October 31, 2006

Domain Registry of America Scam?

Important Home Business Today Consumer Alert:

Domain Name Scam

Here's a company you'll definitely want to watch out for...

It's called Domain Registry of America (DROA) and they send letters in the mail that "appear" to be real invoices for domain name renewals. But please don't fall for this scheme.

If you own a domain name, don't let DROA trick you into transferring it to them - you'll end up being quite ripped off on the renewal fee.

For example, they state on their website that "the industry standard price" for the registration of a domain name is, "$70.00 for a two year registration."

That's a grossly exaggerated and inaccurate figure. There are many better deals out there, my friends. One can easily buy a domain name for $7 or $8 bucks per year from several respectable domain registrars.

Unfortunately, and for several years now, countless people have fallen victim to the domain name renewal scam of Domain Registry of America (DROA). And over the course of time, I've discovered that even some of my own business associates have been preyed upon as well.

So what's the good news?

Well, thanks to the Federal Trade Commission, you definitely have a way to fight back - and more importantly, a way in which to get your money back!

How Does the Scam Work?

Domain Registry of America (droa.com) mails you a letter requesting that you renew your domain name (before it expires) by returning a payment (by check or by credit card) for the desired renewal term.

(NOTE: Never pay attention to snail mail regarding domain renewal notices. ALL renewals are automatically handled through your online domain account.)

The letter is meant to appear as an official renewal notice - however, it is not. It is actually a solicitation to register your domain name with DROA instead, and leave your current and trusted registrar.

When the transfer away from your current registrar occurs, your nameservers may also be changed. This means that your website may not be live on the Internet - of course DROA fails to inform you of this.

One of the other things Domain Registration of America (DROA) "conveniently" fails to tell you is that if you fall for their scam, and then realize afterward that you've fallen for it, and try to stop the transfer, that you'll still owe them $4.50. AND, you'll also owe them $4.50 IF the transfer fails (through no fault of your own), whether because of a registrar lock, or due to their own error!

By the way, DROA has also been accused of agreeing to credit consumers upon request, but NOT issuing those credits in a timely manner.

How Do I Fight Back?

If you receive one of these letters, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission - even if you've never made a payment to DROA. The notice will be reviewed and it will be judged to see if DROA is meeting the requirements of the FTC’s ruling.

How Do I Get My Money Back?

The Federal Trade Commission stipulated that, upon consumer request, DROA must refund any payment remitted to them, and compensate eligible consumers an additional $6.00 per domain name transfer to assist with fees incurred when transferring back to their original registrar.

Additional Redress

If you file a complaint with the FTC you may be entitled to ADDITIONAL redress if you experienced any loss of business or business expenses due to DROA’s scam.

To contact Domain Registry of America directly, call: (866) 434-0212 or Email: support@droa.com.

According to the ‘Truth In Lending Act’ (TILA) Domain Registry of America (DROA) MUST credit your credit card within seven (7) business days.

October 27, 2006

Overture's Keyword Selector Tool...

Overture's Keyword Selector Tool
A Valuable Tool To Have

If you're marketing online, then here's a great (free) tool you'll want to have in your e-tool belt at all times...

It's the Overture Keyword Selector Tool - and it'll let you know exactly "what" people are searching for in the search engines.

Having this kind of information at your fingertips is priceless for many reasons - but mainly because it can help you:

  • Get more visitors to your website
  • Get more visitors to your blog
  • Rank higher in the search engines
  • Target your market
  • Increase you ROI (Return on Investment)

It can also help you:

  • Streamline your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns
  • Increase your sales and conversion rates
  • Improve your ad's effectiveness
  • Spend less money on advertising
  • Improve your golf swing (OK, maybe not :P)

But no matter what you're marketing online, this tool can be very beneficial - especially if you're running Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns.

It'll give you an idea of which keywords to bid on by showing you which keywords are being searched for in the search engines. And just as importantly, it also tells you "how many times" they've been searched for.

All in all it's a very worthwhile tool to have in your marketing arsenal. That, and it's a free one - so be sure to add it to your favorites menu!

Common home business keyword misspelling: home buisness

October 24, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

Home Business Today Quote of the Week:

"Ah, people often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves."
Aesop (620 BC-560 BC)

October 21, 2006

Saturday Fun - Crazy Cats...

Here's a funny clip of some wild and crazy cats. I especially like when the cat chases off an actual black bear - just watch and you'll see. Good stuff.

