All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Zone Alarm Issues You Should Know About

I’ve always liked Zone Alarm a lot. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, it’s a firewall program, free or paid, that blocks signals from activating nasty things on your computer, as well as hides your ports. It also prevents programs that get onto your computer that you don’t know about from loading without your knowledge. I mentioned it in my post on Best Free Software almost a full year ago, along with Comodo, another free firewall program.

I hadn’t been able to use it ever since I got this computer last December because the computer was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm hadn’t decided if they were going to go that route. Lo and behold Windows 7 came out, was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm, knowing it was coming, saw the writing on the wall and came along into the future. Still, I didn’t immediately load it. I decided to add it two weeks ago when, for whatever reason, Comodo, which I’d been using, stopped updating itself. I went to the forums, and it seems the only thing I could do was unload it and load the updated version. I decided if I had to unload it I might as well pop Zone Alarm on.

I loaded Zone Alarm and it was a snap. I saw that they had added some goofy toolbar, and I’m not one of those people who likes adding all those stupid toolbars from all these programs so I told it I didn’t want it. Unfortunately, it seems that if you tell the program you don’t want it that it loads it anyway, just doesn’t show it. I didn’t know that at the time, and only learned about it this week.

Why did I learn about it this week? For whatever reason my Palm suddenly wouldn’t sync with the computer. Also, Firefox started acting really goofy as well. At times it would suddenly stop working, and when I closed it, seems it wouldn’t fully close. Then I would try to reboot the computer and that wasn’t happening either. I was getting this message saying “forcefield.exe” was preventing the shutdown.

Forcefield? You know I started wondering which alien force had invaded my computer, or whether there were some superheroes battling bad guys. I finally looked it up and it seems that’s the program Zone Alarm loads onto your computer as the toolbar. And, for whatever reason, it messes things up drastically. I went into “msconfig” and told it not to load anymore, yet when I rebooted, there it was again. I finally thought to check my Programs area in control panel, and there it was, all the way at the bottom. I uninstalled that, and things have been great ever since. My main concern was that Zone Alarm would still work, and it seems to be working just fine.

Since I’ve recommended the program I figure it’s time to remind you of the underline. If you see a blue underline, that means it’s a link to a product. Zone Alarm is free as a firewall, but you can also purchase the product as it also has an antivirus and anti-spyware program that’s part of the paid product. And, of course, there are some other products; gotta take advantage of those special words here and there, right?
 

GoDaddy Almost Drops Me As An Affiliate

Okay, this time I have to admit I’m stunned.

I got a letter on Friday saying that as of the 14th I’ll be dropped as an affiliate from GoDaddy because of low sales. This one shocks me because over the years I’ve probably made the most money as a Commission Junction publisher from GoDaddy than I have from anyone else. I get all my domains from there. My friends mainly get their domains from there. I’ve recommended to my clients that if they want to get a new domain to go there.

Now I’m irked. I mean, if I’d made no money from them I still wouldn’t like it because, after all, it’s not costing anyone anything for me to help promote them. But when I’ve made some money for someone, and for myself, and then have them want to drop me… that just seems disingenuous. They did say I could write a letter explaining why I shouldn’t be dropped, which I did, but when someone only gives you a week to respond and you’re responding by email, and it has nothing to do with you as a customer, well, I don’t expect much.

Or at least I didn’t. I got a response back from them, saying they weren’t going to drop me after all. They appreciate me as a customer and publisher, and were looking for those who were no longer participating in the program. Whew! Talk about timing; this part is a rewrite of the original article that was going to post at this time, and I’m glad because I’ve always been a fan of GoDaddy, and for once it’s an affiliate that I’ve made money with.

So now I don’t need to find someone else who markets links, because I don’t work with anyone who decides I’m not good enough for me. I did that with Brookstone and have never gone into their store. I thought I was going to have to push domains through 1&1 instead, since that’s where I host my site. Nope, guess I’m good.

I’m glad it’s worked out for once in my favor. Now, let’s buy GoDaddy!

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Tribute To The Horne

Lena Horne passed away Sunday night at age 92. That was one woman that most of us thought would never age at all. Even in her early 70’s she was stunning, and you wouldn’t have believe she was a day over 35 or 40.

That woman could sing. I don’t know anyone who ever heard Lena Horne who didn’t think she could sing. She was super good looking also; absolutely fabulous woman. Could she act? Well, that’s questionable, but she never really got a chance to do it.

She was classy and had pride. She refused to allow anyone to identify her as anything other than being black, and that was a big deal back in the day. Many early black baseball players used to be identified as Latino so they wouldn’t have to deal with as much racism as if they were straight up black. Lena Horne wasn’t having it, so it ended up limiting the movies she was in. Early civil rights activism killed many a career; she didn’t care, and that was another diamond in her favor.

This is a mini-tribute to the “Horne”, as she was sometimes known. I hope you enjoy these videos, which I also hope showcases just how talented she was.


Stormy Weather


You’d Better Love Me


If You Believe

The Incomparable Lena Horne

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The Myth Of Link Building

Almost every SEO article you read talks about the importance of link building. They say that you have to create organic ways of getting people to link to you to build your prominence.


Chain Link

They say if you can get one way links that you’ll be in a much better position than trading links. Even Google said that they base their rankings, invalid as they are, on the number of people who link to you without your linking back to them.

What’s happened because of all this talk? I keep getting people writing me and wanting to link to many of my websites, including my business websites. They look at the PR (page rank) on those sites, which is pretty good, and think that by offering me the “opportunity” to trade links with them that it will work out great for me. They may even look at the Alexa rank, which is almost always better than theirs, even if they have high PR (that’s one reason why I question PR) and think they can snow me.

There are many myths that are related to link building. Many of the ideas people come up with don’t work. Some things people believe about link building aren’t true either. Let’s look at some of these things.

