Tag Archive | "Scripts"

Common Social Media Security Issues

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Common Social Media Security Issues


Social media is great for both marketers and consumers, as it allows them to share information rapidly in the online world. But there are also a few security vulnerabilities that networks need to address quickly and users need to be aware of.

 

Ever been in a Facebook group and seen a “spammy” type post made by a member that seemed completely unrelated to the topic? Usually, these are advertisements for clothing and accessories. Sometimes, hacked accounts are used to post spam either manually or more often through the help of automated tools. Sometimes, rogue apps are used which will then make posts on the user’s behalf to their friends walls as well as to groups that they belong to.

 

Facebook isn’t the only site that has had problems. In June, a security expert has reported a XSS (cross site scripting) vulnerability on the popular social blogging service called Tumblr. It allowed a malicious user to insert code into a post that would then execute scripts or HTML when loaded by another user. This made it possible to load external sites without the user clicking on them, facilitating spam type posts, or allowing for the delivery of malware. Tumblr has since addressed the issue and closed the security hole.

 

Facebook has taken steps to step up its security and prevent common types of spam, as evidenced by them removing millions of fake accounts a few weeks ago. Action to remove some of the rogue apps has also been taken, helping make the social network a safer place. However, these security threats aren’t expected to be completely gone anytime soon.

 

There are things that users need to be aware of to protect themselves. The first thing is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. There is NO app which lets you see who visited your profile, there has never been, nor will they probably ever be one. Therefore, if you install an app that claims to do this on your Facebook profile, it is a rogue app that will simply end up spamming your and your friends news feeds with unwanted advertisements. Also, there are no giveaways of high priced products. Apple will not give you a free iPhone just because you installed a certain app on your profile. You will also not receive free Beats by Dr. Dre headphones simply because you liked a certain page, but you’ll simply end up receiving spam.

 

Keeping your PC secure is also another way to counter many threats like cross site scripting. As much of the malicious code is executed by Java, disabling it in your browser add ons is a good idea. If you ever need to visit a legitimate site that has a Java applet (these are getting rare anyways), you can manually re-enable it at that time. Installing an anti-malware program like AVG Free that scans all web sites that you visit is also a good idea to stay safe online.

 

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Facebook Coming Down on Fake Likes

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Facebook Coming Down on Fake Likes


The amount of likes that a Facebook page receives is definitely the biggest way to determine its popularity with its targeted audience. There are plenty of ways to get more Facebook likes on your page, such as by including social media buttons on your main websites and blog, or including a link to your Facebook fan pages with the emails that you send. But there has been some controversy surrounding Facebook likes recently, which affected some corporate, as well as political pages.

 

The issue of fake Facebook likes has existed for quite a long time, but it seems that it’s only recently that it was given a good amount of attention by the social network. Facebook has released an update on their blog on August 31st saying that they are taking action to remove likes that are deemed to be fake. However, the numbers don’t seem to be too dramatic. The update states that less than 1% of the likes for any particular page will be affected.

 

This includes likes that were purchased, generated by malware, as well as those that were generated by users who were deceived into liking a page. The latter category is one that has been often discussed in online marketing circles. Certain video sharing sites were using scripts that would force a user to like the page before they could have access to the videos. This goes against the basic concept of the Facebook likes, which are meant to be given only once a user has seen a certain page and found the content to be worthy of being included on their page and shared with their friends. Other ways of deceiving users was creating fake contests or giveaways, where users were promised non existent prizes if they liked a certain page. Of course, the prizes never came and very often the pages were then used to send spam messages onto the users news feeds.

 

Many online marketing experts aren’t too surprised by this recent move by Facebook. It comes a few weeks after many major advertisers have questioned whether advertising on Facebook truly brings them any benefits for their business or brand. There has also been the issue of fake accounts being used to like various pages, or friend random people only to send them spam messages. It appears that Facebook is simply trying to clean up its service by removing elements that create a bad experience for the user, in addition to lowering the perceived value of the social network to its advertisers.

 

But this recent action isn’t really likely to have any impact on most people who use Facebook as part of their social media marketing strategy. You should just stay away from any services that promise to give you thousands of likes from “real” users in exchange for payment. Very often, these likes are generated by malicious means and even if the users were real people, chances are that they wouldn’t have any actual interest in your page.

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Protecting Your Online Business: More Ways to Keep Your Site Safe

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Protecting Your Online Business: More Ways to Keep Your Site Safe


Choosing your web hosting wisely and maintaining backup copies of your website data are obviously two very effective ways of keeping your business safe online. But they’re far from the only things that you can do to protect your business. Here are some more tips on how to keep your website safe and your online business running.