Using the "Kitty" song by The Presidents of the United States of America is a nice touch as well.

Saturday Fun - Crazy Cats!

October 19, 2006

How To Easily Overcome "No Time, No Money" Excuses...

Tick Tock, Tick Tock
WATCH For These Excuses...

No Time, No Money

Here are some good tips from Network Marketing great, Tim Sales...

Is "No time" or "No money" the real objection?

The following question was sent to Tim Sales of Brilliant Exchange. It's a very important question that is asked all too often these days it seems...

A problem I face is: "How would you handle an objection based on not having enough money or time? These are the two I seem to get over and over. Thank you."

You are not the first to hear these objections!

Absolutely everyone who has ever done MLM has had to answer these objections from many prospects! These objections are what I call "common objections." Meaning you'll get them frequently. The reason they are common is because they are an "escape" for the prospect.

"Escape" from what?

Getting what they want. I know that seems odd - but it's the truth.

Let me explain this better.

By the way, this is fully explained with examples in my Professional Inviter 8 CD set. I highly recommend you study the section on handling objections. You are at such a disadvantage if you don't fully know this information.

Envision this... your prospect has something they want or need - more time, more money, a boat, a plane, new golf clubs, etc. Why is it a "want" or a "need" to them? Because they don't have it yet. Why don't they have it? Because they can't get it on their own - obviously so, otherwise they'd have it! They need someone to help them get it.

The Interesting Escape

This is where it gets very interesting... read closely!

The "escape" they've used before (to themselves and others) is "I don't have ______." The blank is filled in with some "phrase" that has always given them an escape because truthfully they don't believe they can GET WHAT THEY WANT.

Since this seems a little weird, let me give you an example (unrelated to MLM).

I was helping a company write a post card ad for their personal fitness training business. They were trying to get new clients. I asked several questions and finally came up with this ad:

"Sure you can get in shape on your own... but why haven't you? Admit you need help! Whether its knowledge or discipline, something is obviously missing otherwise you'd have the body you want. Let me help you."

You see, a person who "wants" to get in shape "pretends they don't need help." But they OBVIOUSLY DO! A person "getting" in shape is at the gym!

Now let me bring it back to MLM. A prospect says (in her mind as well as to you) that she wants a brand new car. Truthfully she doesn't really believe she can get it and she has proof she can't get it - because THERE'S NO NEW CAR IN THE DRIVE WAY!

This lack of belief is what causes prospects to state something like, "I don't have time."

When I was brand new in my MLM business, I brought a prospect to an opportunity meeting where the speaker was making $40,000 per month. After the meeting I asked Jim if he was ready to get started and he said, "I don't have the time." That was the strangest thing I'd ever heard. Why was it that he HAD time to make $1500 a month, but he DIDN'T HAVE the time to make $40,000 a month?

That mystery is what caused me to realize that "no time" or "no money" are not the real objections. Because if a person really believed they could make $40,000 a month they would ATTACK THE BUSINESS.

At a Live Event

I was recently at a live event when someone came up to talk to me after I spoke and told me why she couldn't make the business work. All her problems had to do with not being able to properly talk with her prospects. I gave her some verbal solutions and she replied, "Wow that makes a lot of sense." I then told her about Professional Inviter, which teaches network marketers exactly how to effectively talk with prospects. Guess what she said to me? "I don't have the money."

Now, does she really believe she can learn to do the business? No! For the cost of a shirt or two in her closet she could solve the reason she's failing in MLM. Instead, she would rather use her escape.

See how it works?

So, the way you REALLY handle the objection is follow the objection handling remedy in Professional Inviter:

  • 1. Listen completely through the question/objection
  • 2. Confirm understanding
  • 3. Make the question or objection valid to the prospect
  • 4. Handle or facilitate handling Questions and/or Objections.
  • 5. Complete the handling and return to the previous step of the Inviting formula

The absolute key is step 4.

Facilitate Handling Objections

You do everything you can to FACILITATE handling an objection; instead of handling it for them. The prospect is one who decided on their escape - only they can remove it.

If you want to hear exactly how this is done, listen to the live call I did with the lady named Tish (in Professional Inviter). She has the objection of Time and I handle the objection - then facilitate her getting over the objections by asking her key questions.

Thank you for sending me your question; I consider it quite a compliment!

