Alan

Geoff Holt’s Atlantic crossing

PB284302Every now and then in life you meet someone who really makes an impression on you. This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Geoff Holt and his lovely assistant Susana…

Geoff was the fist quadriplegic to sail single handed around Great Britain – and is currently preparing to become the fist quadriplegic to cross the Atlantic unassisted with the sailing and navigation of the boat. Susana is accompanying Geoff to help with his personal needs

His boat, Impossible Dream, is currently moored at the Rubicon Marina in Playa Blanca – you can’t miss it! It’s a seriously impressive catamaran with his name all over it! The 60 foot boat has been purpose built built by a fellow disabled sailor – and is worth, we were told, in the region of £2,000,000!

We wish Geoff and Susana a safe and enjoyable crossing when they set off on the 10th of December and are looking forward to following their adventures on Geoff’s website – www.geoffholt.com.

Geoff needs all the support he can get – so if you do have a Lanzarote related website, do please give his website a link and wherever possible your support.

PeopleString – can you really make money just by joining a Social Networking site?

join people stringEarlier today I was asked by a friend to check out whether a particular website was a scam – a common request!

Whilst researching the site in question I  came across a link to peoplestring.com – a social networking site.  Nothing  new there I hear you say! Thousands have sprung up on the back of the success of MySpace, Facebook and the god awful phenomenon that is Twitter…

But this one is different – it’s free to join and they claim that they pay you to attract people to, and use the site. The only immediately apparent catch is that you have to accept a certain amount of junk mail. Not really a problem, getting it sent to a Hotmail account or similar will minimize that inconvenience.

The principle is that you get paid for recruiting new members and there’s also an ‘upgrade’ (you get a percentage of if people buy that from your links) – which entitles people who pay $200 to a larger stake in the profit share they describe, which is based on their advertising revenue (this I wonder about when Facebook and Twitter are reportedly losing money on a daily basis!). It’s all very MLM, and seems very ‘spammy’ with your ‘make money on the Internet’ sharks…

But – the key thing here is it’s free! I like free! So, I’ve signed up to see if what they say is true… I’ll be back later to report on if it works or not….

If you fancy helping with my ‘experiment’ click here and join….

Fotolia photo library

fotolia photo libraryIn recent months we’ve become big fans of Fotolia stock library…

One of the biggest problems as a web designer can be finding suitable photographs to fit with our clients websites. Having waded through many an on-line stock library in the past I always seem to end up back at Fotolia which must have one of the biggest collections of them all – approaching 7 million photographs.

Prices for images suitable sizes for use on the web start from 2 or 3 Euro.

What is surprising is that a quick search on Lanzarote will throw up over 1.100 images – which makes it particularly useful for businesses on the island. And most are of very good quality due to a human based acceptance system – you won’t find many holiday snaps on this site!

So – no need to steal any of my photographs from our sites, or from other popular sites on the island as happens all to often.

It only costs a couple of Euro to avoid breaching copyright laws! 😉

How to get more hits…

Don’t always believe the stats web publishers quote when trying to persuade you to advertise on the sites – there are some dishonest publishers out there…

Firstly let me point out categorically that we NEVER employ this (or any other underhand) technique. We deal honestly and openly with all our clients. The stats quoted here come from a project we have under development (not a Lanzarote site) and I did this just to illustrate this article.

chart

If I was trying to sell you advertising, it would look pretty impressive wouldn’t it? Really, it’s not. It’s a very simple deception technique used by unscrupulous web site owners.

Now – how did we take a site from 16 page views to over 9,000 in less than 48 hours? Continue reading

Contextual advertising placement…

Advertising gone wrongSounds like a great idea to place ads in context with the text of a page. It is, but not always – take a look at this howler from The Guardian.

All to often we rely on the ‘judgement’ of these systems – this is what can happen when it all goes horribly wrong.

Click on the image to see it full size and take a look at the headline on the left, and then the ad that shows up on the right.

I hate Twitter…

Yes – I do – I hate it with a passion… But today I’ve linked some of our Lanzarote sites to it through an automated process. I guess if it’s there it may as well be exploited – as long as it takes little or no effort.

Twitter

But really, what is Twitter in terms of web promotion? It’s all but pointless to any serious small business . Yes, I can see it as a bit of fun for kids sharing their daily lives – but it strikes me as much like the days of CB radio – a bunch of sad individuals screaming into the ether hoping to make contact with new ‘friends’.

Everywhere I see ‘reports’ with ‘advice’ or ‘secrets’ (sic) about how to use Twitter, all for sale of course. They are not telling you anything you can’t find out for yourself with a bit of common sense and a few Google searches.  The get rich quick whilst selling you freely available information types really annoy me…

You see so many people boasting about how many Twitter followers they have – and that it brings them so many new hits. They put many hours into building this up – but in reality, there are so many ‘friend collectors’ out there, their efforts, and the resulting (low quality) hits are all but worthless. Their value doesn’t even come close to rivalling organic search visitors.

In conclusion I don’t mind automating this – but don’t expect to see me on there a great deal – I’ll leave it to the kids, the amateurs, and the get rich quick merchants. I prefer to spend my time on things that add real value to our business

If you are sad enough to take Twitter seriously and would like to add us – the user name is Lanzarote1971.

Phishing scam in Spain

This is one that people could easily fall for… (especially ex-pats not confident with their Spanish language skills).

Things to look out for are:

Your own name or email address not being in the “To” section
Hovering your cursor over the link (don’t click it) bringing up a suspicious looking address that doesn’t match the site it is supposed to – the thing to look out for is the last description before the domain extension – e.g .com)

Phishing scam

If you receive anything like this, just delete and forward it as spam to your Internet Service Provider, and also consider forwarding it to the company who the thieves are masquerading as. If you are concerned that perhaps you are missing something from your bank, then phone your own branch.

NEVER log in using your bank details, email or password to a website from a direct link in an email. Reputable companies who you know will only ask you to log in through their main website and not via an email such as this.

Click on the screen grab to see the email content.

The ulimate console platform

On a lighter note than usual – surely this has to be the ultimate console game! This is reportedly a drone being flown in Afghanistan from a bunker in Nevada…

Quality is king…

Sometimes I long for the old days before everyone had access to the Internet.

Blogs for instance sound like a fantastic idea – as does social networking. Culturally they offer a great opportunity – in reality they have created a huge opening for many individuals to deceive.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to sell stuff over the Internet but it seems millions of fools appear to think that if they put up masses on nonsense content – filled with affiliate links to tell you (when they haven’t) how to make a million through some scheme or blog. I just can’t stand the dishonesty of it all!

Cheap domains and affordable web space have a lot to answer for, as does social networking. Putting a QUALITY website up takes real time, effort and commitment in both design and contents. Though clearly many neither realize or accept it looking at their sites.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction – the quality of the Internet appears to me to be the direct opposite of its growth. Quality content is getting harder and harder to find year on year.

Content is not king – quality is? But unfortunately quality is dying a death all over the net…

Stop moaning about the recession and dip your hand in your pocket!

Every now and then you stumble across a real gem of a website – today’s was Kiva. A site distributing micro-finance to small business around the world, mostly the third world.

If you don’t know what micro-finance is – put very simply, it’s a small loan – usually from a number of investors to small business owners. Its a way to help people grow a sustainable business, and get most of your money back…

You can loan as little as ~ US$25 and make a real and lasting difference to someone who needs your help!

Lanzarote is a little rock and a very closed community in many ways – sometimes we forget there’s a big world out there, and that we can actually help make a difference.

Visit the Kiva website and see how easy it is.