Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How To Spot an NSA Troll

Leaked NSA documents verify that there are government trolls among us. 

Luckily for citizens, bloated bureaucracies tend to be loaded with inept fools, so these trolls are easy to spot and discourage with blogocombat techniques I have perfected. 

Just being aware of their methods can help you greatly.

Here are 17 of the typical tactics of government trolls:

(1) Attacks your opinion by calling it "conspiracy theory."

(2) Tells you to put your tin foil hat away.

(3) Viciously combats your remarks and will not relent. They often post comments like "You're just stupid" or "F*** off."

(4) Uses filthy language, wild accusations, and personal abuse to intimidate and silence people.

(5) Uses bullying and deceit to discredit, disrupt, delay, deter, dissuade, deny, disinform, and deflect the facts.

(6) Has a bogus looking profile with few updates on it.

(7) Makes outrageous claims, for example -- that an airstrike killed a terrorist, but if the person was blown to smithereens by a missile, how can you prove it?

(8) Maniacally defends all government actions and policies.

(9) Claims that only mainstream media is credible.

(10) Constantly complains that social media is too harsh, opinionated, free, unvetted, biased, sexist, or irresponsible to be taken seriously.

(11) Calls any blogger who questions official policy or intentions "paranoid" or "fear mongering."

(12) Pretends to know you personally and has lots of intimate details to reveal.

(13) Deliberately misinterprets what you said, tries to put words in your mouth that you did not say or imply.

(14) Demands that you provide links to "reputable sources" and when you do, they disparage the source and mock you for referencing them.

(15) Misrepresents your intentions and claims that you have some "political agenda" or an "ax to grind."

(16) Claims you "watch too much Faux News" or "pay too much attention to liberal media" or "are anti science" or "have been brainwashed by secularism" when they can't win a debate with facts.

(17) Quick to play the "who are you to judge?" or "everybody makes mistakes" card when you dare to exercise scrutiny or critique.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Normal People Are Not Charming or Charismatic

"Normal people are not charismatic," I heard a forensic psychiatrist say yesterday. He was referring to how the escaped convicts exploited the prison tailor lady who helped them escape.

Prisoners are constantly studying the guards and penitentiary employees with microscopic precision, looking for loopholes in their tough exteriors, to find a leverage point.

Decent, good-hearted folks don't try to overpower others with a dazzling personality. They use persuasion, logic, and facts.

Normal people don't use charm to get their way.

This tactic is the province of psychopaths.

You know -- dating site posers, serial killers, predators, abusive pastors, politicians.

There are some genuinely super nice people with magnetic personalities you just love being around. But they tend to be quiet, reserved, gentle, not boastful or overly-animated.

If you catch yourself thinking, "I really like this person who is talking right now (or who I am with right now)" -- you probably better put your thinking cap back on and stiffen your defenses.

Con artists, psychics, salesmen, and presidummy candidates are extremely clever at reading you, spotting your vulnerabilities, and manipulating your emotions.

I Googled "forensic psychiatry charismatic people" and found some substantiation. The topic was online dating, bullies at school, etc.


I’d also be suspicious of anyone who seems charming or charismatic. Before being alone with the person, ask to meet a family member or friend.

The first time you catch someone in a lie, see a frightening temper flare, or feel pressured to do something you think is wrong, end the relationship.

Neither criminal nor civil law provides tools for protecting anyone from psychopaths until after a felony has been committed.

The police, prosecutors, and criminal courts are made up of mostly hard-working and dedicated people trying to do the right thing, but they have no duty to protect people from future harm.



In other words, you're pretty much on your own on this one.

They say that once you've been abused, exploited, or harmed by someone "charming," you'll be a lot more alert and sensitive to the ploys and schemes of these sociopathic freaks.

Stay safe. Be skeptical.

Don't give anyone "the benefit of the doubt."