Who Is Tim Sales?

Just in case you're not familiar with Tim Sales, here's a quick rundown - Tim Sales is well known for his MLMBrilliance website, which is home to the widely-celebrated Brilliant Compensation® video and the killer training system known as Professional Inviter.

Over the years Tim has gained the respect and admiration of thousands of marketers worldwide. In short, Tim Sales is one of the best out there - which is why I'm happy to share this very helpful home business advice from him.

Click Fraud - Google, Yahoo, Third Parties and You...

Click Fraud Level 1
Google, Yahoo, Third Parties and You

Some call it click fraud and some call it invalid click activity, but nobody questions that questionable clicks do happen. How they happen and to what degree might be up for debate, but the existence of industrial-level skullduggery is a widely known but poorly recognized secret of the search marketing industry.

This dirty little secret is made up of hundreds of millions of dollars, which are unevenly split between tens of thousands of participants. Some astute observers might suggest that this constitutes a conspiracy to commit fraud and is therefore illegal behavior. In that, they would be half right. Click fraud isn't actually illegal, at least not in a criminal sense. Not yet anyway.

Google knows about issues associated with click fraud, though it doesn't like using the term "fraud". The popularity of AdWords and ease of access to Google's lucrative AdSense distribution system gave online scammers the two essential elements, motive and opportunity. Google has been playing catch-up ever since.

Yahoo knows a lot about click fraud as well. Extremely credible allegations have been made about Yahoo's commercial connections with click fraud artists. Many in the shadier side of the search marketing industry are in on the click fraud secret as well, so much so that they publish how-to guides and self-congratulatory blogs. Frighteningly, spyware and malware makers are also in on the secret, often benefiting by becoming unwanted content-delivery partners.

Everyone's making a lot of money and, like the great insurance scams of yesteryear, the costs to the ultimate victims are so widely distributed they often seem negligible to individuals affected. Negligible is, of course, a relative term. Is $10 negligible to you? How about $100 or $1000 or more?

Another group of people who've learned a great deal about click fraud are the victims, which tend to be small online businesses. Unfortunately, it is harder to track the impact on smaller businesses because they often lack the resources to properly police their own web and account logs. SEO-News.com editor, Kim Roach, wrote a strong piece titled, "Going Broke on Google AdWords" in SiteProNews last week.

Victims of Click Fraud come in all sizes. While Kim's article addressed damage done to smaller businesses, a July 2006 report by online industry research firm Outsell estimated click fraud accounted for $800 million of a total of $5.5 billion spent on search engine advertising in 2005. Outsell reached these figures by studying 407 online advertisers that collectively controlled about $1 billion in ad spending.

Google disputes these figures along with other figures reported by San Antonio based PPC-auditing firm Click Forensics in their monthly Click Fraud Index, questioning the methodology used in determining incidents of billed click fraud.

In an August 8, 2006 report (PDF file) titled, "How Fictitious Clicks Occur in Third-Party Click Fraud Audit Reports" Google's Click Quality Team found two serious issues served to consistently inflate incidents of "fictitious clicks" recorded in third-party analysis.

According to their findings, "The major root causes for fictitious clicks falls into the two following categories: detection of page reloads as ad-clicks," and, "conflation across advertisers and ad networks, or the counting of one advertiser's traffic in another advertiser's reports."

The first cause of "fictitious clicks" noted by Google's team suggests that sometimes users reload pages; use their back buttons, or open landing pages in new windows. Each action could be interpreted as a second, third or fourth click where only one should have actually been recorded.

The second cause of "fictitious clicks" is a bit more confusing, stemming from the massive AdSense system Google uses to distribute AdWords advertising. Google has thousands, (perhaps millions) of AdSense distribution partners. Some of these partners are extremely large corporations, though most are independent webmasters.

The largest of these partners often have complicated advertising systems that mix and match different types of ads (banners, AdWords, text-links, etc...) from different advertising platforms. They have their own internal system for measuring the effectiveness of these ads and sometimes those internal systems cause subtle incongruities in tracking ad-impressions. One such weirdness is the way some hits from the AOL network are grouped together under a single block of IP addresses.

Google's business product manager for trust and safety, Shuman Ghosemajumder, wrote a long post "About Invalid Clicks" to the Inside AdWords blog in early August. In it, Ghosemajumder suggests that surveys and reports from many click-analysts, including Click Forensics, do not give a full view of factors as seen by Google, or in some cases, by the analysts' own clients.

