Banner Ad Scams Too Good To Be True

Banner Ad ScamsIf you have a website or blog you have probably been hit up by “professionals” who are interested in “helping you” in a variety of ways. Sadly, many of these so-called pros are actually out to scam you. They may be after your money or they may be looking to infect your computer or your website with malware.

I am not an IT expert, I know enough about my computer and coding to get the job done–most of the time. I do have a good sense when something feels squirrelly. One of my sites was hacked once and I can tell you from personal experience that it was a royal PIA to get it cleaned up. Frankly, I don’t understand how people get their jollies this way–that site was not making any money, so it certainly wasn’t to make financial gain!

I digress…as I so often do 😉

The latest came through my contact form. The good news is that I can safely read the messages from my contact form. The other good news is that I was smart enough, awake enough, alert to the possibility enough (you choose the descriptor you think is right) to NOT click on the link.

Whenever I have a question about if something is legitimate I do a simple Google search. And guess what I found this time? Yep, lots of people are reporting this scam.

Here is the content of the message I got (please do not go to the URL listed–I have definitely NOT activated the link, but want you to be able to see the full scam)

Subject:     Contact Form Results
From:    Josephine Bergson <

Josephine Bergson wrote:

My name is Josephine Bergson representing the advertising department of the LLT
Consulting company. We are interested to place ads (banners), of your choice, on
your websites.

Design and sizes can be seen on our website at
Depending on the banner size you choose we can pay up to $950.00/month.

If you are interested to become an advertising partner please let me hear from you.

Kind Regards,
Josephine Bergson


Sounds great, doesn’t it? Too good to be true? That’s because it is!

This might be a great deal, but one of the flags is the dollar amount the are “offering”…but you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Read what a couple IT/high tech guys have to say about this scam (this links ARE active and click away!)

Michael Sheehan AKA HighTechDad:

and Len at Telapost:

Both these guys give good hints on how to determine if what you are being offered is spam. I love this part, do a simple “who is” search and “if the domain is new, registered to a funny name, in a foreign country, renewed recently, and does not belong to a legitimate sounding company you can be sure that the email has ill intentions.” (Thanks Len for that quote).

Also, be realistic, not greedy. If your site doesn’t get significant traffic (yet) then you probably won’t be getting these kinds of offers. If the money seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Clicking on links can load your computer with a malware or trojan. Len stated that he believes this single scam has affected hundreds of machines or more already. If you are one of the unfortunates who did click the link, check these guys out for suggestions on how to clean your machine.

To your successful online business–and pooh on scammers!

Social Proof is in the Pudding

Social proof is a common catch phrase these days, but what does it mean?

It is being suggested by many “experts” that social proof is something new, something that business people didn’t have to think about before.friends talking

Perhaps I just think of social proof more globally than some other internet consultants, but I think that idea is crazy. Social proof is not a new local business marketing concept at all, but how it works today is quite different from the past when it was neighbors talking over the fence or over a beer.

Businesses have always relied on social proof in one form or another. It is just that the form changes and now we have a convenient label for it.

Word of mouth advertising has long been the standard for social proof, and is most certainly not a contemporary construct. Businesses large and small have long known that if they can get their happy customers to tell other people about them and recommend them that it is the least expensive and most successful advertising campaign they have.

Social proof has always been about customers indicating their support for your business. That has not changed.

What has changed is HOW they demonstrate their support.

Today your customers are online every day. They get most of their information from the internet, more than the television or radio, more than print publications. And this trend continues to accelerate as we are seeing the millennials and younger folks ever more tied to their electronic devices.

Whether shopping locally or buying something across the globe, more and more people are relying on the internet to gather information before making a purchase.

Social proof has always been part of that research process, it is just easier to get these days. You no longer have to talk to lots of different people to learn their opinions and experiences–it is all there online.

What is social proof in current terms then? It is how your business is supported online. This can be done by customers posting a review on Yelp, Angie’s List, or any number of other review sites. It can be comments left on your blog or your Facebook or G+ page. It can even be that someone links to your business website on their blog or Facebook page, or that someone shares a post that you have media icons

How do you get more social proof for you business?

