How to steal a website and its visitors for your business

Wanted for stealing my websiteHave you seen this man? If so, report him to the police immediately. He’s taken over my website for his own financial gain without paying me a cent. That can’t be legal, right?

Developing a website for your new business is becoming more common than buying business cards, and is often the first step before selling your first widget. But doing so can be expensive and in the end, yield no better results than that unopened box of cards with your name on them sitting next to you right now.

As simple “business card” websites (yes, the industry really does call it that) become more prevalent, fighting for traffic, legitimacy, and hopefully a sale seems like an exercise in futility for all except those with deep pockets. And then to recoup your expenses, you jack up your prices, making the sale that much more difficult.

Luckily, the Web of 2010 still has a place for pirates and bandits, willing to think outside the box and take measures into their own hands. After all, why build your own website when you can hijack someone else’s for free?

 

  1. Locate your Target
    The magic formula here is pretty much the same as stealing (or business, in general) – minimum risk, maximum reward. In our case, risk is the competition, and reward is the target audience. I use this same formula when targeting keywords for SEO – find the keywords that are searched the most, but have the lowest number of results (organic) or cost (PPC). In our scenario, you can use some services such as Alexa to find out approximately how popular a site is, and then eyeball the site to see how easy it is to steal (see step 2). Of course, your target doesn’t have to be a website. It can be a mailing list or LinkedIn/Facebook/Yahoo!/Google group (abide by list/group rules and nettiquette for long-term results).
  2. Be the expert
    You chose your field because you can do it better than most people. Who cares if the newspaper doesn’t call you (yet) for your opinion on the story. Even if you know 5% more than the average Joe, you’re an expert in their eyes (that’s all that qualifies me to write articles like these). But it’s not enough to know more, you have to show it. Most sites, just like this one, allow visitors to submit comments on articles, if not complete articles or other content. Since content helps with search engine exposure, sites take a “the more, the merrier” approach. Be the first to submit a comment, and reply first to other visitors’ comments, even before the original author. Submit testimonials with your name attached. Make sure that your name, e-mail, and/or URL are easily accessible. Any visitor to your newly stolen site could be a potential client, so make sure they know how to reach you.
That’s it. If you’re persistent in maintaining control of your stolen site, you’ll be bringing in rich leads and customers in no time. Just don’t tell them you heard it from me.

And tell Yonatan that I’m coming for him…

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How to be a shitty client

Here’s a great video putting in to perspective how most clients are treating their vendors. Thanks for the link, Shalom C.

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Twitter your way to your next project

In my first post in this series (which was never written), entitled "7 days of Twitter", I discussed my 7 day experiment using Twitter to decide if it could become a fun or worthwhile tool. In a nutshell,

  1. I joined Twitter
  2. I installed Yoono, a browser sidebar which allows for pop-up alerts and easy access to my Twitter feed and Facebook feed, and the ability to post to one or both of those without going to each site and waiting for pages to load, etc.
  3. I followed anyone in my address book who had a Twitter account, and began to manually spider those accounts to find other people who seemed active and/or interested.
  4. I discovered how "ADHD" I could become, as I became attacked by a barrage of Tweet alerts, each one grabbing me away from my work, often teasing me enough to follow a link to read/see more.
  5. I was in the middle of hundreds of Tweets about how Gmail was not working for them, or down altogether, and somehow felt "plugged-in" to this exclusive network of people who are in "the know" up to the second. I began going to sleep later and waking-up earlier just to check my feed and see if I missed anything.
  6. I resented Twitter, loved Twitter, dropped lots of annoying Tweeters, added a few more, would going on long Twitter binges, and then shut off the app so I could get hold of my life… repeat.
  7. I wish there was a happier ending.

Anyway, the other day I thought, "can I find my next client on Twitter?" I looked at my feed, but didn’t see any clients there. Most people expect the opportunity to hit them in the feed, but chances are it won’t happen. So I turned to search.twitter.com, punched in my keywords, and started browsing. Around 3 hours previously in the timeline, I found a few Re-Tweets and the original Tweet, looking for someone just like me. (A Re-Tweet is passing on a message to your network which you deem spread-worthy.) I went to the author’s page, checked out his website, filled out a contact form, and kept searching. A little later I got a message back with a phone number. I followed up, sent a quote, yada yada yada, I didn’t get the client. But the point is, if you’re going to be proactive in reaching interested clients, here’s one more free and still not over-saturated method (based on my experience).