Ghosemajumder says Google's internal filters catch and cancel charges for the vast majority of invalid clicks, even though evidence of those clicks might be reflected in advertisers' log files.

"If an advertiser is monitoring click activity, these automatically filtered clicks may show up in an advertiser's logs, but not in their bills. When invalid clicks are detected after an advertiser is charged, we reimburse for them. Because of our detection efforts, losses to advertisers from invalid clicks are very small," Ghosemajumder's comments.

"Moreover", he continues, "the study does not indicate whether the advertiser was actually charged for any of the clicks, only that the traffic analysis suggested that the clicks may have been invalid."

It isn't just the number of billed clicks that have advertisers and analysts concerned. Another report produced by Click Forensics showed that of 170 advertisers in the financial services sector, over 6% reported recorded visits from sites clearly identified as parked domains.

Dozens of third-party firms engage in ad-stuffing documents on parked domains. If the general consensus that an invalid click is one that is reasonably unlikely to lead to a potential conversion, then counted clicks from parked domains are assumed by many analysts to be invalid.

Parked domains are housed at URLs that, while owned, are not really operating as most Internet users might expect. A page at parked domain is generally one containing very limited information and a number of PPC Ads. The page is basically a placeholder being used as a billboard.

Believe it or not, parked domains are said to drive a significant amount of traffic, especially under highly searched terms relating to health, travel and financial services. Given the number of click-throughs found in a report covering 170 financial services companies, 6% represents a huge number of clicks, each costing advertisers ten cents or more.

Jessie Stricchiola is considered one of the leading experts in click fraud detection and analysis. On the website of her firm, Alchemist Media, Sticchiola writes about an automated form of third-party click fraud that was publicly associated with Yahoo by click fraud researcher Ben Edelman.

"Another method of fraudulent clicking is initiated through automated click generation methods, using "hitbots" - software applications specifically designed to click on paid listings. This kind of activity is also initiated by both competitors and by search engine partners and/or affiliates, the latter often instituting extensive technology arrangements to enable their fraudulent click traffic to slip past the internal filtering methods used by the CPC engines.

For CPC affiliates, there is a vested interest in generating as much traffic as possible to increase their portion of the shared revenue generated by paid listings. This is an often overlooked source of fraudulent click activity."

The examples cited in this article are only some of the ways used by the unscrupulous to scam unsuspecting advertisers in an environment that is extremely difficult to police properly. Indeed, in the absence of any external oversight, the only real watchdogs are the search engines themselves. Click auditors working with advertisers are, apparently, not privy to information used by Google and Yahoo to examine the issue and, therefore, are unable to effectively create reports recognized by the two largest search advertising providers.

While Google and Yahoo both claim to be working on finding solutions to the problems posed by invalid clicks, both admit they are months or even years from finding foolproof solutions. That both make a great deal of money from invalid clicks, clicks directed from parked domains, and other third-party shenanigans has lead some to speculate that the major search engines might not be approaching the problem with missionary zeal.

There is a lot of murky ground. The only obvious things about the issue is that there is an issue and that a solution, though not immediately forthcoming, is desperately needed.

About the author: Search marketing expert Jim Hedger is one of the most prolific writers in the search sector with articles appearing in numerous search related websites and newsletters, including SiteProNews, Search Engine Journal, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide.

He is currently Senior Editor for the Jayde Online news sources SEO-News and SiteProNews. You can also find additional tips and news on webmaster and SEO topics by Jim at the SiteProNews blog.

October 17, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

Home Business Today Quote of the Week:

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
Mark Twain (1835-1910)

October 14, 2006

What To Know About Multilevel Marketing...

Multilevel marketing companies sell their products and services via their distributors. The multilevel marketing structure offers you the ability to sign up other distributors and receive commissions not only from your own sales, but from the sales of your recruited distributors as well.

These recruits are generally referred to as your "downline."

Legal And Illegal

The majority of multilevel marketing companies are of course completely legitimate. And, in many cases, they adhere to a stricter set of guidelines than do many other companies. However, there are unfortunately a few "bad eggs" that are set up as illegal pyramid schemes.

In a pyramid scheme, commissions are based on the number of distributors recruited, and most of the product sales are made to these distributors - not to consumers in general. The underlying products and services serve only to make the scheme "appear" to be legitimate.

