Teens and Blogs Like MySpace – Internet Safety Wake-up Call

In November of 2005, I read that a Roman Catholic high school in Sparta had ordered its students to remove personal blogs from the Internet, in the name of protecting them from cyberpredators. Which brings me to an important question, just how can you keep your child safe online?

The Internet is a “gateway” which leads the adult predator to your child. Parents need to recognize the need to better monitor their children’s online activity. I believe that websites like xanga, myspace, and livejournal, make it all too easy for sexual predators to prey on our children.

Children are vulnerable and they don’t realize that anyone can and most likely is reading their blog entries. Both my children have blogs, however they are under moderation by both my husband and I. Frankly, as a parent of two teenagers I believe that it is up to us as parents to educate our children about the online dangers.

Children’s blogs are a pedophile’s playground, because of the easy ability to look into a child’s world. As parents we can help our children stay safe while using a blog. For information about blogging safety please visit BlogSafety.com and SafeTeens.com

Regarding sites like hi5: I’ve received several invitations from hi5, but I never signed up until November 2005. It was not long before I was removing my account. I should have read the privacy policy before I registered.

It reads: hi5 collects personal information when you register, when you use hi5, when you visit hi5 pages or the pages of certain hi5 partners. hi5 may combine information about you that we have with information we obtain from business partners or other companies. Once you register with hi5 and sign in to our services, you are not anonymous to us. hi5 collects information about your transactions with us and with some of our business partners. hi5 automatically receives and records information on our server logs from your browser.

Basically, they have spyware.

Hi5 collects your Hotmail or yahoo address lists and contacts. Once you register there is an e-mail that is sent to everyone in your address book. This e-mail is sent without your permission.

The website also requests, your hotmail and yahoo password. I never gave my password, I was not that gullible. However hi5 was still able to gather my information and contact those listed in my address book. I finally was able to delete my account, through the instructions in their help file.

In my opinion, hi5 is even worse than xanga and myspace.
I encourage all parents, whose children have an account on hi5, to log into hi5 and delete their children’s account.

Too much personal information is being revealed on these websites, making it a haven for sexual predators. Parents need to wake up.

I for one, am very concerned with websites like hi5, MySpace, Xanga, DeadJournal, Blurty, etc that encourage children to post their photos and personal information.

I strongly suggest that if your child uses the computer and you have not been monitoring their activity, it is time that you found out just what they are doing.

A report aired Dateline Friday, Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. by Rob Stafford, a Correspondent of NBC News, tells parents why they should mind MySpace. If you have not seen this report, I suggest you take a moment to view it at:

You owe it to your children.

Which brings me to my next concern, the Internet is a scary place, filled with all kind of strange people. I believe that when you post your child’s picture on the net, you put them at risk.

Did you know that your personal information, such as your home phone number and address can easily be found on the internet? If this isn’t one reason to make you reconsider posting your child’s picture on the internet, how about that in this day and age, photos can be digitally altered and appear on porn sites.

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children more than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the internet every week.

Donna Rice Hughes of Protectkids.com states, “… the demand for pornographic images of babies and toddlers on the internet is soaring.” (Prof. Max Taylor, Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003). More babies and toddlers are appearing on the net and the abuse is getting worse. Images are more torturous and sadistic than they were was before.

The typical age of children found on pornography sites is between 6 and 12, but the profile is getting younger (Prof. Max Taylor, Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003).

The U.S. Customs Service estimates that there are more than 100,000 web sites offering child pornography – which is illegal worldwide. Red Herring Magazine, 1/18/02)”

I don’t consider myself paranoid, but I don’t post my children’s pictures on the internet and I believe that you shouldn’t either. We all have cute children and are proud of them. But parents, please use some common sense. Keep your child safe and out of the arms of child predators.

A good website to check out is:

Say no to children’s pictures on the web and for goodness sake, monitor your child’s internet activity. Our children are our most valuable asset, love them and protect them.

The Justification For Online Marketing to Mature Age Consumers

As an active and vocal proponent of internet based marketing to Australian mature age consumers, I am often questioned on the financial benefits of an increased emphasis on online, versus offline, marketing activities.