  • Maintain secure passwords

This may seem like something really obvious, but many hacking attacks weren’t done by sophisticated methods, but rather through an attacker guessing the password to a hosting account or content management system admin panel. Choose a secure password that is a combination of letters and numbers. Also, never use the same password for your website than what you would use on other sites, such as forums and membership websites.

  • Familiarize yourself with security features

If you use a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal, be sure that you’re familiar with its security features. This applies to the main system as well as any plugins or themes that you use. Be sure to keep any software or scripts running on your website updated to the latest version, as software updates not only contain functionality improvements, but they can also contain patches which will block security vulnerabilities that have been discovered by the users. Of course if you notice any security issue with a piece of software you use on your site, be sure to report it to its creators so that it can be fixed as fast as possible.

  • Take action to prevent spam on your site

Most content management systems have built in tools which automatically detects spam and either deletes it or places it in pending status so that you can review any comments or posts manually to determine whether they’re legitimate. If you run a small site with a limited number of user generated content, you can also opt to have all posts moderated manually and approved by you. This may not be an option for a forum where users expect their posts to appear right away, but it can be good for blog comments or reviews, for example.

  • Keep an eye on all your sites

This means monitoring your sites every day to detect any changes that could have been made to it. Watch out for elements that could indicate an attack, such as a sudden increase in traffic, or many invalid login attempts. Also keep an eye on all your advertising and affiliate accounts. This can help you catch hijacking attempts of your affiliate links if you discover a sudden drop in sales or clicks coming from your website. While there are many systems in place to prevent intrusions, nothing beats having an actual human person keep an eye on the site, so that immediate action can be taken in case something is going wrong.

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Tips for Online Entrepreneurs: Part 2

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Tips for Online Entrepreneurs: Part 2


We’ve seen two good tips to help build a good online business yesterday. There are more that you can use. These are all strategies that are used by some of the most successful names in online business. They aren’t specific to a particular subset of online business, so you can use them whether you own content websites, are selling items on eBay, are an affiliate, etc.

  • Do everything possible to work smarter and not harder

In the online world, most businesses don’t demand “hard” work in the sense that you would constantly need to solve complex problems. However, in many cases it is simply a large quantity of seemingly very simple work that keeps people from achieving their goals. For example, if you’re promoting a dozen different affiliate offers using different advertising channels, you may need to build over 30 separate landing pages for them, complete with graphics, unique text content and other elements. Not particularly difficult, but can become quite tedious. A lot of people lose their motivation if they spend hours performing the same tasks over and over.

The solution to this is actually quite simple. First, find and use any tools that you can use to automate processes in your business. There are scripts, programs, apps, etc. which can save you a lot of time and reduce the amount of tedious work you need to do. For example, there are programs which can submit articles to directories automatically.

You may also want to outsource some parts of your business to others, such as content creation, graphic design, etc. This may reduce your profits, however the time that you gain will keep your more motivated and can be used to search for more business opportunities, thus making you more money in the long run.

  • Keep track of how your different businesses are doing

If you own several online businesses that are in different niches, you should ensure that you’re keeping an eye on all of them. This will allow you to constantly monitor your performance and make adjustments if necessary, even for businesses that run on “autopilot”.

  • Keep up new developments

There are two kinds of developments that you should keep up with: those that are related to online marketing in general and those which are more specific to your niche of products or to the type of business that you run.

Be sure to read any emails that you get from partners, such as affiliate programs. They may contain important information about upcoming changes that could have an effect on how you earn online. Read some posts on online marketing forums. Also, check out websites which specialize in aggregating news related to online business. You don’t have to spend too much time on this, just a few minutes a day to scan the headlines or new posts, then take a bit of time to read something that you find interesting.

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Running a Successful Blog: Why SEO Shouldn’t Be Ignored

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Running a Successful Blog: Why SEO Shouldn’t Be Ignored


There are millions of blogs found online today. Some are quite famous, while many others receive practically no traffic at all. One thing that determines the success of a blog is the amount of people that visit it on a daily basis. So just like any other website, getting traffic is of great importance here. Using search engine optimization to get visitors to a blog is definitely one of the top traffic generation methods. However, there are still those who don’t use it at all. There are a few reasons given by bloggers who don’t take advantage of SEO methods. Here are the most common:

  • Other sources of traffic are available

These bloggers get most of their traffic from other sources, such as social media, links from forums, etc. and believe that deploying SEO efforts is simply not worth it, considering that they are usually  happy with the amount of traffic that they’re getting now.