Do you think it’ll work for you?

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Land that dream telecommuting job

For a quick definition of telecommuting, see this post.

As per the suggestion there, you can check job boards who either let you select "telecommute" instead of entering your location, or simply including the word "telecommute" in your search. But job boards alone may not be enough.

Here’s what worked for me:
Besides keeping an eye on traditional job boards, I decided to check CraigsList regularly. If you’re not familiar with CraigsList, it’s a simple classifieds site divided by region for almost anything imaginable (including Adult-related material, but that’s neither here nor there.) Finding posts outside of your region, or a selected region, is not intuitive, as browsing or searching is restricted to one region at a time. For this reason, I believed that searching for a telecommuting job on CraigsList, if I could do it intelligently, would give me an advantage. Since telecommuting *usually* allows for candidates outside of your region, you have an advantage by searching multiple regions and presenting yourself as a professional, qualified, and potentially very affordable candidate. (CraigsList describes their advantage over job boards here.)

I looked for a number of online resources for searching many or all CraigsList locations, but didn’t find anything suitable. I finally came across a Windows program called CraigsList Reader,  that allows me to do exactly what I want. I selected to search all jobs (not gigs, as those are usually for short-term work, and I was after a full-time position), and locations that are either English-speaking or "Western" countries, as I wasn’t looking to compete for a third-world paycheck. I clicked "Advanced Search", entered my search term, and selected "Telecommuting" under jobs, and off we go. I also limited the results to 7 days, since I was doing this search once a week and wanted only the latest results.

The program runs in the background, and returns all relevant results. From here, you have to use common sense to decide:

  • if this is appropriate for my needs – some ads specify only local candidates, required face-to-face meetings, and no offshore companies.If this is the case, don’t waste your time.
  • where to send your resume – is there an e-mail or online application specified in the ad, or do you write to the auto-generated e-mail address (which forwards to the correct address).
  • what subject to use on the e-mail – does the ad instruct what to use, or simply use the ad subject
  • how to personalize the e-mail/cover letter – is there a company name, or other relevant information, which can make me appear that I’ve done my research, am familiar with the organization, and feel qualified for the work.
  • full disclosure or get your foot in the door first – I decided to make it very clear that I was very qualified, was a US citizen who was fluent in English and familiar with US culture, but I "happened" to be in Israel. The recipient who ended up hiring me was Jewish, and this might have given me an advantage over even local candidates. Another recipient stated that he had filled the position, but that his wife was Israeli and he’d be happy to hire from Israel in the future. You might opt to simply portray yourself as very qualified, but not stress that you’d be working from Israel until you piqued their interest.
  • to include more information – as with any job post, you should read it carefully to see what "extra" information to include, such as resume, portfolio, samples, blog, LinkedIn profile, salary expectation, salary history, and references.

You can also use this program to search the "gigs" for short-term work, but remember that you may be competing with Indians and other non-local freelancers who can easily outbid you, so make sure to focus on your benefits.

Be persistent, accommodating, professional, and excellent.
Good luck!

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Q&A: JobShuk Article Guidelines

I recently received the following question:

I wanted to know if JobShuk has any specific guidelines for articles.

I took the word "article" to mean that the content should be… well, content. Interesting and hopefully useful information, which still serves the purpose of promoting the writer’s business.
However, a lot of recent articles have been 2-5 line advertisements.

I have been spending a lot of time on each article to write real content. The "reward" is that my article temporarily appears in the JobShuk Home page "Articles" list. However, when my articles immediately get bumped off the Home page by 2-5 line advertisements, I think to myself that either I do not need to invest too much time writing articles, or the writers of the super-short ads may need to be provided with some guidelines as to what an article should be.

I know this message may sound petty and resentful, but like the rest of us JobShukkers, I need to advertise. If I can do that more time-efficiently by writing super-short ads and posting them as articles, I would like to know that. Perhaps JobShuk could post some guidelines as to what an article should be (ie is there a minimum length, can it be a blatant advertisement, should it contain useful information, etc)?

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that I really love JobShuk! It is a great platform for advertising and networking, and a pleasure to use.

 I responded as follows:

 The articles/blog section was conceived to add value and content to your JobShuk presence, without overcrowding your main profile. The articles could be used to present a portfolio for people checking out your profile, or be a way to attract people to your profile and ultimately hire you.

