Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Olympics & Social Media Combo = Success for Japadog

Chances are you now know what a Japadog is and you had no idea about it 2 weeks ago!

Just in case, you haven't seen the news, the Olympics, or any social media sites this week, Japa Dog is a hot dog stand in Vancouver that combines Japanese flavors with the all American hot dog. And its all the rage, been quoted as a "fad" of the Olympics in a Yahoo sports video.

Sure, the Japadog stand(s) have gotten lots of great media coverage from the swarms of media in Vancouver looking for Olympic related, or Vancouver local stories to cover. But they have also done an excellent job on social media sites as well. Japadog is on Twitter announcing not only what types of dog flavors they are featuring, but which Olympic Athletes ate which flavor Japadog. You can become a fan of Japadog on Facebook. One fan even posted their home made Japanese flavor hot dog recipes they made at home! There is The Japadog Blog, documenting all the stars and athletes that visit the stands for Japanese flavored hot dogs. And Japadog photos are all over Flickr too.

It appears that in all the mayhem of the Olympics and the rush of customers that has got to be keeping the stands busy night and day, they have not ignored social media, making sure to keep all their channels updated and interesting. It's a great story and definitely an example of the support and push that social media can bring, even to a hot dog stand!

Hungry Yet?

SFIMA's March Education Event: SEO Expert Panel


Thursday, 3-11-2010

Search Marketing

In a tough economy it's more important that ever to spend your budget efficiently. So for the March event, the panel of experts will offer tips you can use this month to jump start sales using search marketing.

They will cover:

  • Search and social
  • Long Tail - Low cost, high converting keyword expansion
  • Measure your search ROI with solid conversion tracking
  • Search Query Reports - Negative Keywords / New Ad Groups / New Keywords
  • Day Parting - Conserve budget and advertise at most efficient hours
  • What is Universal Search?
  • Why is video search important?
  • What is the best type of video content to be using?
  • Tips and tricks on optimization and best practices for VSEO
  • VSEO Metrics and measurement
  • Online reputation management

Maria Harrison - President & Owner, iClarity
Ms. Harrison is a 10-year Internet industry veteran, with experience in online marketing and media buying plans, website usability, email marketing, search engine marketing and more. Prior to founding iClarity, an interactive marketing consulting, strategy and implementation firm, she was Director of Online Marketing for Interval International, an InterActive Corp (IAC) company. Past president of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association.

About the Panelists:

Erik Simons, USO Networks
Erik Simons has been a serial internet entrepeneur for well over a decade. After graduating University, Simons began his internet career by pioneering online affiliate marketing networks for the gaming industry, providing performance based advertising solutions which are still in use today in the multi-billion dollar industry. Simons has founded multiple internet companies around the globe. Most recently, Simons invented platforms for the optimization and distribution of web video for one of the companies he co-founded with John Ferber, USOnetworks and also helped Ferber in the creation of, an internet based charity which aims to directly connect donors with those in need.

Neil Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Vantage Media.
Neil has launched numerous successful Web businesses, taking them from start-up to tens of millions of dollars in revenue in rapidly changing, highly competitive consumer environments. He has specialized in the migration of consumers and revenue from old media to new media. He held leadership positions with Internet Brands, Universal Studios, The Los Angeles Times and Bain and Company. Recognized as the most technologically advanced Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agency in the nation, Vantage Media specializes in customized performance search marketing campaigns that harness the power of paid search traffic and turn it into concrete business opportunities for leading brands such as Allied Van Lines, eHarmony and Safeco Insurance.

Joe Laratro Joe Laratro
SEO Professor
University of San Francisco/ Bisk

Joe Laratro, a recognized and leading expert in the Search Engine Marketing industry, recently made South Florida's Business Journal Top 40 under 40 2009 List. His long list of accomplishments includes being an active speaker at industry events like Webmaster World, SMX, and Local IMAs. He sits on the Advisory Board and is the lead moderator and speaker liaison for Pubcon. He also developed and taught Search Marketing Training for the DMA, SEOClass, Network Solutions, Pubcon Masters, and the University of San Francisco. Mr. Laratro has been quoted in numerous articles including Internet Retailer, eMarketer, DMNews, eWeek, MediaPost, and Target Marketing. Mr. Laratro just completed a new Advanced Analytics Certificate course for the University of San Francisco and will be releasing the "SEO Diet: Fit to be Found" book in the near future.