Excuse me for stating the obvious, but you have to get social. Nope, you don’t have to do it all. Unless you have a lot more time on your hands then most business owners I know, you can’t anyway.

Learn a little bit about the various types of social media and pick one, give it a go and see if you like it. I’m a firm believer that if you enjoy it, you will have better results. If you find you aren’t enjoying it, you can try a different avenue.

If you are a visual person or you have a visual type business, then Pinterest might be a good choice for you. If you naturally talk in sound bites, you might try Twitter. If you are in a B2B field, or are looking for professional connections, check out LinkedIn. Facebook is gaining ground on the major search engines and gives businesses some more flexibility in their posts and pages. These are just a few of the many options that are available to your local business.

There is no one best social media, one that works for every single business in every single market. Find where your customers are online and start there. Then dive into that online “pudding” and get some social proof.

Facebook vs Blogging for Business

Both Facebook and blogging are powerful tools in the Social Media Marketing tool box, so when people ask if they should focus on Facebook or a blog the answer is a straight-forward: It Depends.

Pros of Facebook: the readership–there are over 600 million active users, you can reach out to people by searching on their name–great for finding people with unusual names like mine, maybe not so easy for the John Smiths of the world; advertising–you can advertise on Facebook relatively inexpensively when compared to Google AdWords; connecting–okay, this has to do with the readership, but it is such an important part of Facebook that it deserves a second mention, introduce yourself, your product, your service to lots of people; fun–people enjoy being on Facebook, it is viewed as a fun & friendly place, some of the games and apps may not be right for your business but they are there and they do bring people in

Pros of Blogging: control–as long as you host your blog (as opposed to the free blog options) you can put pretty much anything you want on your blog, content, advertising, photos, products, without the threat that it will be taken down or you will be shut down by Facebook; Branding & Appearance–sure we build Facebook FanPages and have them look consistent with your brand, but the look is still Facebook with your brand on it, whereas on a blog you can make the page look anyway you want–it IS your brand; Tools–there are so many more tools available to you on your own blog–and easy to use if you create a (not .com) blog, you can build a site to function in ways that no Facebook page can, at least not yet; Content Options--with a blog you can build an entire website around your information, it might be a membership site whether free or paid, you can schedule your content to be delivered in sequence or post it on a variety of pages, you have lots more options for organizing and delivering your content; Advertising revenue–sure you can advertise on Facebook, but with a blog you can actually have people advertise on your site if you desire and find it appropriate thereby creating a source of income for yourself and your business; Google search results–your blog is a website as far as the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are concerned, and your blog will have a chance of showing up in those search results.

Truly, both Blogging and Facebook deserve a place in your marketing platform. They serve different functions for most businesses and like most business tools, should be used differently. Do keep in mind if your goal is to upload a lot of original content, to be a source of information, if you put it on Facebook you don’t technically own it. OK, in theory they have backed down and said you own your content…but since you don’t control the site it would be possible that your page could come down and all your content would go with it.

Bottom line, you want to have all your Social Media Marketing in place, including your blog and Facebook page and use each medium in a way that is best suited for it. Where you begin depends on your business and your marketing goals. Ideally both with guidance from someone who has been there before you, whether that is a mentor, experienced business adviser or a Social Media Manager.

Adding RSS Feed

If your blog theme does not have a built in option for allowing readers to subscribe via RSS feed, you can easily create this.

  1. Find an image that you want to use for your RSS feed. rss feed icon
    You can use the standard RSS feed image or modify it for match the colors of your blog
  2. Upload the image to your blog’s media library
  3. Add a text widget in the sidebar
  • Title it “Subscribe”
  • Copy the image URL from your Media library and place in the text widget.
    • The url will look like this “”
    • If you look at the page live at this point you will just see that link.
  • Make the image a clickable link
    • Create a temporary post or page on your blog and insert your rss image on that post or page
    • Go to the html view and copy the code for the image
    • Paste that code into a text document or notepad
    • Look for the part of the code: href=””
    • Replace the entire url between the quotes with your feed url
    • Copy this modified code and paste it into your text box
  • Delete the page or post that you created

Voila! You have an RSS subscribe button in your sidebar!