Archive for January, 2010

Unrequested Domain Registration Transfers

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

By Jan Carroza and Sharon Hill

A small business we consult with from time to time forwarded these emails somewhat in a panic.  This business did not authorize any such transfer and the domain was not up for renewal for several months.  Here is the text of the email:

Thank you for registering/renewing the following domains with the NAME OF COMPANY.

We take pride in offering you superior customer service and competitive pricing.


Order Information

******************************************************* renewal/transfering

The order number for is 123456.


Payment Information


Your credit card has been billed for $30.00


Several days later, they received a second email which stated:

The transfer and renewal of your domain name, is not yet complete at this time.


1) The Domain name is currently in a “REGISTRAR-LOCK” status with your current registrar.

2) We require that you provide us with an EPP Key/Authorization Code from your current registrar

In order to complete the transfer and renewal, the “REGISTRAR-LOCK” status needs to be removed and an EPP Key/Authorization code needs to be obtained. Please see below for instructions on achieving this.

This email goes to explain, in detail, the steps to unlock their domain and then transfer their domain to this company.

After several hours of running this down, this company had been reported before and the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint and a federal district court which resulted in a Stipulated Final Judgment and  Order for Permanent Injunction and Consumer Redress at the end of 2003.  The script may have changed somewhat and therefore need to be re-addressed.

What should you do if you receive an email from a company that is not your domain registrar  or web hosting company regarding your domain?   Do not act upon it blindly.  Just as with any online transaction, you should initiate the process.  In other words, do not click on a link provided in the email.  Go to the site directly through the address bar and make sure all is well.  Call or email your registrar and/or web hosting company and check your credit card for any unauthorized charges.

To report spam and phishing to the Federal Trade Commission go to: and scroll down to:

About Spam & Phishing Email:

    Forward unsolicited commercial email (spam), including phishing messages, directly to the FTC at These messages will be stored in a database law enforcement agencies use in their investigations.

If you have any questions, contact us.  We will be glad to help.


Blog Vs. Newsletter

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

By Jan Carroza

This is a popular topic in discussions with clients lately and I’ve noticed it around the Internet: talk about blogs versus newsletters. It’s like Facebook Fan Pages versus LinkedIn Company profiles. You do both. Take advantage of multiple ways to reach your audience the way they want to interact.

In traditional advertising this is the reach and frequency discussion. We’re using multiple vehicles with different audience size and makeup each with multiple messages getting to our prospects where they choose to see us.

So What are the Appropriate Tones for Blogs and Newsletters?

To me the newsletter is something I expect to get on a regular basis, maybe once a week. I expect a more corporate tone with a more structured presentation. I’ll use Darren Rowse as an example. He rewards his loyal newsletter recipients with news, opportunities and both early and discounted previews of services and products that educate and offer opportunities to share and learn with others. We get summaries and features before everyone – essentially special treatment. I’ve been getting these for 6 months. I expect a lot of his newsletter audience are beyond the beginner stage. So the content is targeted beyond beginner.

Voices of Your Blog

Darren’s blog on the other hand tells me that a lot of this audience is beginning bloggers (dead giveaway: The Tag Cloud.) He features his weekly video post, a lively way to give and get the personal touch. To me, the blog is more personal. Many companies, such as Mashable, allow a variety of bloggers who are shown as the authors of a given blog post. Some companies mix it up. They’ll use The (company) Team to genericize the voice of a blog post in addition to authored ones.

Determine Your Audience and Your Content Will Follow

Back to why folks come to Darren’s blog. They are looking to learn. Hence the attention for the nuggets every newbie would gravitate to. So we see a big service that the blog provides. So sit back and divine what you can share that’s of value. What you blog about will constantly be changing. But your blog becomes a library of all your blog posts in categories that can be searched on by your readers. Over time you can see what they gravitate to and continue to morph your message.

Offer Delivery Options

I get to choose how I receive my newsletter or blog. I can have it come into a Reader on a feed or as an email. When Denise Wakeman did a poll, she discovered that folks were 50/50 feeder to email. We’re choosy about our choices. She’s already added mobile as a choice so head’s up on the trend!

So don’t choose one over the other. Do both! But plan the focus, tone, content to be unique and complementary and delivery to be flexible.


House Hunting Reaches New Level iPhone Real Estate Listings

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

By Sharon Hill

Way back in the day: You are out and about in the neighborhood you are interested in moving and looking for real estate signs. Or, you are in a realtor’s office looking through printed books of listings.

Back in the day: You are out and about in the neighborhood you are interested in moving and looking for real estate signs. Or, you are in the realtors office looking through the text only database of homes.

More recently: You are out and about in the neighborhood you are interested in moving and looking for real estate signs.  Or, you are online yourself searching for properties and making a written list (or cut and paste list) of homes you would like to see and email your realtor.

Right now: You are out and about in the neighborhood you are interested in moving AND you have the iPhone app from which knows you are in the neighborhood and immediately provides you active listings with descriptions and pictures.

You can also disallow Use Your Current Location and type in city, state and/or zip to look anywhere you want and plan out your house hunting trip in advance.

Email the listing to your realtor or a friend. You can also post listings to Twitter or Facebook.

