Sharing Personal Information Online – How Safe Is It?

To share or not to share; that is the question. Making a reference to Hamlet, the question isn’t as severe a decision as his. There is the possibility that you may lose your life by someone stealing your identity. Today’s Internet conforms to you and your needs/wants. Most online marketers identify with what people are asking for and then directing ads in that direction. “Without ever having to type a word, Pandora knew what music you liked and played it on your computer. This is exactly what Facebook’s new “instant personalization” feature does.” (Dave Paresh 2010) How great it is when all your devices sync and everything is catered to your likes and dislikes.

The question still remains though because of the lack of privacy when multiple platforms, apps and devices are all sharing your personal information. Perhaps, I shouldn’t share anything online. I could choose to never shop online. I would just like to say that if bad guys want your stuff they would get it. “Locks only keep out honest people” (Paul F Roy Sr spoken 1998) Internet security is the same as locks. You can lock your windows at home, lock the door and set the alarm. Online you can restrict what information is shared. There are security measures on all sites that are trusted with credit card information. There are many ways to lock the windows and doors on the web, but if a bad guy really wants what you have they will find a way.

Personally, I lock windows and monitor what doors I have open online. I restrict much of my Facebook to friends only, and sometimes I restrict to only friends and sharing to friends of friends is not allowed. I take precautions to deter any criminals, but I know if they want something from me they could take it. I choose not to have any type of anti-virus protection on my computers. I oppose that type of program. That is just my opinion. There are Pro’s and Con’s for everything. Be cautious, don’t open strange emails and set online security to suit your comfort level. Like it or not the world is going completely online. Just monitor your use and information given out.

Dave Paresh. April 25,2010. Online information sharing has its benefits. Daily Trojan. March 6, 2012. http://dailytrojan.com/2010/04/25/online-information-sharing-has-its-benefits/

Veterans and Military Supporters – Be sure to check out www.vetawarenesscoalition.org

Purchasing Habits

My purchasing habits tend to be minor re-purchases because of brand loyalty. I reflected on my recent purchases (and had to check my bank to see), and what I realized is that I make a lot of small purchases. I smoke Marlboro cigarettes. When the store doesn’t have “my kind” of cigarettes I will grudgingly purchase another brand that is new to me because of price.

If I analyze this single minor re-purchase habit I find that my brand loyalty overrides my desire to spend less money. I will grumble over price increases, but if they have it then I will buy the same brand and style every time. Marlboro has such a strong salience that anytime I think of buying cigarettes, even for other people, I will always think of Marlboro first. When I am unable to get the specific cigarettes I want, then I revert to price shopping.

Following the steps of buying, the first step is my need for cigarettes. Then instantly moving to step two, I look around the store for a familiar alternative. Not seeing anything familiar that I would want as an alternative, I always will ask, “What’s the cheapest? Do you have any specials?” I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the store so I will buy whatever is presented. Afterwards, smoking the cigarettes I hadn’t originally wanted, I analyze whether the flavor and smoothness was worth the purchase.

The other small purchase I make, usually daily and with the cigarette purchase, is a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I get the same coffee every day. I know the price ($2.63), and I usually visit the same store. I have the brand loyalty, again here, by always buying Dunkin’ Donuts coffee as opposed to Starbucks. I do not like the taste of Starbucks coffee, and they don’t put the cream and sugar in the coffee for you.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a brand I know, and I have seen their logo since I was a young child. The first time I went to buy coffee there was no thought other than to go there. None of these purchases were made online, but I have often considered buying coffee and Marlboro cigarettes online.

Online purchases are rare, however my credit card does get quite a bit of use. I’m always nervous buying online that someone might steal my information and take all my money. My last online purchase was actually a major new purchase. I had to renew the web hosting for my website. When we started Veteran Awareness Coalition I knew we would need a web site, and I was very happy to build it. The biggest question was where to have the site hosted.