1. Link building will automatically boost your site’s prominence. That’s not quite true, although it is partially true. There’s this thing called relationship link building. That means if you link to a page on pink elephants and your blog or website is about quantum physics, you’re not going to get much bounce from that. Whereas if you link to a page that’s related to yours, you’ll get some benefit out of it.

Actually, sometimes linking to a site that doesn’t have much to do with your topic, but helps highlight something you want to be known for, is beneficial to you. For instance, on my business site, I tell people what I do, which works pretty well. However, I also wanted people to know I was based in Syracuse. So I linked to Syracuse and highlighted it, and if one looks me up and adds Syracuse I come up pretty high on the list as well.

2. All related links to your page are going to boost your site’s prominence. You’d think this would be true, but in actuality it’s not always true. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten one of these requests from someone. Every once in awhile the subject on another site or blog seems like it might be a good fit. That is, until you take a good look at that site. Try to see if you can find the page they’re telling you they’re going to put you on from the main page. Most of the time you can’t because what they’ve done is thrown in a page that doesn’t link to any of their other pages, but is on their site. You don’t get any benefit from that at all; that’s one of those one-way link tricks that benefits them, and it’s sneaky.

3. If I don’t get enough external links, I’m not going to have any good rankings at all. That’s not true, and I’ll give you the perfect example. I’ve mentioned it before, but who’s checked out W3C? That stands for the World Wide Web Consortium, and they’re the folks who pretty much create and monitor the standards for how the web is supposed to work, including coding. They have almost no external links at all; pretty much everything they do is internal.

They’re the masters at internal linking, and the best example for the rest of us. When it comes to page rank, their main page is 10/10. Their Alexa rank, as of when I wrote this, is 479. It’s in looking at that page that I knew that internal linking was the way to go, which is why I often link to my own content on this blog. A few people use a WordPress plugin to do it, but I’d rather do it myself. This way I can bring up some very old posts or newer posts, and hopefully it’ll be more relevant if I do it myself than if software does it. Maybe not, though; sometimes you just have to get a little silly.

Link building is a big deal, but not in the way you might think it is. I’d start off working through your internal linking first, because it’s the main thing you can control. If you still feel the need to do backlink building, at least do it intelligently and ethically.

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Facebook Says “Privacy? Pffbt!”

All the talk lately has been about Facebook, and with good reason. With just a few strokes and almost no real notification, Facebook has pretty much said none of us deserve privacy anymore.


Moments Of Privacy

Luckily, I was alerted to the first thing that they were going to do, which was releasing all of our information to their marketers. I even got a fix from one of my friends, which I posted as a comment, but now I’ll post here:

On the first one, go to your account. Under Privacy Settings for Applications, if you click there, you’ll see “Instant Personalization.” Unclick the box and you’re all set; supposedly.

At the time I thought that was that, but nope. The next thing I knew, I was on the site doing something else when this window pops up, telling me that I get to select which of my interests I want to link to some big pages that they were putting together. I didn’t think much about it, but selected two items and went about my business. It wasn’t until I read a post on a blog called Cre8pc Usability & Holistic SEO titled Facebook Removes Profile Choices (Kim must be big time; even Matt Cutts commented on this one lol) that I had to go back and see that indeed they had removed everything I had put onto that site 2 years ago that I said I liked except for the two I kept, one of which went to a fairly nonexistent page. That irked me so I went in and removed the other two, which wasn’t easy to figure out but I finally got it done.

At the same time they were doing that, they were creating community profiles for everyone to link to as well. I live in Liverpool NY, and they popped something up there for me, as well as where I went to college, the industries I listed on my business, where I went to school, etc. I only hooked up with one of those and canceled the rest, but to date at least they haven’t deleted any of my business information.

We might also end up having to watch out for some of our photos being used for purposes outside of our posting them just for our friends to see. That’s one of the rumors that’s going around, and based on everything else I’ve seen, I don’t doubt that could come. So, for those of you who have embarrassing images that you thought only your closest friends might ever see, you might want to think about whether you want to keep them on the site or not.

To say I’m disgruntled would be to minimize my feelings. To say I’m at the point that Dan of Rocket.ly is at, which he expressed in his post titled Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook is would be overstating things a bit. At this point I still get more benefit out of Facebook than how much they’re irritating me, but it’s getting close to a point where it’ll be Sydney or the Bush (anyone who’s a long time Peanuts reader will understand that quote). The idea that we were all lured into something just to build up numbers so they could spring all of this on us bothers me, especially if it was always the plan. Facebook has almost turned into Google, since neither one believes that anyone should have any privacy whatsoever (I wonder if Sergey or or Larry will share their bank account numbers with me for a few days ), only Facebook got us to give it up voluntarily.

Although I’ve had some interesting conversations with my buddy Blog Bloke over his post Privacy and Security in a Social Media World, I have to admit that he’s got it right on many aspects of what’s going on now. Not that I ever thought he was totally wrong; after all, Google has shown that it has the power to segregate whomever they decide they don’t like for whatever reason they don’t like (such as taking away my page rank), which destroys the aura of links and activity being the only determinant as to how well a person’s website is doing on the internet. It’s really just more of a warning to us all that Pandora’s Box is open, and none of that stuff is ever going back in.

For his part in this, Zuckerberg had this to say at f8: “It really has no privacy implications. I think this means people will be sharing less information when they don’t need to around the Web.” As Dr. Phil would say, “did someone write the word ‘stupid’ on my forehead?”

Decide now if you want to be online or not; it may be the only way you keep even a modicum of privacy in your life, because trust me, there’s a lot of information on almost everyone online already, whether you did anything or not.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a shot at protecting your information, check out the video below; if you’d rather read, follow this link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.

By the way, remember that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!