This app is amazingly simple to use and will make finding that right house and sharing your excitement with others so much easier.


New Excuses – The Kindle Ate My Homework! Or Apple’s new e-reader: Kindle Killer?

Friday, January 15th, 2010

By Jan Carroza

The e-reader excitement comes with real issues about who owns what. When you buy a book, you can do anything you like with it. I can give it to a friend who gives it to another friend and so on. I can buy a textbook and resell it when the course is over.

With new technology come new issues. When I buy a Kindle book from Amazon, I might like to loan it to a friend. Nook, Barnes and Noble’s e-reader, has a book lending feature called LendMe, which allows you to lend to a friend with a Nook or BN’s e-reader software for 14 days. This is better than nothing, but how many friends return books in 14 days? Next, licensing rights come into play. Some publishers don’t allow rights to “loan” their content at all. You see how messy this gets.

Amazon deleted an Orwell book after a copyright dispute from Kindle owners. One of the nice features of the Kindle is that it allows notes, highlighting and annotations. And so in the case of Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from Detroit, his file with his book and notes vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back; they stole my work,” he said. “It illustrates how few rights you have when you buy an e-book from Amazon,” said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce. “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”

So now you get a Nook, a Kindle, a whatever. Then the next greatest version of e-reader comes out. Let’s say you want to get Apple’s. Now what about all those books you bought? Ah, the plot thickens. You don’t lose your CD or DVD collection every time you get a new player.

New technology is very exciting and there is an eager marketing for these new devices. Fox Business News on Dec. 29 suggested that Apple might sweep the competition away with an e-reader that is a multimedia tablet. You can watch movies, listen to music, read, and send emails. Calling it the Kindle Killer, FBN says Apple is seeking exclusive rights to content. Imagine that the next big book would come out first on their e-reader (Apple has been reserving several domains, like iSlate).

The devils in the details as to how these issues play out. Stay tuned.

Sources for this blog post include:,,,,


Top 10 Technologies (Digital and Otherwise) in the last 10 years

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

By Sharon Hill

10. Flash drives – Made data truly portable. The amount of storage and the speed has only improved since inception.

9. Netflix – An example of database technology readily available to just about everyone, made simple using one of the oldest communication methods, the United States Postal Service.

8. All things Satellite – Satellite Radio with the launching of XM and Sirius, GPS and Google Earth.

7. Text messaging - So much faster and easier than instant messaging and of course totally mobile. Including a picture with the text message enhances the experience many times over.

6. Digital Video Recorders and TiVo – You are in control – enough said.

5. WI-FI – This concept of connecting multiple computers to a router station was brilliant. Taking this idea to cafes, stadiums and cities it truly worthy of a #5 placement on this list.

4. iPod – Revolutionized music and how, when and where we listen. iTunes made it easy to download your favorite tunes and create your own playlists.

3. Social Networking / Social Media – Surprised it is not #1? We are still exploring this new and exciting communication medium. We will be writing about social media into the next 10 years. If you think that social media is being overstated, just make one personal or professional connection and you will feel differently.

2. Digital Photography – Taking photo after photo to the get the perfect picture without film processing fees is great. Even more, have you seen the app where you can take a picture of the check to deposit it in your bank account, truly amazing. See iPhone

1. Smart Phones – Describing the iPhone is easy. iPhone is a computer with phone privileges. There was some concern that this technology might actually increase the amount of time people worked. No so, we just work smarter. iPhones allow users to quickly and efficiently handle emails, get answers to questions, check and make appointments, deposit checks and even record memos for later listening.

This list is not exhaustive and in no way is meant to exclude any other great technology innovations.  These are my personal favorites.  What are yours?


The Unexpected Benefits to Social Media

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

By Sharon Hill

Most of think of social media as incoming. Incoming fans, InMails, followers and readers of blogs. We should also be using social media for reaching out. Reaching out for information, introductions and contacts.

Two recent examples:

Example 1:

I needed to contact a new employee of a current client. Way back in the day, I would pick up the phone and fumble around trying to find some common ground on which to build a warmer relationship. More recently back in the day, I would check the website hoping there might be some information on the new contact. Prior to social media, I would try the website and Googling the contact. Now I can do all of that and find their social media sites. I found that my new contact had a twitter site and we shared a common interest – sports. Even better, a recent game featured our two teams pitted against each other. Great groundbreaking conversation topics and an even better (as in warm), sign off with good luck (not really) to each other’s team next week.

Example 2:

Recently our group thought of a great prospect for one of our clients. Now how to approach that client without making a cold call or sending an out-of-blue letter or email. LinkedIn is a wonderful source to find someone who knows the person who you would like to meet. One of our group members had 6+ Level 2 connections. Level 2 means:


Find out how well the person knows the prospect and ask the person you know to provide you with some insight on that prospect. If it seems appropriate and the person you know is comfortable with it, ask for an introduction or at a minimum if you can use their name. If this person is not that well connected or uncomfortable in either making an introduction or using their name, move onto the next person on your list.

Social media sites provide a wealth of information and opportunities to make better and faster connections. Don’t forget to reciprocate and make connections for others.