The homepage placement of the ads is only one way to get people into your articles/profile. More commonly, people visit the articles via the weekly newsletter or directly from search engines. I wouldn’t worry too much about other articles sweeping yours off the homepage. Just keep them coming on a regular basis, and you’ll continue to see the rewards.

I may not be in complete agreement with my partners, but I believe that visitors can quickly discern and filter between the useful content and authors, and those who post uninteresting, irrelevant, or inappropriate information. Shouting the loudest might get you heard briefly, but if you’ve got something interesting to say, people will stay and listen.

 Keep those articles coming, and keep your questions coming too!

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80 Random People can’t be Wrong

When I went online to find a new printer/fax/scanner, I never imagined I’d have such a wonderful experience. Before I go on, I’d like to say that I’m by no means an Israel basher – I’ve had some recent customer service issues with companies all over the world. But the stereotype remains that Israeli companies lack customer support, and hopefully we can rid ourselves of that concept shortly.

I began browsing around zap.co.il for a good-looking, affordable printer in Israel. I found a model I liked, being sold the cheapest at some site I’d never heard of, officer.co.il. I placed the order online and went on with my day. Later that day, I get a call from the company stating that they have a similar model in an open-box, and they can guarantee that it works like new, and give me 33% back on my purchase price. I hesitantly accepted the offer.

The next day, which happened to be the day before Passover, a messanger arrived with my printer. Maybe I glossed over the fine print, but I didn’t realize the free shipping meant it would come the next day. Wow!

I opened the box that afternoon to realize that the model I bought was an older model (without a paper feeder, a feature I rarely use), but the sale price was still a great deal. But when I looked through the included items, I couldn’t find the ink cartridges. I opened the printer case, and they weren’t there either. I left a message with the customer service, as they had closed for the holiday already.

They got back to me after the holiday weekend, and had me look through the box and the printer. They then sent out another messanger with the replacement printer ink. When it arrived, I tried to stick it in, but sheepishly realized that I incorrectly identified the spot that holds the cartridges, and that I had to plug in the printer to expose the correct spot, which already held the 2 cartidges. After some moral deliberations, I called the company and admitted my mistake, offering to pay for the extra ink. They told me that they’d check with management, maybe they will include it in my next order. But in the meanwhile, I was to write a recommendation for them at Zap.

I noticed that I was the 80th recommendation, and they already had a perfect 5 star rating on all fronts. Well, 80 people can’t be wrong. Customer satisfaction does exist in Israel.

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The Jerusalem Post: Anglos hard hit by hi-tech layoffs


at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236269357893&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The wave of layoffs is having a disproportionate negative impact on English-speaking immigrants. But it is also leading to a dramatic increase in freelancers and boosting demand for multilingual sales and call center staff.

The IDT Global Israel call...

The IDT Global Israel call center, one of Jerusalem’s major employers of Anglos, laid off many of its workers at the end of last year.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

"Of course, the global economic crisis accompanied by the wave of layoffs is having a big impact on local English speakers, since a high proportion are employed in the hi-tech sector, which is continuing to lay off staff every day," Nat Gordon, director of Marksman International Personnel Ltd., a recruitment agency specializing in English-speaking staff, told The Jerusalem Post. "Amid the global economic crisis, a lot of technology and software projects from abroad have been frozen, and, as a result, local companies have been cutting English-speaking software programmers and hardware writers."

Technology companies throughout the world have been streamlining operations in recent months by firing workers, in particular in the hi-tech sector, as projects and orders diminish.

In a third round of layoffs in less than a year, Comverse Technology is poised to fire 400 to 500 employees over the next few months. SAP Israel is to lay off 20 people, Nortel Israel is putting 45 employees out of work as part of restructuring efforts and 10 percent of Cisco Systems Israel’s staff is being fired.

Gordon said the problem got worse in December when companies prepared their annual budget, started to sack in-house human-resources staff and declared a hiring freeze for 2009.

"What we are also seeing is that companies are trying to cut budget costs by sacking the most expensive staff and replacing them by cheaper staff," he said.

According to Ron Machol, director of Business Development at Israemploy, an English job-listings Web site for veteran and new immigrants, the number of available jobs has decreased by 15% to 20% in recent months, while the number of job seekers is going up.

"This situation is causing salaries to go down," he told the Post. "The recruitment process is taking much longer, as companies are looking for a perfect match, or instead are taking freelancers."

