upon receiving the item via UPS, he claimed that item was damaged. He filed a claim with UPS, and UPS approved the claim. the seller, at the same time, filed a claim with PayPal, to receive all of his money back. UPS paid us, the seller, for the claim because the buyer continued to harass the UPS Store via phone. PayPal instructed the seller to send the merchandise back in the same condition in which he received it. The seller received the shell of the satellite receiver back from the buyer, missing the inside electronics of the receiver, as well as the remote and manual. It is the seller’s conclusion that the buyer stole the interior “guts” of the satellite receiver, including the remote and the manual to the unit, and file a claim with UPS and PayPal in order to receive the receiver for free (including shipping) and receive the claim money from UPS. We believe the seller has conducted fraud, harassed several individuals and businesses during this transaction, and the item’s electronics have been stolen from the seller.
07/08/2013-12:36pm Central Time – the buyer (name and address removed, purchased, via PayPal, a DSR922 4DTV satellite receiver for $132.00 ($100 plus $32 shipping fee).
07/09/2013 – Item was shipped from the UPS Store, insured.
07/12/2013-3:35pm Central Time – Item delivered by UPS to the buyer’s home. Receipt attached.
07/12/2013-2:41pm Central Time The seller received a phone call from the buyer telling her that the back corner of the merchandise was dented in. He asked if we would mind if he filed a claim with the shipper, UPS. The seller told him to file a claim. He also sent a picture of the dent via cell phone.
8/22/2013 21:32 PDT – The buyer filed a claim with PayPal, to get all of his money back from PayPal. PayPal’s notes are as follows: Buyer: Item came damaged
08/23/2013 – UPS approved the claim.
08/29/2013 We (the seller) received a phone call from the UPS Store telling us that the claim was being paid to us, the seller, and not to the buyer per UPS rules on claims. The UPS Store’s manager told the seller that they were paying us, the seller, because she was scared to send the buyer, a check, with her name on it.
09/05/2013 12:15pm – We (the seller) received a phone call from the buyer pretending to be a representative of PayPal. He wanted to know if we (the seller) had received the box back yet. The seller, confused about the strange call, replied, “No” and hung up the phone.
09/06/2013 – We (the seller) deposited the UPS check, received from the claim.
09/12/2013 – We (the seller) received a box via USPS at the post office and signed for it. The box was marked over and over “damaged” when received at the post office. USPS told the seller that she could file a claim if the inside item was damaged. She declined because we knew the item was damaged by UPS prior to the item being shipped. The seller returned home to open a partial opened box to see that the item was completely destroyed, obviously by hand. The type of damage done to the item could not have occurred during shipping. Inside, video cypher mother board has been removed, the back plate has been ripped off, the front of the receiver was beaten with some type of hammer or screw driver and everything, including the plastic cover on front, is missing. The manual for the receiver is missing, the remote control is missing, the antenna is missing, and the power cord missing. See the attached pictures. This type of damage to the receiver and the stolen parts from the unit could not have occurred due to shipping damage. All of the major parts are stolen from the receiver, making it completely inoperable and only a “shell” of a unit.
Below are photos of the returned merchandise, as sent back from the buyer:
09/13/2013 – We (the seller) contacted PayPal via phone and told them that the item was damaged, not in the original condition, and missing the majority of its parts (parts were stolen). The PayPal representative told us that the buyer’s claim would be denied.
9/14/2013 – PayPal refunded all of the money ($132) to the buyer. This includes the $32 the buyer paid for shipping costs.
9/15/2013 – PayPal instructed, the seller, to file a police report within 10 days.
09/16/2013 – The seller called the UPS store claims adjuster and spoke to April Johnson, in an attempt to receive any information or photos of the item when the UPS claim was made and before the item was shipped back to us, the seller. Mr. Johnson told the seller that there was no printable paperwork, only internally-typed information about the claim that was paid by them. It stated that the item was crushed and the box was dented.-The phone number to the UPS Store Dispute department is 1-877-225-7625.
9/21/2013 – The seller, instructed by Paypal, filed an affidavit with Paypal, and the the whole “story” as shown above. The signed, notarized statement, claimed that the item was partially returned, missing the majority of its parts, including the main “motherboard” of the receiver, as well as the remote control, the manual, the antenna, and the power cord. The seller uploaded all of the photos, receipts, and notarized statements.
