Advice

Fake Google Adsense payments…

A while ago, I wrote about how people fake site stats to deceive potential advertisers.

Here’s another misleading tactic that you should also be aware of. All too often you’ll see boasts about how successful sites are, demonstrated by illustrations of how much money they are making from Google Adsense. Don’t take the screen grabs at face value when someone is trying to sell you something, or convince you that with their help you can achieve the same. There’s a very good possibility you are being misled.

Fake Adsense screen grabs are incredibly easy to produce.

Click to enlarge

In the immortal words of ‘Blue Peter’, here’s one I made earlier…

How? Using – googleadsensegenerator.com (which has since been taken down, but you can find a similar tool at hacktrix.com/google-adsense-money-generator – these things come and go for obvious reasons)

Though it may seem that it has been taken out for confidentiality the blur hides the detail information too. Surely, if someone wanted to boast in this way they would at least make a recognizable email address visible to offer some form of proof that it at least might be them…

Be on your guard, there’s a lot of people out there ready to mislead you for their own personal gain or vanity.

It’s a completely dishonest tactic…

The easy way to get new Twitter followers…

TwitterAnyone who knows me will tell you I’m no fan of Twitter. It’s a pointless mass of white noise in my opinion.

But – if you’re the kind of sad individual who values quantity above quality – here’s a tip for you…

I play with Twitter – (only because I hate it so much, and as research for posts like this). Overnight I got 200+ new followers on one of my accounts, and they are still coming in at the rate of around ten to twenty an hour.

How? Very simple, just add the ‘big name’ Internet Marketers to your Twitter account.

If you don’t know who they are – they aren’t hard to find. You probably already have mails from the likes of Eban Pagan and Yaro Starak in your spam folder, having been ‘tempted’ into subscribing to their mailing list to download some free useless information in the past…

Your new followers will for the most part be generated by bots, and be of no use whatsoever – and are only from sad ‘get rich quick on the Internet’ types – but it’ll up your numbers.

TVI Express, is it a scam?

The simple answer if you do a bit off digging is yes!

I sometimes use this site as a way to alert the readers of scams. Having stumbled on a business card promoting the TVI scheme in Playa Blanca here in Lanzarote very recently and having previously been asked by a friend to check out its credibility this seemed as good a place as any to put this. I won’t embarrass anyone with the name on the card – they’ve just got sucked into a pyramid scam and have lost $275-

What claims do they make?

  • they claim it’s a legitimate travel business
  • that you can make $10,000 a week from recruiting others

What is it in reality?

It’s a classic pyramid sales scam, (A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud – Wikipedia)

If  you’re the person who’s name is on the card (nobody I know), I’m very sorry you got ripped off.

Anyone else, please be on your guard. I know times are hard for many here on our little island, as they are elsewhere, it’s a perfect time for the unscrupulous to prey on hopes and dreams. Make no doubt these people will take your last penny off you.  Don’t buy dreams – if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. We all know that – but sometimes even good people get caught out when times are tough.

Fotolia photo library

fotolia photo libraryIn recent months we’ve become big fans of Fotolia stock library…

One of the biggest problems as a web designer can be finding suitable photographs to fit with our clients websites. Having waded through many an on-line stock library in the past I always seem to end up back at Fotolia which must have one of the biggest collections of them all – approaching 7 million photographs.

Prices for images suitable sizes for use on the web start from 2 or 3 Euro.

What is surprising is that a quick search on Lanzarote will throw up over 1.100 images – which makes it particularly useful for businesses on the island. And most are of very good quality due to a human based acceptance system – you won’t find many holiday snaps on this site!

So – no need to steal any of my photographs from our sites, or from other popular sites on the island as happens all to often.

It only costs a couple of Euro to avoid breaching copyright laws! 😉

How to get more hits…

Don’t always believe the stats web publishers quote when trying to persuade you to advertise on the sites – there are some dishonest publishers out there…

Firstly let me point out categorically that we NEVER employ this (or any other underhand) technique. We deal honestly and openly with all our clients. The stats quoted here come from a project we have under development (not a Lanzarote site) and I did this just to illustrate this article.

chart

If I was trying to sell you advertising, it would look pretty impressive wouldn’t it? Really, it’s not. It’s a very simple deception technique used by unscrupulous web site owners.

Now – how did we take a site from 16 page views to over 9,000 in less than 48 hours? Continue reading

Phishing scam in Spain

This is one that people could easily fall for… (especially ex-pats not confident with their Spanish language skills).

Things to look out for are:

Your own name or email address not being in the “To” section
Hovering your cursor over the link (don’t click it) bringing up a suspicious looking address that doesn’t match the site it is supposed to – the thing to look out for is the last description before the domain extension – e.g .com)

Phishing scam

If you receive anything like this, just delete and forward it as spam to your Internet Service Provider, and also consider forwarding it to the company who the thieves are masquerading as. If you are concerned that perhaps you are missing something from your bank, then phone your own branch.

NEVER log in using your bank details, email or password to a website from a direct link in an email. Reputable companies who you know will only ask you to log in through their main website and not via an email such as this.

Click on the screen grab to see the email content.

Is my site banned by Google?