GoDaddy is probably the largest company to choose from. They do tons of marketing on the web, radio, television and even a racecar. Personally, I have a lot of negative impressions towards big businesses. I believe that most big businesses have lost touch with the consumer. Automated telephone systems are a very large discouraging factor. All of these negative impressions were true in my last purchases from GoDaddy. My knowledge of their company and brand made me not want to buy their product and services.

This purchase being a major new purchase meant that I had to do some research. I searched the web for company names. Then I searched for reviews of a few companies. Facebook was the next obvious location for information. I wanted to know if my friends have needed hosting, and I wanted to know what they used, what they thought of the companies I was looking at and why they used or didn’t use the companies.

I finally chose a company that was recommended by a friend on Facebook, and the company was unknown to me. I chose a company that is based and 100% operated in the United States. When I called the company a person answered the phone. Their prices were reasonable, and I never even compared them to GoDaddy. I was so impressed by the customer service that I signed right up. This whole sale provides examples on internal and external influences on a major buying decision.

External influences came from friends on Facebook for the most part. The reviews and Google searching that I did created many other external influences. The sites search placement on Google is something I look at. Internally, the negative influences about GoDaddy pushed me in another direction. My personal feelings when contacting the hosting company that I chose were a very large influence in my purchasing decision.

Consumers make purchases all the time, whether online or not. These consumers process through the five Decision Steps, and most are completely unaware they do it. Sometimes the purchase is a major new purchase, re-purchase, minor purchase or re-purchase, but it is always motivated by internal and external influences. “Could sell ice to and Eskimo” is a common phrase that describes a person who is able to influence people externally by playing on their internal influences.

Math In Entertainment

The common conception is that famous musicians make millions, and when people hear of them complaining about not having enough money they get upset. People say things like, “If you’re broke after making millions then you over spent buying mansions and cars. You don’t deserve more money if you can’t live on the millions you make.” After reading the article “Courtney Love Does The Math” (http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/) it becomes more obvious that the artists aren’t getting the money people think they are.

Over the course of four years TLC made 2% of 175 Million dollars, which definitely sounds like a lot of money. Doing the math we realize that 2% is only three and a half million to split between the three over the course of four years. Breaking it down to those amounts means that each person earned approximately 1.2 million in four years. That means that their annual earnings were only $291,667. Two hundred ninety thousand is an impressive annual income to most people, but there are many more expenses for the artists, and in comparison the fact that the record company makes far more on each sale seems a bit unfair.

Courtney Love talks more about the inequities of recording studios verses the artists by mentioning the number of albums released compared to the number that go platinum. She says in her article “The status quo gives us a boring culture. In a society of over 300 million people, only 30 new artists a year sell a million records. By any measure, that’s a huge failure (p. 4).” The percentage of albums that go platinum annually in relation to the number released is a mere .09%. Referring to a “boring culture” is directly referencing the fact that there are many more great musicians out there that are not reaching the potential fans. In my opinion she believes that the record labels are limiting the artists and therefore denying Americans different music. She notes further into the article that “The corporate filtering system, which is the system that brought you (in my humble opinion) a piece of crap like “Mambo No. 5″ and didn’t let you hear the brilliant Cat Power record or the amazing new Sleater Kinney record, obviously doesn’t have good taste anyway. But we’ve never paid major label/distributors for their good taste.(p. 4)” I would have to agree that music labels are controlling what is presented to the public, and denying us some great music.

Toni Braxton, another artist, had 188 million in sales before filing for bankruptcy. This sounds like a lot of money, but breaking it down to see what she actually made reveals a completely different view. Of the 188 million in sales Toni Braxton made 2%, which means that she made 34 cents on every sale and the record company made $16.66. This is honestly a gross injustice considering they are selling the artists work. When we continue to look at the amounts artists make in relation to the record company the injustices only become more apparent.

It has been calculated that the recording industry earns about 40 BILLION dollars annually. In comparison, of the approximate 273,000 artists working with each making an average of only 30,000 a year; we can conclude that the artists are only receiving 3 dollars for every 4 million the industry makes! If you translate this ratio into a common worker’s life people would be outraged.