9/21/2013 – Paypal, upon receipt of all the supporting documentation, very promptly sided with the seller, stating the following:
On 9/22/13 10:03 AM, “” <> wrote:
We received your request to appeal the following complaint.
Buyer’s name: XXXXX XXXXXXX
Buyer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transaction ID: xxxxxx
Transaction date: Jul 8, 2013
Transaction amount: $132.00 USD
Your transaction ID: xxxxxxx
Case number: PP-002-xxx-26xxx5-xxx5
We have completed our review to your appeal for the above case. The damage noted in your appeal was cited by your buyer as the reason for the complaint and you have been compensated for the damages by UPS. Therefore, our original decision remains. We cannot refund you above and beyond the transaction amount. In addition, you have both, the funds for the item provided by the UPS insurance claim as well as the item, regardless of the items current condition. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and encourage you to work directly with your buyer for further resolution. We appreciate your patience and cooperation regarding this matter.
Protection Services Department
PayPal, an eBay Company
Copyright © 1999-2013 PayPal. All rights reserved.
The above is an account and overview of the case as provided by the seller. I’ve tried to reach out to the buyer to get his side of the story, but have not heard back from the buyer. (I’m not surprised, as he may know that he deceived the seller, PayPal, and got merchandise for free.)
Well, apparently, even though the item in question was NOT returned (only the shell of a satellite receiver was received by the seller), PayPal sided with the buyer in this case, and gave the buyer ALL of his money back, including the shipping charges. The buyer stole the majority of the parts of the unit, including all of the internal motherboard and other accessories. This was not damaged–it was stolen by the buyer.
By making this decision on this case, PayPal encourages buyers to buy items that include parts (such as hard drives, motherboard, and accessories), return parts of the items (even just the exterior metal of something) and not have to pay for items, including shipping charges. This is outright theft and deceit, and PayPal should stop practices such as these. There is enough fraud going around the internet right now–we do not need PayPal to encourage it like this.
What’s your experience with PayPal? I’ve heard that they tend to always side with buyers–and almost never defend the sellers cases such as this.
I finally got to meet with the judge here in Kaufman County, Texas last week, and as of today, I am no longer officially listed on the books as “Bill Hartzer”. My legal name is now officially “BillHartzer.com”. I decided to make this bold yet subtle move in order to promote my own blog and my own career as an internet marketing blogger.
If you have any question about this, whether or not I actually changed my name from Bill Hartzer to BillHartzer.com, here is the Bill Hartzer Name Change.
There have been others in the past that have changed their legal name, but based on my research, I have not found anyone who has officially changed their name to something that reflects the name of their blog. Along with the “dot com” in it. Of course we have Kim Dot Com, and then there is the guy who legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg.
But in this case, I have decided, after some serious thought, that I would officially change my name to BillHartzer.com, then name of my internet marketing blog.
If you’re interested in blogging about my name change or are a news outlet or a member of the media wanting to talk about my recent name change to the name of my blog, then I have gone ahead and provided you with a quote below that you can use:
After months and months of corresponding with several internet marketing experts, as well as those family members of mine who would most affected by this, I have made the decision to change my name. I realize that this move is unprecedented, and that people would be skeptical–but for those who know me and for those familiar with my online antics, I am sure that they are not surprised by my latest self-promotional move.
So, those who know my previous online antics, and for those who are familiar with my blatant, self-promotional antics and promotional tactics online, are you really surprised that I have changed my legal name to the name of my internet marketing blog, BillHartzer.com?
Frankly, I was pretty amazed at the fact that it was so easy to legally change my name from Bill Hartzer to BillHartzer.com. I simly filled out some paperwork, actually I downloaded the proper form for the State of Texas, and went ahead and filled it out. A few weeks ago I dropped by the Kaufman County Texas courthouse (you may be familiar with it, the Kaufman County courthouse and the District Attorney’s office has been in the news lately). After finding the right office to give the paperwork to, I then was instructed that I had to get the document notarized. Well, after getting it notarized, which cost about $30 to get handled, I went back to the courthouse and got a court date. It was the end of last week when I finally got the court date–and five minutes in front of the judge and bingo–I got my wish, which was to legally change my name.