Give everyone scrutiny and trust your gut feelings.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hardcore Bloggers Don't Quit Due to Haters

Christianity Today has an article "Why Bloggers Are Calling It Quits", about how "Even some of the Internet's most popular writers have decided to step away from the pressures and haters of the web."

That sentence jolted me when I read it. I've always advocated hard core, tough-minded, troll-resistant, audience empowering, passionate blogging.

Listen to me, and listen good.

Blogs = the first time in human history that the average person could have a voice on same playing field as big corporations, governments, and religious institutions.

Blogs are democracy in motion, baby -- and sometimes the waters are not smooth sailing.

But it's easy to make a hater look ignorant and immature, expose their true intentions, and turn the entire social community against him.

It's easy to intimidate a troll and make them so confused and angry, they declare in exasperation, "I'm done with this thread!!!" I love to see flamers exit a discussion thread with the lurkers and admin laughing at them.

Quit because of haters? That is so uneducated. Just moderate comments, delete abusive remarks, block trolls, and keep riling up the opposition.

Keep it civil and rational, but let it be as hot as it wants to be.

Online debate is good exercise in logic and a nice workout for the brain. Bloggers who quit due to trolls, griefers, or just too much contrary opinion to deal with -- they seem weak and childish to me.

However, I do sympathize with these ex-bloggers who want to go back to the actual world, you know, the original arena of natural reality. Nowadays, "outdoors" just means where you have to go for a quick cigarette or to let the dog do his business.

Andrew Sullivan says he wants to go back to reading books, maybe write a book.

I ask them all -- why did you abandon all those things when you started blogging?

I blog, read books, write books, keep paper journals, do gardening, take hikes, engage in contemplation outside. Why can't you do all this and still blog?

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Stop Saying Kill the Competition

"Kill" the Competition? Is homicide the best mindset for business rivalry?

My friend Shel Israel is writing a new book. He and Robert Scoble's book "Naked Conversations" was going to be titled "Blog or Die," but I got them to abandon that title. 

Now Shel  is asking for input on the title of his new book. This brings up some issues about how a company thinks about the competition.

Tentative title = "Lethal Generosity--Why Customer Kindness Kills Your Competitors."


"Lethal Generosity" at first glance seems to be saying "Generosity is Fatal, So Avoid It."

Business, at its ethical best, is not violent or warlike.

"Slay", "kill", "crush", "destroy" are all old fashioned business terms that sound too harsh and nasty nowadays. I don't think it's productive to think in terms of hostility and "murder" toward competitors.

You don't declare war on the competition. You declare war on the customer need, problem, or "pain".

Your company is not out to "kill" the competition, but to "kill" the problem so the customer is victorious and happy.

I'd prefer a less violent, more positive title like "Strategic Generosity -- How Pampering Customers Makes You Top of Mind Choice."


Do you see competitors as "enemies" that need to be "killed" or "destroyed"? 

I myself prefer to see companies attack the customer's problem and declare victory over that.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Vaspers SEO and Advanced Technology Show 2015

I have revived my Vaspers SEO and Advanced Technology Show on BlogTalkRadio. 


Here's a list of links to, and descriptions of, the currently available episodes.

"Company Slogans and Website Taglines"


Slogans should be creative, short, simple, and memorable.

It should make a legitimate claim your competitors cannot make, and imply or specify a desired benefit for customers.

Learn how to compose a corporate slogan for general marketing and online use, that will effectively differentiate your business from the competition and get more customers. A critique of slogans used by famous brands and local Peoria, IL businesses.

"Basic Introduction to SEO and Tips for Success"

Google-compliant search engine optimization (SEO) can give your website a huge competitive advantage.

But what exactly is SEO?

What specific aspects of my website does it fix for me? How does SEO help me rank higher and higher in search results for my top keywords? How can I accomodate structured data markup for semantic search, clickless search, voice search, mobile computing, and other new search realities and customer behaviors? How can I evaluate an SEO provider?

What is "black hat SEO"? Why are even big companies like Caterpillar Inc. making multiple errors in SEO? How can SEO increase online sales and phone calls to our office?