What is the targeted Return on Investment (RoI) that will justify the proposed expenditure on our website, or writing blogs, or other social networking?

The inference in that question is that the recommended online expenditure will be additional to current spending for offline marketing and sales activities, but in reality that is rarely the case. Almost without exception, the expenditure allocated to online activities will be redirected from current offline spending, with demonstrable improvement in achieving marketing and sales KPI’s.

One significant benefit of online activity is access to an array of “same-day statistics”, such as Google Analytics, to evaluate results.

While the remainder of this article will cite scenarios relating to the developers and marketers of Retirement Village and Aged Care facilities (“purpose built aged housing” to quote Prof. Andrew Beer), the takeaway is equally appropriate for all businesses that target Australian mature age consumers.

The challenge to correctly predict the Return on Investment, even if the outlay is substituted for existing expenditure, depends on the balance of demand and supply in the operation, or specific facility, in question.

The RoI justification is simplest where supply exceeds demand; in other words where stock is available for sale, or where resales are taking an unacceptable time to achieve settlement. In this case the proposed expenditure on a website rejuvenation, including basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), will result in a financially viable increase in the quantity and quality of enquiries to feed your Sales Process.

Even assuming your closing ratios of enquiry: registration of interest: contract: settlement do not improve on the rates achieved from offline enquiry, and that is an improbable worst case, the incremental settlements generated by online activity will more than justify the investment required to establish and maintain a “traffic attracting” online presence.

From a quantity of enquiries viewpoint, it is significantly more cost-effective to increase the flow of enquiries via online activity than traditional offline marketing, and there is a quality of enquiry consideration, which can be equally beneficial.

This is achieved, firstly, because the online enquiry can be more tightly targeted than offline marketing, utilising what we know about the prospective residents we most want to attract – the area they currently live in, their financial status, their affinities and characteristics.

The next scenario in degree of difficulty to justify online marketing expenditure is where demand and supply are reasonably balanced.

The assumption in this case is, say, a well established Retirement Village with a small number of recently completed units available for initial sale, with ongoing resale turnaround timing at an acceptable level. To achieve this balance of demand and supply, we assume necessitates “industry average” expenditure in offline marketing such as press advertising, printed brochures and marketing collateral, and printed newsletters to your database.

Industry experience in this scenario confirms there is potential for a significant reduction in the “cost per enquiry” – in some cases from an average offline cost per enquiry in excess of $1000 to less than $100 online. This online cost assumes some expenditure for an external consultant and web designer to facilitate the website rejuvenation and to maximise “organic” search results, and limited expenditure on Pay-Per-Click online advertising.

If this article achieves nothing more than encouraging operators of Retirement Village and Aged Care facilities to collate and compare their cost per enquiry for each source of prospective residents (press ads, radio, newsletters, online directories, referrals etc), then it will be a success.

In addition to the potential to vastly reduce your cost per enquiry, there are other significant opportunities to reduce offline marketing costs. The printing and mailing of brochures, newsletters and other marketing collateral will reduce every time a prospective resident goes online to view, and possibly download, the information they are seeking.

The scenario in which it is most difficult to justify directing marketing dollars to online activities, is one where demand significantly exceeds supply, and there is virtually nothing spent on offline marketing.

The justification in this case is based on reducing the time investment of sales resources into prospecting activities, and the average time taken to execute the steps in your Sales Process.

The world’s best salesperson cannot match the prospecting effectiveness of Google.

The monthly average number of Google searches in Australia for terms including “Retirement Village” is currently around 70,000, and for “Aged Care” is 450,000.

To get your share of the search traffic in your geographic area your business must have an effective online presence.

The internet has caused major change in most aspects of how today’s business is carried out, and within the sales arena, none more significant than the change in the balance of knowledge between buyer and seller. Before the internet’s emergence, buyers had very little choice other than approaching the providers of the products or services they were seeking, and gathering the information they needed to take their purchasing decision via face-to-face or telephone conversations with the sales representatives of the competing providers.

Today’s buyers are able to evaluate the competing providers, and to gather most of the information they need, before disclosing their interest to anyone. This is achieved via the websites of the potential providers, and increasingly through online forums, blogs and interest groups, where commercial reputations are enhanced, or destroyed, on a daily basis.