The History Behind My Name Change
Ever since I started my site–I got BillHartzer.com back in the early 2000s–I have wanted to get more publicity for the site. I originally had a static web site on the BillHartzer.com, but after a few years decided to turn it into an internet marketing blog, well, first it was just a blog. After a while, I realized that you really needed a lot of links to your web site in order to show up well in the search engine rankings. Turns out that most of the links that I got were using my name, Bill Hartzer, which was fine. But after the Google Penguin algorithm update came along, I realized that one of the things that I needed to do was change the anchor text of a lot of the links pointing to my web site, that I really have too many links with my brand name, Bill Hartzer. So, I had this brilliant idea that if I legally changed my name to BillHartzer.com, then I could get more links to the web site through this self-absorbed self-promotional opportunity. And bingo–a light went off in my head, that I would also get links with a different anchor text. Not necessarily the exact anchor text I want, but it was a change. So here I am, now legally changing my name to BillHartzer.com, the name of my internet marketing blog. That’s why I decided to change my name.
So, going forward, from now on I am no longer known as Bill Hartzer. I am officially, legally, known as BillHartzer.com, they guy with the internet marketing blog.
CNET Downloads, formerly a trusted source of downloads, now comes with an unhealthy dose of unwanted programs and add-ons installed on your PC without your consent, changed default search settings, and spyware. It’s now unsafe to download anything from CNET.
I spent about half an hour installing and then cleaning up (uninstalling and removing spyware) from my PC after downloading a useful program that I’ve used for a long time–to do screen captures. It’s really a good program that’s easy to use (Camstudio). But after installing, I became disgusted with CNET.
I don’t know about you, but I am officially DONE with CNET and their “CNET Downloads” area or “feature”. It used to be that you could trust the downloads from CNET. But that’s now history. Stay away from CNET. Downloading something from there will add all sorts of spyware and unwanted programs and toolbars and even change settings on your PC without your knowledge.
I am absolutely disgusted with CNET right now.
You would think that by downloading a program from CNET that your download wouldn’t install all sorts of spyware, malware, and junk programs that you don’t want on your PC.
Rather than downloading a program directly from the software developer’s site, I (mistakenly) thought that it might be ‘safer’ to download from CNET. Boy was I wrong! Not only did I get the program I wanted (a screen capture /video screen capture program) but I also got:
– my default search settings changed
– an add-on to Microsoft PowerPoint installed called “visualbee” that I didn’t want
– a toolbar added and installed on Firefox that I didn’t ask for
– an online coupon program called “Coupon Companion” that I didn’t ask for.
– some other programs installed and I cannot figure out what they do. One even had only an “uninstall” feature that the Microsoft Window “add/remove programs” feature didn’t know what to do with.
Goodbye CNET, I can no longer trust you anymore. You’ve officially “sold out” to the spammers and to the spyware creators, and will never again gain my trust. And you did this just for a few bucks.
It’s a shame that CNET had to ruin our relationship this way.
It seems as though I’m not the only one who has caught CNET Downloads inserting spyware and unwanted programs into their downloads. Take a look here at what insecure.org has to say:
It is bad enough when software authors include toolbars and other unwanted apps bundled with their software. But having Download.com insert such things into 3rd party installers is even more insidious. When users find their systems hosed (searches redirected, home pages changed, new hard-to-uninstall toolbars taking up space in their browser) after installing software, they are likely to blame the software authors. But in this case it is entirely Download.com’s fault for infecting the installers! So while Download.com takes the payment for exploiting their user’s trust and infecting the machines, it is the software authors who wrongly take the blame! Of course it is users who pay the ultimate price of having their systems infected just to make a few bucks for CNET.
In an interesting turn of events during a shoplifting attempt at a local Walmart Store, a local law enforcement officer in Canton, Texas, recovered the suspected criminal’s smartphone. And the officer used the smartphone owner’s own Facebook account to send him a message:
Here is the message that Officer Bradshaw, from the Canton Texas Police Department, left on “Bryan Ward’s” smartphone:
Hey Bryan… Officer Bradshaw here with the Canton Police Department. It seems that you dropped your phone durig your attempt to steal the 46 ” LCD TV that you left behind from our local Wal-Mart, which is valued at $863.84. The sales associate stated you could run really fast. Lets hope this is true for your sake… I would venture to say that you have the same hat on in your profile picture as you do in the recorded video that has been secured as evidence from wal-Mart. No need in advising you of your legal warning at this time. I will be obtaining an arrest warrant for you in the near future. If you have any questions or feel like turning yourself in please feel free to contact me here at the PD at (903) 567-4991. Just ask for me… Peace Out.
Well, there’s not much else I can say. How awesome is technology now? Apparently the suspected criminals aren’t getting any smarter.