These and many other questions will be answered, quickly and completely, so you'll know what SEO is and how it drives more qualified customer traffic to your website.

SPECIAL: A recitation of my list of 52 SEO Audit items, with brief explanations.

"Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make"


"Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make" -- my latest Vaspers SEO and Advanced Technology Show podcast episode on BlogTalkRadio. (26:20) I explain 10 or 12 things that are killing small businesses, cancers that are eating them from the inside out.

Text Summary:

(1) Not receptive to critique about what's making them fail.

(2) Not paying attention to market leaders, successful competitors and innovative colleagues.

(3) Not adequately assessing customer needs, complaints, problems, desires.

(4) Overspending on TV commercials.

(5) No competitive differentiation with compelling slogan.

(6) Impersonal, aloof, cold, generic.

(7) We-oriented website, instead of customer-centric.

(8) Poor customer service.

(9) Hiring family members -- and retaining them due to blood ties, not performance.

(10) Fantasy profits based on sloppy bookkeeping.

(11) Under-investing and improperly using social media marketing.

(12) Horrible SEO values resulting in poor showing in search results.

"Street Photography and Website Images"


How engaging in street photography can help you take more effective photos for websites and social media marketing. 

By boldly going forth to photodocument your environment, or special places and events, you gain experience with your camera and develop an eye for interesting angles, perspectives, timing, and composition of images.

Learn how to bring a street photography aesthetic to the creation of pictures for use on your website.

"SEO and Social Media as Last Ditch Marketing"


How some companies wait until things are really bad before seeking SEO and social media marketing services. Thus, we consultants must be savvy about turnaround specialists and what they say causes small businesses to fail.

By knowing the raw realities of troubled businesses, you can design your SEO and social media marketing programs to support solutions that go deep into the heart of the problem.

Here are techniques for guiding clients from the brink of doom, back to profitability and increased brand loyalty.

"20 Common Mistakes in Website Design"


All these years since the web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee...and the same mistakes keep being made. Learn how to avoid ruining your website. Discover the most prevalent web design errors and how to correct them.

"Secrets of Web Content Development"


Tips on creating content for your website and social media platforms.

That's right. I said creating. Not "finding". Not "scraping". Not "copying and pasting".

It''s not rocket science, but many businesses seem clueless about how to generate content and why you need text, video, audio, and image content.

"Worst Mistake You Can Make in Web Design"


The "We-oriented" website is probably the most horrible type of corporate website.

Company-centric websites are full of news, events, and fluff, but fail to explain how any of it benefits the customer. Often there is no guidance on selecting the best product for a specific customer situation.

You've seen websites that were so busy strutting around, bragging about their company that you couldn't figure out which of their products was best suited to your situation.

You've see websites that were cold, aloof, dismal, with no photos of people smiling as they used a product to solve a problem, enhance a lifestyle, or satisfy a need.

Here's why you should not focus on your company or even your products, but on customer needs.

Make your website more prductive in achieving business goals. Communicate how your products solve customer problems -- and how your company is differentiated from competitors.

SHOW NOTE: A web designer calls in to my show and adds some great remarks about incorporating a blog into the website, using Facebook, obtaining web content, and related issues.

"Internet Trolls and How To Defeat Them"


Learn about various types of internet trolls and how they disrupt conversations.

Discover some very effective ways to smash them and make them have a nervous breakdown and voluntarily leave the debate thread.

"Ken Zurski on Radio Technology and Steamboat Disasters"


Ken Zurski is Operations Manager, Traffic One Traffic Center, JMP Radio Group (Peoria, IL).

Ken and I will discuss the evolving role of technology in metropolitan traffic reporting and radio broadcasting. He recently got some new equipment and his command center looks pretty cool.

Ken is the author of The Wreck of the Columbia, a book about the Titanic disaster event of the Peoria and Pekin IL area, when, in 1918, the steamboat Columbia sank in the Illinois river. (UPDATE: He has a newer book out now, called "Peoria Stories.")