  • Belief that SEO is too complicated

This one is actually quite common. Some bloggers believe that SEO is something for “computer geeks” and that even basic SEO techniques are too complicated to handle.

  • Belief that SEO is expensive

Some believe that in order to get good rankings on search engines, they would need to spend a fortune. They simply don’t have the budget to spend money on getting traffic and for this reason skip out on SEO.

All 3 of these reasons aren’t really good ones. First, SEO is a good way of getting additional traffic to a blog, even if for some it isn’t the main one. By using SEO, more readers will come to a blog who may not have seen it otherwise. These readers can then share the blog with others, resulting in even more traffic coming in without any effort from the blog owner.

While SEO does take some time to learn, it is by no means a very complicated traffic generation method. It’s not like you would need to be coding scripts manually or spend hours calculating complex formulas. There are plenty of guides for beginners related to SEO and many more are directly related to how SEO can work well with a blog. All it takes is a few hours to learn and to begin implementing the methods.

SEO being expensive is another incorrect assumption. In fact, if you do everything yourself, it could very well be free. There could be some tools that you can buy, or services you can hire to make your SEO work easier and less time consuming. But if you don’t want to spend a dime on it, then there are ways to do everything for free. You would just need to spend a little bit more time working on making your blog more likely to get better search engine rankings. Basic SEO tools and services, if you do choose to use them, are actually quite affordable and will pay themselves in the end as you get more traffic and thus more opportunities to profit from your blog, which is a win win situation.

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Keeping Up With Changes in SEO: Part 3

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Keeping Up With Changes in SEO: Part 3


Previously, we’ve seen how having quality, well organized content can help you improve or maintain your ranking on search engines. But is there more? Definitely. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you are serious about your SEO objectives. Here are some more examples:

  • Ensure your content is unique

While this may seem obvious, some webmasters still don’t seem to get it. Using content that is scraped from other sites, or is comprised of PLR articles or is taken from PLR ebooks is not a good idea. Why? Because it is not unique. There are probably thousands of web pages out there with the same exact content that you have. This will obviously penalize you when it comes to SEO.

If you need to use PLR content or other “open source” materials, such as info from Wikipedia, then you will need to rewrite it to make it unique. This has to be done by hand. While there are software programs and scripts which claim they can generate unique articles, usually you will end up with some gibberish that will be hard to understand for users and will also be bad for SEO. So the bottom line is, your stuff needs to be unique.

  • Don’t buy backlinks from shady sources

This comes back to the point about not using Black Hat SEO tactics if you want long term growth for your website. While you may find plenty of “quality backlink sellers” on web forums everywhere, you should be aware of the fact that these backlinks are rarely of any good quality. Most of the time, they are included in websites that are simply link dumps, where there are plenty of links to irrelevant web pages. Or, they simply spam forums and blog comments with your website link. Of course, these links will get removed after a few days and this may even get your site blacklisted for link spam. If you have to deal with a backlink seller, then make sure that you are dealing with someone who knows what they are doing. The best backlinks will come from places that have a high amount of relevance to your website. For example, niche blogs.

  • Remember to keep building quality backlinks

Instead of buying backinks, you can build them yourself. How? This is a lot easier than it sounds. You can start by creating a profile on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Include the URL of your website in your profile. Then, submit some articles to directories which have a good reputation with search engines. If you have a local business, see if you can be linked to on the website of your local chamber of commerce or other community business groups. Include your URL when you advertise on classified ads sites. All of this will get you good quality backlinks which are worth more than hundreds of backlinks from some shady sites which are nothing but a repository of spam posts.

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Creating Your Membership Site: Selecting Your Hosting

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Creating Your Membership Site: Selecting Your Hosting


We’ve seen that running a membership site is a great way to make some money on the internet and to give your product more value to your customers and potential customers that are looking at your sales page. But how do you actually start a membership site? What do you need to accomplish this? There are certain things you need to get before you start developing your site. Here are some of them:

 

  • Good Web Hosting

 

Now, what exactly is “good web hosting” when it comes to powering your membership site? The thing is, almost any kind of web hosting will support applications and scripts designed to run a membership site. Shared web hosting, the one that costs about $5 per month, is the most popular kind of hosting out there. However, it is not recommended for this purpose? Why not? It says unlimited everything, so you should have no worries, right?

 

Well, unfortunately this is wrong. Shared web hosting is NOT unlimited, despite what the marketing materials for the web host say. And this is really NOT something that you want to find out the hard way after you launch your site.