Previously the initial contact point, the receptionist or sales representative, was in the “make or break” position of determining whether a sales enquiry would proceed to the next step. Today that initial contact point, with a rapidly reducing number of exceptions, is your internet presence.

The potential saving in this scenario relates to the time required to execute the steps of your sales process. The prospective resident starts the Sales Process with a significant knowledge advantage relative to their equivalents of 5, or even 2 years ago.

There is a huge caveat is this fact.

The need to reverse the seller orientation in the early steps of your Sales Process, in favour of genuine buyer orientation, has never been more important, or more urgent.
But that’s for another article to pursue.

My final point is one I hope will be my most provocative.

If you believe the emphasis on online marketing activities is appropriate for other industries, but not yet relevant for the buyer demographic in the Retirement Village and Aged Care markets, you are perpetuating a very expensive strategic error, from which your enlightened peers are enjoying a compelling competitive advantage.

The Power of Videos for B2B Lead Generation

Online, video is sky-rocketing. It is becoming a popular medium of communication when it comes to influence purchase decisions. One factor that is responsible for this huge video explosion is mobile devices. Smartphone’s and tablets are being largely used to browse the web and access emails. Videos are easy to view, consume and share in such case. It also serves as a powerful medium to educate and tell your story.

Videos create a visual relationship with your customers. They convey how you speak and how much you value your customers. If done properly it can be more powerful in driving potential customers to you. Videos can work wonders for B2B companies. They offer a chance to accelerate the sales cycle and capture a prospects attention like no other media.

Here are three reasons why video could be such a good fit with other content marketing efforts and improve online sales.

1. Why Videos for B2B Companies?

Video content is everywhere. Even industries like manufacturing, healthcare or the industrial sectors have started employing the power of video to reach their targeted customers and convey how their products or services could address their pain points.

“In an average month it is said that more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube. According to Forbes, 75 percent of executives watch work-related videos on business-related websites weekly and more than half watch work-related videos on YouTube weekly.”

2. Get More Landing Fields from Contents

Many lead generation companies suggest creating videos by simply reusing the content by turning each asset into a video.

In a study, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America carried out jointly by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute, it was found that video had the largest increase of any content marketing tactic in 2012, jumping by 70 percent from an already hot 54 percent increase in 2011.

Videos also create a huge valuable experience by lending you a whole new platform to engage your customers. It also adds even greater value on your current content assets. You can embed videos in your blog, YouTube or link them through your email marketing.

3. lead generation companies recommend using Videos to Influence Customers

“A study from the Web Video Marketing Council and Flip Media suggests that the use of video embedded in an email is a powerful tool, with 88 percent reporting that email with integrated video improves campaign performance, 76 percent acknowledging that it generates high click-through rates, and 72 percent believing that their prospective clients are more likely to buy after viewing video content sent via an email.”

You can record premium quality videos using simple technologies. Videos can create a huge influence, engage, and show up creativity without huge investment. If you find videos effective for promotion of your company but find it difficult to make them; there are many lead generation companies that will do it for you. Hence, consider the power of embracing videos to add an enticing level of engagement to your marketing efforts.

4. Add a Dash Of Human Element

Many business websites lack the human element in their website. Use video marketing campaign to provide a face to your business and display a glimpse of your corporate culture. When other people see your business’ faces it automatically makes them to trust you and the information that you deliver them. lead generation companies thus emphasise to have online videos to provide the human element dynamics.

5. B2B Events – A Wealth of Video Opportunities

Participating in B2B events gives you a wealth of video contents at every conference the company hosts’. You get to deliver views about your products, get incredible access to key spokespeople, have first-hand interviews and recordings about peoples’ views etc. You can add in your videos the hundreds of delegates who can provide testimonials. So, lead generation companies suggest making the most of this on site face-to-face opportunity.

The Bottom Line…

It’s very obvious and an undeniable fact that videos are the content with the most viral potential. YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine, as many people love to watch videos than reading contents. And if you are neglecting videos, you are neglecting one of the largest sources and potential of lead-generating content available.