In order for your website to be found via a search on the internet, it needs to first be accepted by the search engines. However, if it contravenes any of the search engine’s rules – then it may get banned… resulting in it not showing up in those important results.

For the purposes of this article, we shall concentrate on Google – after all, it is the biggest!

We are very proud to say that we have NEVER had a site banned by Google. Not any of ours, nor any of our clients. However, a couple of years ago we did buy a domain that had been registered by someone else (who no longer lives on the Island) and found out very quickly that they must have broken some criteria laid down by Google had resulted in the domain being banned. This banned domain was Lanzarote Business

Getting a site unbanned by Google is not particularly easy. First of all, Google won’t tell you why a specific site has been banned. However, it does give you some ways to ensure that a site doesn’t get banned in the first place, so going through these step by step can help you to check that you are following best procedures, then leaving you to approach Google and ask for reconsideration.

So how do I know if my site is banned by Google?

There are a couple of ways to try.  Start by going to Google and typing in site: followed by your domain name, minus the www. For example:

site:lanzarotewebdesign.com

If it gives you search results… then all’s well, and your site is not banned. If it returns no search results, then it is not listed in their archives. If this is the case, then do a search for “Google banned checker tool” – there are plenty of free ones out there – and here is a link to just one of them: Google Banned Checker Tool

What could have caused it?

Getting a site banned by Google isn’t that common really – so you must have done something pretty bad if that has happened. There are a number of reasons why Google may have banned your website, and here are just three of them:

  • Using Black Hat SEO techniques
  • Linking to”bad” sites, such as gambling, pronographic or link farms
  • Duplicate content. Copying another website’s content can definitely harm you, which is one of the reasons we take plagiarism very seriously indeed.

How can I fix it?

The best way is to open a Google Webmaster Tools account. It is free, and only takes a couple of minutes. Then you submit your website, validate it by placing a small piece of code in your website, and you can start using the tools that Google has provided. There is a tool in there that can resubmit your site to Google, and offer it for reconsideration.

The offending site that we had was looked at in less than a week, and is already commanding many useful search terms… all on page one of Google results. We simply proved to Google that we were new owners, and that the site was full of useful content – and Bob’s your auntie’s husband.

Summary
Don’t risk getting your site banned, by urilising bad practice – and do certainly be careful who you get to build your website!

The Lanzarote Society

Today we got spammed – nothing new about that in Lanzarote, or anywhere else with the address lanzarotesociety-dot-com… We also had some complaints, and questions from clients – relating mostly to the fact that they had used the address elle@ as their Playa Blanca contact. Our clients were questioning whether we were involved in any way. We decided to do some digging.

Before I go any further with the results of that digging, let me state categorically we have not, will not, and will not ever have any dealings with the site or those behind it.

Apart from being a really shabbily designed website, it;

  • gives no indication of its owners
  • is selling membership to unwitting tourists who might want to ‘feel part of the island’
  • it claims to be non-profit making (sic!)
  • offers people the opportunity to work for them for the investment of £2000
  • the whole thing stinks…

The whole site and its related domains are written in a style of language many reading this will be familiar with… It includes the phrase “Simon says” throughout…

Yes, you guessed it. It’s an old favourite – it’s the inimitable Simon Harris again. Simon and Jenny Harris and Quills Wills may be down and unable to trade here (his words on the Gazette forum as I recall), but it seems they are not out.

The evidence?

The name of the domain owner – Melanie Ross (click on her name for the Google search which demonstrates clear link)

Companies House information…

LANZAROTE SOCIETY MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARBRO HOUSE
CROWN LANE
DENBIGH
LL16 3SY
Company No. 06661107

and…..

THE QUILL GROUP (1986) LLP
HARBRO HOUSE
CROWN LANE
DENBIGH
DENBIGHSHIRE
LL16 3SY
Company No. OC328567

The same address is also the Registered Office of… THE QUILL GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY LLP
and THE QUILL GROUP TREASURER LLP

There’s plenty more where that came from – but I think you’ll agree it’s pretty clear as to who is pulling the strings on this baby! Of course, I have emailed and asked that any links they have included on there to our sites be removed – we have absolutely NO association with this venture.

The really worrying thing is that on the site it says that one of their aims is to represent the island and it businesses… Think about that one!

A note to tourists who may be reading this at this point – there are many good sites in addition to our own Lanzarote Nightlife if you are looking for information on the island – just Google, you’ll find plenty. And you certainly don’t have to pay to feel a part of the community – you are always welcome on sites like our own forum at Canary Nightlife, the forums on Discover Lanzarote and at the Gazette.

Now, of course, I’m not saying Simon Harris is a conman – I do however have an opinion based on all I’ve seen and read about him. What I would strongly urge anyone who is reading this – if you are thinking about doing business with him, or any of his companies, make sure you do thorough research – hopefully there’s enough in this post to get you started. That research may end up saving you thousands…

Caveat Emptor….

The importance of marketing in the credit crunch…

I read an advert in a magazine recently. An ad stating why you should continue advertising during a recession… The key phrases used in the ad were;

  1. The golden rule is to stay in touch with your customers
  2. If you are inconsistent they won’t trust you
  3. If they can’t find you they will go to your competitor
  4. And if they forget who you are, you’ll have to start all over again

Continue reading