All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Bloggers Can’t Hide Behind Fake Names Anymore And Defame Others

I’m a privacy guy, believe it or not. I believe drug testing for most jobs is a violation of privacy. I’m against racial profiling (I would be). I’m against someone being allowed to see your entire credit report without your permission. I’m on the Do Not Call registry. I have a fake name in the phone book. In other words, I protect myself where I want to protect myself.

I also believe in being open about who I am most of the time. Every blog I’m on, I’m Mitch, although I was on one of those “diary” blogs and had a different name back then. I had wanted a place where I could talk about things that irked me in the world without having it come back to my business blog.

What I never did, though, was take that anonymity, find one person, and start slandering them, or saying rude things just because I was hidden behind a fake name. That’s one of the problems I’ve always had with online conversations. Some people hide behind a fake name and say things they never would in person. That’s just not right, and I don’t like it one bit. I’ve always wished I could get back at those people in some way, while being glad that none of that stuff was ever aimed at me.

This week, some woman in New York finally got hers. After slandering this model, Liskula Cohen, Cohen got a lawyer and sued Google to get the name of the person on whose blog these things were being written. And a New York state supreme court judge granted her that, so Google had to give it up. Well, they had to give up the email address, since names can always be faked, and this model knew who this woman was, and called her up. She’s still thinking about suing, but said it could possibly be avoided if the woman issued a public apology.

Man, nothing makes me more happy than this. Our local newspaper allows people to comment on news stories online, and there’s never anything said that brings any real discussion to the conversation. Are people really so bored and hate their lives so much that they can’t take the time to put together a constructive thought, instead putting everything down with the most hateful thing they can come up with (at least they’re not allowed to use bad language on the site)?

Well folks, be put on notice. Unless your site is in another country, Google, because they own Blogger (which I don’t like), will have to give up the info, and at that point your behind could be cooked. I’m thinking a nice little lawsuit would shake things up. The woman, still unidentified but who has a mouthpiece lawyer giving his opinion, said the things she said might have been disgusting, but they’re protected under free speech. No, they’re not; if you make stuff up to hurt someone intentionally, that’s slander, and you’re going to lose in every court in the country.

Fairness has come to the internet; let’s see where the chips will start to fall.


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My Big Poker Tournament

If you’re reading this relatively early on Thursday, I’m not home. I’m at a big poker tournament, taking my shot at what should at least be a $50,000 first prize. Let me tell you the story.

Back in early July, I decided to take a Friday off and head to my favorite casino, Turning Stone Casino in Oneida, NY. Okay, it’s also the closest, but I just love going there when I have some extra dollars.

I’m not a bad poker player. Some of you may remember when I wrote about my time in Reno and came back from the casino on my first day up $650. I’ve often come home up $300 or so. I’ve also often come home without any of the money I started with. But most of the time, I’ll break even, or pretty close either side.

On this particular day, I was having a horrible go of it. Nothing was going right on that day. If I’d listened to my inner mind, I’d have left an hour into being there and come back home. But reasoning just doesn’t go that route, and it’s a good thing it didn’t.

I was just sitting at the table, thinking about a hand, when they announced that it was time for “the drawing.” Throughout the poker room, people started yelling out their table and seat number. Not wanting to miss out, I started yelling “Table 23, Seat 5.” Lo and behold, I won! Everyone cheered, and I smiled and felt pretty good about something finally going my way.

Of course, I waited a beat, then asked, kind of sheepishly, just what it was I won, because I hadn’t been paying attention. The dealer told me I’d won an entry into the $750 regional tournament on August 20th. Sweet! Now, the downside is, because I won, I’ll have to pay taxes on that amount. The upside is, if I can make it through the first day, I’ll automatically have qualified for the money, whatever it turns out to be, but the minimum I can come home with is $1,200.

How do I know that if I make it through the first day I’ll make money? What they do is determine how many people are in the tournament first. Then they’ll determine how many places they’re going to pay out. What I’ve been told is that, once they have that number, they’ll play down to that number, and once they reach it then they’ll stop the tournament for the day and start it back up again the next day.

Based on how tournaments usually go, at least 25% of the folks will be gone within the first hour. Many people are internet players, and they’ll take chances that may work while sitting at a table playing for money, but some of them will crash and burn because of those tactics. Online, it’s not about reading people, but about playing cards.

After that, things slow down drastically. I expect that the shortest period of time this will take will probably be 6 or 7 hours. We get a break every 2 hours, which is a good thing. The thing about poker is that if you’re patient, you can last a long time. However, you will have to win some hands here and there, because in tournaments, blinds go up every so often, which will take your money whether you play hands or not.

I say right now that I’m going into this tournament making sure I win. I’m also saying that I’m going into this tournament “knowing” that I’m going to make it through the first day. That’s my first goal; you have to be in it to win it. And knowing that I’ve made the money will make the second day much easier mentally.

So, wish me luck. However, just because you see a post on Friday doesn’t mean I lost and came home, as I’ll have another post ready to go for Friday, just in case I decide to stay there overnight. I’ll let you know what happens.

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Learning More Lessons About Writing

As most of you know, I’ve been talking more lately about writing for others. Indeed, I have been making money writing articles, and I have some blogging clients also.

The thing is, there are two problems with my model. One, I’m not generating the kind of money I thought I’d be generating; two, some of the things I’ve been asked to write about have been, well, kind of impossible for me to write on.

That’s hard to admit to because when I first announced I would do writing services, I assumed there wouldn’t be a topic I couldn’t write on. What I hadn’t thought about was if there’s no information to research on, then I’m stuck. And trust me, not everything is on the internet, it would seem.