 

You see, shared web hosts impose certain limits on your account, such as the number of files, databases and simultaneous connections to your site. Even though they may say they have unlimited bandwidth, if you start to use too much (say more than a few GB per month, which is quite easy to go over if you host several videos on your site), they will simply cut you off. They do this not out of greed, but simply because a site that is too big will use up too much of the server’s resources, thus making it slow and unstable for the other websites that are hosted on the same server in a shared hosting environment. Shared hosting would only be good if you were planning to get just a dozen or so members to your site each month.

 

What you should get as a hosting solution instead would be a VPS web hosting account. This basically means that you would be getting a portion of the server allocated specifically for your needs (CPU, disk space, bandwidth and RAM). Your hosting will run on a virtual machine, similar to what you would get if you would be running Windows under MacOS on your home computer. That way, you will not have to worry about competing for resources with other sites on the server and you will also never have to worry about getting your hosting suspended because you used too much bandwidth or RAM.

 

VPS web hosting is a bit more expensive than shared hosting. However, if you plan to make some money from your membership site, you must be willing to invest a bit of money in it. If you are planning to get a few dozen members to your site each month, then a mid range VPS would be the solution. This will cost you between $35 to $50 per month, depending on the provider that you will be using.

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Dedicated Hosting Options: Making a Choice

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Dedicated Hosting Options: Making a Choice


We have previously looked at various options that you have with regards to webhosting. Now hosting a small website can usually be done really well with just a shared hosting account. If you are just putting up a website as a hobby, you might even consider using a free web host at the beginning. But of course, none of these options are the best solutions if you are going to build a serious e-commerce site. In this case, you would be better off getting a dedicated server to host your site. Even there, you have two options. Let’s take a look at what they are.

  • VPS Hosting

VPS, or virtual private server, is kind of an in between solution, between getting a dedicated server all to yourself and getting a shared hosting account. What you actually get a part of a dedicated server to yourself. It is called a virtual server, as it runs in a virtual machine on an actual server that you will share with a few other users. However, you will be assigned resources for your virtual server that only you can use, such as RAM, disk space and bandwidth. You are free to install any applications or scripts that you need to run your site as well. The pricing varies and can range from $25 to $300 a month.

Recommended for: Large scale affiliate marketing, running a medium to large e-commerce site or web store.

  • Dedicated Server

Here, you get to rent a dedicated server all to yourself. You basically have the entire server just for your usage. You will get to customize the hardware that your server will have, such as the hard drive space, the CPU and the amount of RAM. A dedicated server offers unparallelled security, reliability and performance for the most demanding applications. Depending on the host, you may get to choose whether you will be using a server based on a Windows or Linux environment. Prices range from $100 to $500 a month, depending on host and server configuration chosen.

Recommended for: Large membership sites, medium to large general online business, large e-commerce sites.

Selecting a dedicated server is not complicated. All you have to do is to consider what your needs will be and then go look for a webhosting company that will offer you what you are looking for. However, it is important that you don’t base your decision solely on price. Sure, there are a few small webhosts which are able to offer very cheap prices, however based on comments from other webmasters, I can tell you that these are not always the most reliable companies to do business with. You should rather base your choice on what other webmasters who have used a certain host recommend and by reading reviews written by experts in the industry. That way, you can avoid making a mistake and going with an unreliable or problematic hosting company, but will rather end up with a quality server to power your website.

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Is Dedicated Hosting the Right Choice for You?

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Is Dedicated Hosting the Right Choice for You?


If you are thinking of starting an e-commerce website, then one of the first things that you would think about would be getting a reliable web host where you can put your site on. Anyone who is going to run an online business will need a web host. Basically, you have two options: either get a shared hosting account or rent a dedicated server.

Someone who is serious about running a successful e-commerce website will often choose to host their site on a dedicated server rather than a shared account. Here are the advantages of using a dedicated server:

More resources just for you. A dedicated server is just that: a server that is entirely dedicated for your use. No other sites are hosted on it, so its entire bandwidth, CPU, disk space and RAM are for your use only. While you may think that you would do fine on a shared account at the beginning, once your site expands you may find that you actually need your own server as your website has gotten bigger.

Better security and reliability. This advantage is the result of the fact that, once again, your server is not shared with any other site. There has been numerous occasions where a site that is hosted on a shared server has been compromised and viruses and malware have been introduced, which have infected other sites on the server. When you use a dedicated server, you get access to security solutions such as anti virus tools, firewalls, etc.