The technology of the old steamboats and why so many of them caught fire and sank is make a fascinating and tragic topic.

"How To Use Social Media for Competitive Superiority"


Learn how to leverage the core values of social media: caring and sharing.

People join social networks to socialize, not to be bombarded with sales hype and press releases.

Let genuine altruism be your focus in social media, and you'll gain a strong competitive advantage.

This customer-centric strategy requires you to share your expertise, post links to authoritative information, and provide how to tips that demonstrate your professional insight.

Most companies don't know this secret to social media success. They see social networks as just another category of platforms to broadcast a one-way message to passive audiences.

Interact, be a warm and interesting person, and your social media marketing will positiion your company as the top of mind choice.

"Interview with Matthew David on HTML5"


Interview with Matthew David, author of "HTML5: Designing Rich Internet Applications" book.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unproductive Websites are a Waste of Money

You spent from $5,000 to $50,000 on a website. A simple marketing site or a complex, data base driven, multi-functional ecommerce site. Did you get ripped off?

If your website is not generating sales revenue, what good is it? Is just a floating digital billboard?

Website productivity is something that can be tracked via Google Analytics conversion goal reports. 

You set up the categories of actions you want website visitors to take, then see how many are engaged in the desired behaviors: 

* calling the office 

* setting up an appointment 

* ordering a product 

* submitting a contact form 

* signing up for a newsletter

* watching a tutorial or product demo video

* sending you an email

* completing a transaction

* downloading a PDF form

* voting in an online poll

or whatever you want people to do at your website.

There are SEO and web usability techniques to compel customers to take the actions you desire them to take. Then you can assess the results over a period of time, and plan ways to enhance the website to perform more effectively.

Why let a bad investment sit there, rotting away on the internet?

Implement some genuine, deep-insight SEO and watch your website be the hero you originally hoped it would be.

For more information, contact me at:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make

"Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make" -- my latest Vaspers SEO & Advanced Technology Show podcast episode on BlogTalkRadio. (26:20) I explain 10 or 12 things that are killing small businesses, cancers that are eating them from the inside out.

Textual Summary:

(1) Not receptive to critique about what's making them fail.

(2) Not paying attention to market leaders, successful competitors and innovative colleagues.

(3) Not adequately assessing customer needs, complaints, problems, desires.

(4) Overspending on TV commercials.

(5) No competitive differentiation with compelling slogan.

(6) Impersonal, aloof, cold, generic.

(7) We-oriented website, instead of customer-centric.

(8) Poor customer service.

(9) Hiring family members -- and retaining them due to blood ties, not performance.

(10) Fantasy profits based on sloppy bookkeeping.

(11) Under-investing and improperly using social media marketing.

(12) Horrible SEO values resulting in poor showing in search results.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Unproductive Websites Need SEO

A website may be all dressed up, but going nowhere.

It's increasingly how customers find your business and buy products.

If your website is not performing well, you've got yourself a major business problem. It needs to be fixed immediately, before your competitors do everything right and bury you in search results.

An unproductive website is not a laughing manner.

Is your website generating any sales? Does it have a unique, exclusive phone number, so you can track calls coming from your website? Is anybody filling out the contact form and sending it to you? Are you following up on them?

Does your website portray your business in a totally professional, aesthetically pleasing and appropriate manner? Be honest. How does your website compare visually with the leading giants in your field?

Is your website a hardworking sales tool -- or a dud?

Your website should have tracking installed that reports on most popular pages on your site, completed online sales, phone calls to set office appointments, contact form submissions, video views, email newsletter subscriptions, and other conversion goals.

You don't have to guess if your website is a good investment, delivering an acceptable ROI (return on investment).

You can know for sure what's going on and what may need to be fixed.

The 52 parameters of SEO, once implement correctly, will drive more qualified customer traffic to your website due to better communication with Google's search spider -- and cause visitors to spend more money, because calls to action, product profiles, and form fill-outs are enhanced.