So, this weekend, I went to the Digital Point forum to ask a general question about how much research people do on topics that seem impossible to write on, especially when asked about specific keywords and the like. I got some responses, and they seemed, well, a little harsh. Still, I decided to write two of the people private messages to explain to them what I was talking about and what I was getting paid.

Both of them enlightened me. They both said that I’m basically giving my writing away; I was stunned. I did know I was underpaid, but I hadn’t realized by how much I’ve been underpaid. If I were getting paid the rates that I should, research time becomes affordable, and easier because people aren’t asking for stupid stuff.

It was something I needed to hear, and sometimes something we all need to hear. With my main business, or what up to now has been my main business, I knew how to price my services because I understood just how exclusive they were. With writing, I thought I had to compete with the low ball folks and scratch out my living by trying to write so many articles that my mind goes nuts. Nope; turns out that, based on what some of these folks have been doing, and are recommending to me, I could actually make a very good living writing as few as 10 articles a week.

Wow; that would be great! I could still write my blogs, still have blogging clients because I enjoy that, but I could drop all the low dollar writing gigs and concentrate on other stuff all around. Man, life would be sweet doing that.

I share this with y’all because most of us go along doing things that we think is the right way to do it, only to learn that someone else is doing it easier than we are, and succeeding. This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my affiliate marketing either; I have plans for doing more of that, as well as plans for adding at least two new blogs into my repertoire. It does mean, though, that I’m ready to embrace a new mind shift towards bigger and better things.

Anyone got a problem with that? 😀


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The Changing Face Of Spam

You know, I don’t understand spam at all, especially when it’s aimed at blogs. Well, I do, but I’ll get back to it.

Those of us with WordPress blogs, by this time, should all know about Akismet, which learns the patterns of spam and moves it into a spam filter. We can then take the time to look at it to see if there’s something good in there that we want to keep, or delete it, or allow Akismet to delete it as a later time.

These days, I’ve noticed that some spam has gotten smarter, and some has gotten longer. Back in March I wrote about spam getting sneakier, and that hasn’t changed at all. But it keeps getting smarter.

These days, I’m noticing three types of spam coming in. The easiest to spot are the one line items that have a link embedded in them. Sometimes the sentence makes absolutely no sense at all; those folks aren’t even trying.

The second thing I’m noticing is the very long spam messages. These are the types that also show up in email images, where there’s all this text that just makes no sense. But they also include lots of links, which Akismet easily picks up and sends to the spam filter. The problem with the long messages is if you’re going through the spam filter to see if there’s a legit message in there, which I do.

The third, though, is the good stuff. These are the messages that look so real that, I’ve noticed, most people totally miss it. They might notice it if they comment on a lot of blogs, and every once in awhile look at the comments on other blogs, but if they don’t, then they don’t have a chance. Earlier this evening I went ahead and approved a comment that almost looked like spam, only it used my name. Now, if someone has come up with something that actually reads names and puts out a lot of this spam, well, I just got had myself. But it won’t continue, because if one person does it and gets away with it, others will try, and then it’ll be easy to pick all of those out.

I know we all hate spam; how are you dealing with it these days?


Lots Of Blather On Twitter

I know what some of you are thinking; another post on Twitter!

Well, I can’t help it. Twitter is growing fast, and it keeps popping up in the news. Last week there was an attack on Twitter and Facebook aimed at one individual in particular, and I didn’t write about that. This one, though, needs some conversation.

Tweet tweet!
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There was a study done stating that over 40% of all Twitter statements are “pointless babble;” their words, not mine. What the study did was examine 2,000 tweets over a two week period for these categories: News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Conversational, Pass-Along Value, Pointless Babble. Babble won, shockingly, because I’d have thought spam would have been the big winner here.

What’s also weird to think about is how they were able to select only 2,000 tweets out of a two-week period when there are probably tens of thousands of tweets every minute of the day. No, they don’t tell us this, which, along with the number that were examined, makes the study kind of suspect. Yeah, I know that’s how science supposedly does stuff, but that doesn’t mean these particular numbers are all that valid.

Since I’m on Twitter a lot, and see way more than 2,000 tweets a day (man, I feel silly writing that, but so be it), is following more than 1,300 people, and has almost 2,000 people following me, let me give my opinion on the topics above.

The majority of Twitter messages are spam. Everyone is selling something, or so it seems. Many of them are selling ways of making money on Twitter, which includes getting more followers on Twitter. That’s the biggest message that keeps going by, how to get more followers on Twitter.

Next is self promotion, and I’m a part of that one. Many people with blogs have links to their most recent blog posts showing up on Twitter. Many people also advertise their businesses or services in some fashion. Some overdo it; I’m not one of those.

Conversational and Pass-Along on Twitter value are pretty equal. Whereas there are many messages that get multiple retweets, conversations have to take place first. Probably every 10th message gets retweeted at least 5 to 10 times; there’s your equality.

Twitter Babble comes in fifth, but it’s odd. This is that 94% of people who join Twitter, talk a little bit, can’t figure out what to do, then leave. By sheer numbers I could see how the poll would think these people would put out more posts, but the average number of posts for this 94% is only 10 posts, ever. So, the overall numbers don’t quite fit.

News is last, but with a caveat. When there’s something breaking, news is everywhere. Otherwise, it’s almost nonexistent. I tend to post a lot of news stories because, well, stuff is out there that I want to share, but not as many other people do it.

Percentages? My best guess would be:

* Spam, 30%;
* Self Promotion 25%;
* Conversational 15%;
* Pass-Along 15%;
* Babble 10%;
* News 5%.

Anyway, that’s how I see it; how are you seeing it?
 

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