Increased flexibility and more control. You get the choice as to whether you want to run a Windows or a Linux operating system on your server. Another great point is that you have complete control as to what applications, software and scripts you can run on your server. Many large e-commerce sites require the use of software which would not be supported on a shared account, but can be easily installed and used on a dedicated server.

Selecting a Web Host

In the world of web hosting, there are hundreds of different companies that you can choose from. While they may all look to provide the same services, you should know that not all web hosting companies are the same.

When you select a web host that offers dedicated server hosting, you will need to look far beyond the price in order to make the right decision. If you simply go with the company offering the cheapest price, you might end up getting the cheapest service. Many of the “rock bottom” priced servers are actually run by individuals located in third world countries, where connectivity and reliability are not all that great.

Do a search online for reviews of dedicated server hosting providers and see what these reviews say. Also, take a look around webmaster forums to find out which companies fellow webmasters are using and whether they are satisfied with the service. This will help you narrow down your search to companies that you would want to do business with.

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Becoming A Merchant – The Other Side Of CPA – Part 2

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Becoming A Merchant – The Other Side Of CPA – Part 2


Now that you have your idea on the product, you need something else: funding. Yes, that’s right folks, this business will require an investment, and a rather significant one from you.

The amount that you will need will vary depending on the operation that you are setting up and how you will structure your business. In any case, at the very least you will need an amount in the five figures to invest in this. The main reason behind this is that you will need it in order to get on to CPA networks as a merchant.

The way the big CPA networks operate is that they get they get the funds from the merchant and pay affiliates for their commissions. They need to make sure that the merchant will be able to pay them and with good reasons. If the merchant is unable to pay the network for the commissions generated, the CPA company is stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. If they pay affiliates out of their own pockets, they risk taking a big loss if the merchant folds without paying them. If they refuse to pay the affiliates (under most terms of service, it is their right to do so if they don’t get paid by the merchant), they will get the scorn of webmasters everywhere who often spent great amounts of money in advertising for promoting the offers as well. Tales of “Network X is a scam they didn’t pay me!!!!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!!” will rapidly fill up forums and blogs everywhere, leaving the network in full damage control mode. Potential webmasters who would sign up for the network will now avoid it. Current ones will start dropping their offers in fear of this situation happening again.

Due to all of this, many networks will need you to deposit an amount in excess of $10 000 before even considering running your offers. You will also need cash for various overhead expenses: product creation, the design of your main site and scripts, hosting, landing page design, etc. You aren’t starting your own car company or cell phone provider, so you don’t need millions. But this is not something that can be started with pocket change either.

How do you get funding? A few options are available for you. You could enlist the help of private investors. There are forums where entrepreneurs and investors meet to discuss funding various start-up businesses. You could ask a bank for financing. You could also see if the government in your country/state provides grants or loans to entrepreneurs. Since you will probably need to hire a few helpers and therefore create employment opportunities, this might qualify you for some form of help from the government. The important thing is that unless you have the cash at hand, you will need to spend some time actively looking for funding options for this project. It won’t be easy, but others have done it before and so can you.

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Optimizing An Opt In Email List Page


Keeping your email opt in page clean and professional is important to showing your users trust and respect. Make sure you emphasize privacy and the purpose of your list. List the benefits of being a member of your email list such as giveaways, free information, gifts, or whatever benefits your list might have. This helps gain trust right away from your users and makes them feel like they will benefit from joining your list, rather than giving away their privacy to a third party. Trust is the most important thing you can build on your opt in page.

The opt in email page takes some time to perfect, but the main objective is to keep the person interested enough to want to give you their personal information such as an email address to offer them solicited information. This is known as opting in to receive the information and allows you to send them related information. Most people will not simply put in their information if they see no incentive or gains that they would receive for doing so. This is where you would provide a free gift for giving you their information. This allows you to provide a free gift as the ethical bribe to earn their email address information.

This means that you will be tasked with gaining the trust of opt in subscribers. The more that you work to gain the trust of the potential subscribers, the more likely they will be to opt in. Once you do get their trust to give you their information you will have to continue earning their trust. Sending them the free gift via auto-response scripts is important to utilize. Do not bombard them with spam and offers they do not need.

Delivering on the join request is very important. You will have to ensure that they will be receiving important information that they will want to read without asking them to buy anything at first. Once gaining their trust has gone on for a few days to a week, your email responses could be tailored to ask them politely to purchase a product. If they do not continue on, the next email should outline why they should buy it. After this, the emails should explain why not using the product is less effective than other products or methods. This will usually provide them with a reason to purchase within a set time frame if their interest is caught well enough.

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