This fall has been quite an eventful time for me in my life. August 7th, I married my wonderful wife Noël. We were married on the top of this beautiful mountain overlooking the Willamette Valley, in Brownsville, Oregon at the Sanctuary at Washburn Heights (http://www.sanctuaryatwashburnheights.com). Spent a beautiful vacation at Pismo Beach, California and got the best tan/burn that I've had in a long time. Everything was looking up and up! I didn't think anything could bring us down; but life has a way of throwing curve balls at us. Tests and trials to test or strengths, our will, and our character.
On this October 15th, exactly 2 months and 2 weeks after we were wed, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had been having some stomach pain for a few months, nothing I couldn't handle, but definitely something that was starting to concern me. I had talked to my primary physician a few weeks before, and he had got me setup with a gastrointestinal specialist for my colonoscopy. Right after the exam he was 100% positive that I had cancer. He took a biopsy to confirm and set me up with a surgeon to get it removed.
"You must renew your domain name to retain rights to it on the Web". This is very true. You don't want all the time, money and efforts you have taken to build, market and nurture your website to be completely unraveled by a thing as simple as a domain expiration. Working for a web host, as well as hosting many of my own domains, I've seen many attempts to try and get the domain owners to transfer their domain over to a new registrar. What is the domain registrar? A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity, accredited by a generic top-level domain registry (gTLD) and/or by a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry, to manage the reservation of Internet domain names in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and offer such services to the public (wiki link).
Let's say you purchased your domain a while ago at GoDaddy for a cool $10/yr. You're site is solid, running, no worries but it's a few months away from it's renewal date. If you purchased a domain without private registration, your information is easily looked up with a public WhoIs search. Try doing a WhoIs lookup for microsoft.com at http://whois.melbourneit.com/ and you'll see the contact information for the domain Admin, Technical support, and sometimes the Billing contact.
To the right, I've inserted a recently received solicitation from Domain Registry of America. On first examination, it appears to be a legitimate bill. It has my name and contact information, domain name, as well as when the domain expires and what I can do to make sure my domain doesn't expire. One paragraph states "Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web". Hey now! That sounds pretty serious! I better get this taken care of right away! 1 year price, $30?! I thought it was only $10/yr! Not so fast...
I've seen these received many, many times. Registrar companies sending solicitations that are formatted to look like an invoice or bill to renew your domain, but instead it's an authorization form to transfer your $10/yr domain name over to them, and let them charge you $30/yr or more (My dad has a website where he is the owner of a domain name and he gets the same types of solicitations, but the company trying to get his business was charging $75/yr!). These can be confusing, but there are a few things that can help ease some of the confusion of registering a domain name:
- Read Your Domain/Hosting Bills: Make sure that the bill you received is a legitimate bill, and not a solicitation to transfer your domain. Most registrars will use email to communicate notices or information in regard to your domain or hosting packages. I don't think I've ever had a direct snail-mail from any of my registrars or hosts in the past 5+ years. Email is faster, and less costly than snail-mail, so it's unlikely that you'll receive anything through the post office from your host.
- Domain Privacy: How do you think that company got my dad's or my personal information to send this junk mail to? It was most likely through a public WhoIs search. What can be done about this? Most registrars, including GoDaddy, Register.com and many others, offer (for usually $9-$11 a year) private registration where they will mask your information in the public WhoIs searches. This will make sure that when companies search through the public WhoIs, they will only see the registrars information on the domain, and no personal information about who registered the domain, or who owns it.
- Keep Records: Make sure to keep copies of all your domain purchases so you can easily go back and look up the details of the registrar and any information on their renewal procedures. Many times if had clients register their domain first, and get a 3rd party web or email host. You may loose track of who hosts what for you if you're not paying attention. Good record keeping is always good policy.
- Keep Bills Paid: A few years ago, I built a website for a small local coffee shop. The site turned out great, and they were very happy with the results. They had purchased the domain a few years prior, but never really had much of a website on the domain. Unfortunately, a year or so after my services were complete, they lost track of their domain account and renewal information, and the domain expired. I had warned them that they would need to keep the renewal up on the domain, but they didn't put it as a high priority. Since the domain name was quite sought after, it was quickly picked up by another coffee shop in a different state.
Being aware of these points, and shady marketing tactics can help cut down on unneeded confusion and stress of the domain owner.