Avicam Gitlin, director of JobShuk.com, which connects English-speaking freelancers in Israel with the world, said the number of freelancers seeking work and the number of global companies looking for project-based freelancers such as Web design or programming has gone up dramatically in recent months.

"Up until three months ago we recorded two new freelance profiles a day, while now we register up to 10 a day," he told the Post. "Most of our profiles are freelancers in technology-related areas.

"As companies are looking for ways to cut costs, we are also seeing an increase in the demand for outsourcing projects to Israel, which means that businesses don’t have to hire or pay social benefits."

Gitlin, who is also vice president of business development at Sales Force Israel, a call center outsourcing specialist that employs native English speakers, said demand for outsourcing projects has been on the rise in recent months.

"Since September, we have seen a big increase in call center projects for companies in the US and Europe," he said. "While elsewhere people are being laid off, we are now hiring more than before."

Gitlin said the Jerusalem-based call center employs 150 to 200 people, adding, "Last month we hired 20 people, and we are looking to hire another 10 people."

Companies were on a budget due to the economic crisis, and payment has decreased 10% to 15%, he said.

"The increase in the demand for outsourcing at a time of an economic crisis is putting native English speakers in a better position to find work over, for example, locals being laid off from factories," Gitlin said. "English speakers willing to work in call centers will be able to weather the storm and get through this crisis."

Gordon said despite the recent wave of layoffs, local hi-tech companies still needed people to sell their products abroad.

"On the positive side, hi-tech companies are looking for English-speaking sales people, in particular for telemarketing and telesales," he said. "Another area of demand by global Israeli corporations is for English-speaking bookkeepers and debt collectors."

Gordon said marketing executives or technical programmers, who were making NIS 12,000 to NIS 20,000 a month before they were laid off, are not yet pursuing sales jobs with a salary of NIS 5,000 to NIS 7,000 plus commission.

"Instead, they are getting unemployment benefits for 70% of their previous salary, for a period of three months," he said.

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Wall Street Journal reports: JobShuk is right

In a recent wsj.com article, Joanie Ruge, senior vice president at Adecco North America, a staffing company based in Melville, N.Y, urged:

Look for temporary, project-based work by contacting an employment agency like Adecco. These jobs offer excellent opportunities to network and learn a new skill or industry, plus you can still interview for permanent jobs. The stigma used to be that temp work was for administrative assistants and that’s not really the case today. Contract employment is for really all people with skill sets and at all career levels, and there are opportunities in all industries and professions.

That sounds so familiar…

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Is JobShuk helping or hurting your Digital Footprint?

I’ve written a number of times about blogs, and how they can help your self-promotion online. But blogs are just one example of your Digital Footprint – traces left by someone’s activity in a digital environment (Wikipedia). When used properly, potential clients can find your services, or learn of your expertise by the data submitted online. But there are a number of reported cases of people losing their jobs over controversial pictures on their MySpace pages, for example.

This hit home recently when I received this e-mail from a JobShuk member:

Hi,

First of all, thank you for your wonderful site.

I have a small suggestion following an angry message I got today from a potential client, telling me that I am a bad translator because I can’t write a proper English sentence.

After a short investigation, it turned out that she had stumbled on my blog profile statement (I haven’t bothered looking at the blog section). The profile was written by the computer automatically by combining my name and the information I had provided in the services section. This was the result:

"My name is Leah Aharoni and I’m a translation and editing – hebrew and all major languages. I do things when I have time, and the rest of the time, I write things here."

May be it’s not such a good idea to create automatic profile statements.

Kind regards,

leah

Leah is 100% correct. The code, a remnant of an old script, often generates a proper and silly, albeit unnecessary description. As for this issue, we’ve modified the code and corrected other users’ descriptions. To personalize this description,visit your Blog Settings.

Let us all take a lesson from this:be careful what you post about other people, be aware that what you write about yourself can be viewed by others, and it’s not arrogant to "Google" yourself every once in a while to see what others might be seeing about you.

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Search JobShuk from your browser!

Ever just want to find a service provider in Israel fast, without loading multiple pages just to get to the JobShuk search page? Now you can have JobShuk Search right from your browser. Simply install the Browser Search Plugin by going to the bottom of any page, and clicking Search Plugin. Just OK the installation, and you’re all set. Enjoy!

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