Joining a pyramid scheme is very risky. Why? Well, because you'll undoubtedly lose your money. That, and because pyramid schemes are completely illegal.

Doing Your Research

If you're thinking of starting a home business by joining a multilevel marketing company, then be sure to take the time to learn as much as you can about the company itself.

When evaluating a home business opportunity, here are some things you should know:

  • What's the company's track record?
  • What products does it sell?
  • Does it sell products to the public-at-large?
  • Does it have evidence to back up its product claims?
  • Is the product competitively priced?
  • How much is the investment to join the business?
  • Is there a minimum sales requirement to earn commissions?
  • Are you required to recruit new distributors to earn commissions?
Be On The Lookout

Be skeptical if a distributor tells you that, for the price of a "start-up kit" of inventory and sales literature, you'll be on the road to riches. Distributors often spend a lot of money to "build their business" by participating in training programs, buying home business leads, or by purchasing the products themselves. And sometimes these purchases are all they ever see for their investments.

Responsibility In Your Home Business

If you decide to become a distributor, you are legally responsible for the claims you make about the company, its product and the business opportunities it offers. That applies even if you're repeating claims you read in the company brochure or advertising flyer. The Federal Trade Commission advises you to verify the research behind any claims about a product's performance before repeating those claims to any potential customers.

In addition, if you solicit new distributors, you are fully responsible for the claims you make about a distributor's earnings potential. Be sure to represent the home business opportunity honestly and avoid making any unrealistic promises. If those promises fall through, remember that you could be held legally liable.

Evaluating A Multilevel Marketing Plan

he FTC suggests that you use common sense when evaluating a multilevel marketing opportunity and consider these tips as you make your decision:

1. Avoid any plan that includes commissions for recruiting additional distributors. It may be an illegal pyramid scheme.

2. Beware of plans that ask new distributors to purchase expensive products and marketing materials. These plans may be pyramids schemes in disguise.

3. Be cautious of plans that claim you will make money through continued growth of your downline, that is, the number of distributors you recruit.

4. Beware of plans that claim to sell miracle products or promise enormous earnings. Ask the promoter to substantiate claims.

5. Beware of shills - "decoy" references paid by a plan's promoter to lie about their earnings through the plan.

6. Don't pay or sign any contracts in an "opportunity meeting" or any other pressure-filled situation. Insist on taking your time to think over your decision.

7. Do your homework. You can check with your local Better Business Bureau and state Attorney General about any company you're considering - especially when the claims about the product or your potential earnings seem "too good to be true."

8. And remember that no matter how good a product and how solid a multilevel marketing plan may be, you'll need to invest sweat equity as well as dollars for your investment to pay off in the long run.

October 7, 2006

Home Office Peace and Tranquility?

Since it's Saturday, I of course wanted to share a little home business humor with you. So for all of you who've been working so very hard lately, I offer up this pleasant respite...

Here's a funny home business clip from Brov, a rather entertaining bloke from the United Kingdom.

Home Office Peace and Tranquility

October 5, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

Home Business Today Quote of the Week:

"Liberty: One of imagination's most precious possessions."
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

October 2, 2006

The Downline - An MLM Documentary...

Here's an interesting teaser for an upcoming film and MLM documentary titled, "The Downline." It's in post-production right now, but they apparently, have their sights set on the Sundance Institute's 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

The basic plot? They followed four different MLM distributors (Agel distributors) for a certain period of time, and tracked their individual success. The MLM distributors were:

  • Ann: The Pro
  • Hank: The Businessman
  • Tia: The Mother
  • Dan: The Rookie
I find this to be very intriguing, as I'm certainly interested in the outcome of each individual. But, as a "marketer," I'm MUCH more interested in how their outcomes "differed" from one another. Hmm, guess we'll just have to wait and see!

The Downline - A Synopsis

"Often ridiculed, sorely misunderstood...the network marketing or multi-level marketing industry is one of the most fascinating American phenomena as business and culture. Everybody has a story about a friend or family member hitting them up about "the next big thing" and the promise of "financial freedom."

The Downline is a documentary that traces the roots of the business and follows four distributors as they make a go at a brand new MLM upstart. Shot over the course of its first year, The Downline takes you on a wild ride through the USA, Japan, China, Russia and Israel as both MLM veterans and new entrepreneurs try to realize their own definition of success."

The Downline
(An MLM Documentary)