You've had one of these people before, I know you have. The person that you just don't want to receive emails from anymore. Whether it be over an argument, disagreement, or just an annoyance, there's probably someone that you would like to just delete from your morning inbox. If it's an argument or disagreement, I'm sure you can just go on forever and ever, back and forth, just coming up with a better line or telling some idiot that they need to leave you alone and stop harassing you. You can block the person, that will frustrate them when you don't respond to their ingenious remark about you, but is that really "winning"? I think the way to really "stick it to them" would be to auto-respond to their message by creating an email filter that deletes their message while automatically replying to their message with something like:
"I am sorry to inform you that the user you are trying to send to has blocked your insignificant message. You have been deemed unworthy of sending any thoughts, letters, writings, poems, sonnets or any other literary work to this person as they are probably not worth reading and you are not worth thinking of. Please remove this sender from your address book as you will no longer be able to send to this address. Thank you".
Gmail makes this quite simple with Canned Responses and Filters:
- Create the Canned Response:
- First craft your touting message. I like to be fairly generic so that I can re-use this message for future irritants.
- UPDATE: You'll need to turn on Canned Responses in Labs:
- In Gmail, Click Settings > Labs and Enable "Canned Responses" then click Save Changes
- In Gmail, click "Compose Mail"
- Enter a subject as well as the body of the message you want to respond back to your enemy.
- Instead of sending this to someone, click the down arrow next to "Canned Responses" and select "New Canned Response..."
- Title your taunt and click "Ok". This will add your new Canned Response to your account.
- Create the Filter:
- In Gmail, click "Create a Filter" link next to the search box at the top of the screen.
- In the "From" field, enter the email address of your nemesis. Gmail will probably auto-fill the name from your address book so you can select the name as it shows up. Click "Next Step"
- Here's where the magic happens, check-box "Delete it" and check-box "Send canned response:" and select your taunt response from the list. Deleting it is optional at this point though. If you want to still see what the person is saying, while still making them think they are being blocked, leave the "Delete it" unchecked.
- Click "Create Filter" and you're done! Note: Don't select the option to apply it to the conversations in the below panel as this will send a canned response for all past messages. This will probably come off as lame and will not have the same "Yeah I don't hear you" effect.
Remember, you can actually do this in most any email program through rules, filters or whatever the system calls it. Get the last word in!
So Apple's new iPad has been released today. Following all the hub-bub and buzz about this new product has been fun to watch. It looks like a great product, and I would probably buy one if I had any spare cash to fork out right now (wedding planning prohibits this right now). But one of the bigger issues that I see most people ranting about is the lack of Flash support on the iPad. Like iPhone users, iPad users will have to live without it for the mean time (iPhone hacks are out there for Flash, but not everyone will want to do that to their iPhone or iPad). They talk about "the full Internet right in your hands"; well, unless your site is fully Flash based, then walk your butt back over to your computer and look at that new awesome gallery your friend put up with all your wedding photos.
I'm sure many novice, every-day people won't know that you can't view Flash on their new iPad. I know if my parents got an iPad, they'd be clueless on why they can't watch a video that's streamed through a Flash player, or any other Flash object. I know if I were apple, I wouldn't want my mom to know that her Flash gallery isn't going to work on that fancy new iPad.
Apple is renowned for their attention to detail, so I wonder if their marketing department is held to the same standards, or maybe they just wanted to subtly tell us that iPad doesn't support Flash. Either way, check out 2:06 into new iPad video here on Apple's site. What's that? A missing plugin on the NY Times? What is that? Do they have an ap for that? I don't know if this is an accident on the marketing side, but if I were releasing a fancy new world-changing product, I wouldn't have a demo video that has "broken stuff" on the screen. I guess I just find it funny that this got out there and past quality control.
You've probably heard the buzz about how social media can help expose your business to a huge number of potential clients. Some of you may already have used and understand how social media can be used and what the advantages are of using services like Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn and other social media sites to promote and build a reputation online. Here I have listed some great tips and guidelines when using social media; how to promote your business, and advantages of using social media to promote your services and products.
Articles on Social Media for Business:
Much has been written on the ways to use social media in your business plan. For a novice Internet user that does not understand how to updated these social profiles, or for a business owner that doesn't have time to update and maintain several social media portals, there are alternative ways to post the updates to your social media sites. One way is to link all of your social sites together so that you can update your social news stream in one place, instead of logging into each social portal to update your "profile". This can help you streamline your business and allow you to spend less time on the social media, and more time on your business.