Courtney talks about the differences in other forms of art and how those artists actually own their creations. She specifically mentions web design, and how she feels recording artists should be treated with the same respect as web designers. The field of web design is constantly growing and “the starting pay is expected to rise 6.6 per cent to a range of $75,000 to $120,000 [in 2012]” (Darah Hansen http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2011/11/28/seven-promising-jobs-for-2012/ ) The injustice of not having ownership seems to be only in the recording arts industry. Competing with the industry by attempting to provide free music there are many “shareware” type websites that people can freely share their MP3 files and more with others. The industry has tried to compensate with their own dot coms and YouTube profiles attempting to make paid access to music easier, and the Federal government is working on shutting down all the sharing sites. Courtney says it best though stating “Music is a service to its consumers, not a product. I live on tips. Giving music away for free is what artists have been doing naturally all their lives.” (http://www.salon.com/2000/06/14/love_7/ )

Regardless of what industry you are in, understanding the mathematical way to compute your earnings or even a return on investment (ROI) for money paid out is essential. People need to be aware of cost comparisons, and how to figure out whether they are getting a fair deal. I believe that this philosophy extends even beyond recording and entertainment artists and also applies to every employee and employer out there.

Noticing limitations of WordPress blogging

I’m sitting here watching Sweeny Todd and thinking in my SEO/marketing mind about the reasons this new blog of mine only has 97 hits. I know there are so many ways to get a blog noticed, and I have often twittered/tweeted and Re-Tweeted about ways to have a blog ready for the “big time”.

Posting from T-mobile tablet

Hello, and good evening.  I just got a tablet from t-mobile and so I felt obligated to post. I was debating between a tablet and a netbook, but with 14 days to try it out I figured why not?

I’d like to ask you all what you think of the mobile tablets.  If you have used a netbook, a tablet or an ipad please post your  comments below.

BranchOut – New Professional network on Facebook

I woke up this morning to watch all the news on Egypt, check my email and get ready for a day of social media. One of my emails was very interesting. It was simply put “FYI: I found this and thought you might want to check it out.” Indeed.

It’s a Facebook application called BranchOut, and it taps into your friends list to create a LinkedIn style professional network. It even imports your LinkedIn profile to save you the time of duplicating it! I’m still playing with it to see just what the UI is like, and how it will compare to LinkedIn. I’m curious what others think. If you are brave enough to check it out (at the risk of irritating your Facebook friends will all the posts), please comment below and let me know what you think.

Paul F. Roy Jr.

Twitter @pfroyjr

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Facebook Users Lend Profile Photos To Reveal Ad Agency’s New Name [PIC]

Mashable (a favorite of mine) posted this article today with 1200 people tweeting it.  That’s some buzz right?  I had to post a reply to the solo comment.

Please read the article by Todd Wasserman on Mashable, but I will give a brief synopsis for you as well.  These two guys named Stockholm were merging and coming out with a new name.  To market their newly formed company they decided to use social media.  They encouraged people to visit their site and use Facebook to login and thus surrender their profile photo to partially reveal the new company name.  “2,890 fans’ photos composed the full name, Ingo, over a four hour period.” (Todd Wasserman Mashable.com)

So, now you know the story, and I hope you read the whole thing.  The single comment that was posted stated that this was great, but would only work for large companies.  Of course, I put my two cents in.  Social media marketing is a skill that takes a lot of creativity to constantly come up with something no one else has done yet (Not easy).  Once you have that idea it’s just a matter of tapping into the world and creating a buzz about what you are doing.  Social media will do the rest for you.  Therefore, I say this technique in particular is not something for “large companies” only.

Social media is free, and it’s social.  Be social.  I believe that any company; I’ll say it again – any company, can use social media marketing like Ingo did to create a flurry of people logging in their Facebook pages to see what you just named your new company.  I say well done boys, and as Todd said in his article Mashable is “planning to … {create} the world’s largest real-life Facebook wall.” (Todd Wasserman Mashable.com)

 

 

Thanks for the great article Todd.

Moral of the story?  Don’t be afraid of the size of your company vs the size of others.  Be SOCIAL!