Lanzarote

Video of Lanzarote

Here’s an excellent video that’s been doing the rounds amongst Lanzarote residents and fans on Facebook the last couple of days. Made me feel a little homesick for the island. Looking forward in summer, if time allows, to getting back over to the island for a period this summer.

The Lanzarote Effect from Lea et Nicolas Features on Vimeo.

Facebook

I’m a big fan of Facebook – I conduct much of my social life through it. However just lately I’ve noticed a  couple of trends that really irritate me. It genuinely is a social thing for me – and the constant spam is beginning to really get on my nerves.

There’s plenty of people right now touting Social Networking as the next big thing in marketing – what happens every idiot takes the total shotgun approach and blasts their friends list with spam? The vast majority of these people do not have the faintest idea what they are doing. Used badly Social Network Marketing will damage your reputation rather than enhance it.

Let me just make it clear – and this is to my friends too… I will not ever add an inanimate object, business, entity or organization as a ‘friend’. For your information – setting up profiles that do not relate to ‘real people’ are a breach of Facebook’s terms and conditions. So, you’re going to be wasting your time building up a list of friends on these profiles as sooner or later Facebook is going to have a sort out. If it continues I am going to make it my mission to make sure they do!

Also, I don’t mind getting invites to events – but please don’t waste my time sending multiple invites to the same event with different titles – I will delete them…

I’m happy to ´like´the pages and groups (which are intended for commercial use) of friends , clients and local businesses to support them. But don’t be offended if I don’t. Facebook to me is a purely social thing and promoting other peoples businesses to my friends is a long way off being the main reason I use the site.

From this point forward, without exception I have decided to report every fake profile, and every status update spam. Enough is enough. Perhaps its time to start binning those friends on my list who serve no social value to me and whose only use of the site is self promotion.

If you want to keep up with what we are doing – voluntarily – without being hassled or having it rammed down your throat here are the links to the pages for Gandy-Draper, Lanzarote Relocation and my own blog. All of which adhere to Facebook rules!

Missing person – Vincent Bosq

Vincent BosqA few days ago Elle posted a piece on our Lanzarote Relocation site about missing Frenchman Vincent Bosq. We spoke with Vincent’s sister earlier today – and Vincent is still missing.

It seems that Vincent was able to contact his sister via the Policia Local in Arrecife, so there is a little more information. She tells us that Vincent has had his identification papers stolen and has no money. The family tried to send him money via Western Union, but having no papers or passport he was unable to collect it.

The family think that Vincent has been living on the streets of Arrecife somewhere around the Police station or El Charco de San Gines. If anyone sees him can you please let us know on 663 603 345. Obviously after several months on the streets Vincent may look somewhat different.

Also, if you have shop premises, or friends in Arrecife can you please help by circulating this missing poster throughout the city. Perhaps if Vincent sees it he will then make contact with so we can help his family get the assistance to him he needs to get home safely. Obviously the family are very concerned and they are also worried that Vincent has an ongoing medical problem that might need some attention.

Click here to download the PDF

Please feel free to pass this poster around as widely as possible!

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s the time of year again that we are expecting a run of traffic on our Lanzarote Relocation site – a site that offers information for people thinking of moving to Lanzarote. With all the New Year resolutions and the new year – fresh start attitude that goes with the beginning of the year we always see a spike of traffic in January.

As ever we’d give anyone the same advice as usual;

  • Take off the rose tinted glasses – becoming an ex-pat in Lanzarote, as anywhere else, is not as easy as it first seems, especially if you need to make a living.
  • Don’t buy immediately, make sure the move is really for you. Rent for at least the first six months, get to know the areas, get to know the property market, and spend time to find out which are the reputable estate agents before considering buying property.
  • Follow personal recommendations – but also be aware that not everyone are as genuine as they seem. Earnings are not what they are in the UK, so a ‘kick back’ culture is exploited by many to generate business/supplement poor earnings.
  • Try to learn at least a little of the language – it’s a basic courtesy to our Spanish speaking hosts…

We’ve been here some years now and have seen all sorts of people come through the Lanzarote Relocation site. Dreamers who will never make the move, people who try but are not fully committed, some who really want to but it’s not the right time just yet, people who try with the best of intentions yet don’t succeed – and of course some real success stories!

For us the site has been a real success for its visitors – and we think the main reasons are that we are honest and open about who and what we are, and the advice and information we offer is free. We make very little money from the site – and we have no wish to. It  pays for its costs with affiliate advertising – and certainly doesn’t even come close to paying for the large amount of time spent on it. But money was never a part of our thinking behind this site. We simply wanted to pass on what we have learned from moving to and living on the island to others.  The site has gone from strength to strength, and continues to grow. We’re very proud to be able to say we are not part of the ‘kick back’ culture that so many are as we take no financial incentive for recommending any of the companies on it.

Yes – Lanzarote has suffered from the recession – despite what some will tell you, the property market is still pretty stagnant from what we see – which on the upside means there are bargains to be had. Many ex-pats are heading back to the UK as it has become increasingly harder to make a living or find jobs in Lanzarote. Bars have closed, as have many other businesses, tourism numbers have been down – though the island has seemed relatively busy over the Christmas period… It’s probably not the best time to move out here right now unless you have money or real confidence in your ‘plan’. If you’re going to be dependant upon finding a job – it may be best to shelve your ideas until the global market changes.

We’ve been very lucky with our business – we’ve continued to grow and are still growing with website builds for clients on the island and in the UK. We’re fairly confident in saying that with over 150 active clients in Lanzarote, Gandy-Draper is most likely the largest English speaking web design business on the island – with our client base being made up of English, Spanish and German clients.

Our Canary Nightlife site continues to grow with new clients signing up in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife over the course of 2009 and shows great potential for further growth.

Thankfully, it’s been a fairly good year all round for us – life is what you make it! Make no mistake though, we work hard for what we have – life on a holiday island isn’t necessarily a holiday…

Happy New Year to everyone on and off the island!

Photography

One thing not that many people in Lanzarote know about me was that I originally did a degree in photography – but never chose to follow it as a career. I’ve taken on the occasional project over the years (usually under duress), and have spent some time teaching the subject (far more appealing to me than the pressures of professional photography) in higher education both in the UK and US… But, I still keep my hand in for my own pleasure and amusement and sell the occasional image through photo libraries.

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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! ;)

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.

Plagiarism in Lanzarote

Seems I spend a lot of time on this topic – and I suppose the upside of it is that plagiarism is a form of flattery – but hell, it is annoying when we put so much work and time into our business and our website content.

It’s a small island – so plagiarism isn’t that hard to stumble on here…

This one completely takes the biscuit for bare faced cheek – it’s lazy, it’s unprofessional and frankly – pathetic. (I’ve twice contacted the site owner without a response…) Continue reading

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….

Cheap calls to Lanzarote

Ever wondered how you can get cheaper calls from the UK to Lanzarote using a regular phone rather than Skype or similar on-line services?

We can now help using numbers diverted from the UK and obtaining your number is FREE!

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