As one of the first 100 certified Google AdWords Professionals, a contributor to the founding of the Yahoo! Strategic Provider Program, and a certified Yahoo! Strategic Provider Ambassador, Mr. Laratro continues to prove that he is on the cutting edge of industry developments. In March of 2006, he was invited, as one of only twenty professionals, to sit on the MSN AdCenter Search Council.

During his career, Mr. Laratro has serviced over 5,000 web sites spanning an array of companies including Fortune 500s, privately held mid-tier corporations, and cottage industry businesses. He was also the president of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association ( from 2007-2008.

Zach Hoffman, Founder/CEO, Search Engine Operator

Zach's love for fast paced culture and growing business markets has kept him a South Floridian - often traveling to NYC to service business relationships. Zach has always been an entrepreneur at heart; while in college, before starting Search Engine Operator, he worked as an Independent Internet Marketing Consultant for local businesses and started a lead generation website focused on affiliate offer marketing. Zach utilizes his finance and economics background to efficiently navigate the auction markets of Search Engines.

Other panelists - Stop back soon to find out who has confirmed!

Note: Register early to avoid the $10 walk-up charge.

Join us for post-networking at the Hyatt Pier 66 bar.

SFIMA Text Alerts

Join the SFIMA Text Alert program by texting the word SFIMA to: 247365.

Benefits include:

  • Monthly Alerts about events (we will not send more than 3 messages per month. No spam here)
  • Last minute event updates and special announcments.

JOIN Today!

Event Details

Time/Date:6:00 pm
Thursday, 3-11-2010
Place:Hyatt Regency Pier 66
2301 Southeast 17th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Member Cost & RegistrationNo Cost for SFIMA Members
Non Member Cost &

Monday, February 22, 2010

Video from SFIMA's 2009 Nautical Networking Event

Thanks to Murray Izenwasser for his video of the 2009 NNE Cruise & Networking Event. It's all about the people you can meet on the Nautical Networking Event!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reposting A Warning on Domain Scams

I have posted about this type of domain name renewal scam once before and unfortunately, it has not gone away. I received another one in the mail today and I know I'm not alone. I receive this fake renewal notice from the Domain Registry of America about once a month since I own a lot of domain names and it's quite annoying. Not only does it look like a "bill" with a warning that if I don't renew I will lose my domain name, but the problem is the cost: $30 is much more than the average going price for a yearly renewal on a domain name. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm not alone in complaining about and reporting this type of scam. I didn't even have to scan in my own letter, a quick search on Google images pulled up 100's of letters already scanned in and even labeled scam! See below!

I was already in an annoyed mood this morning, so I decided to tweet about Domain Registry of America being a rip off. Then I search Twitter and saw, once again I was not alone:

I just don't like it when companies try to take advantage, so I further searched Google to see what the results said and I was intrigued to find (among many other search result entries pointing out that this is a scam) a Wikipedia article about Domain Registry of America pointing out that they are known for this scam! Here is what the Wikipedia entry says:

The Domain Registry of America is an Internet domain registrar based in the Canadian province of Ontario best known for sending solicitations for business that resemble legitimate invoices.

In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain slamming, and having hidden fees. Despite this action, the company still sends mass direct mail to consumers resembling invoices with "domain name expiration notice" in bold print. Targets for the company's mass mailings are known to be in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States with information obtained in violation of theirICANN registrar agreement.

They have also now (Aug 2009) started emailing potential customers with an email scam, purporting to indicate that the transfer of a domain is 'not complete at this time', and requesting the domain owner follows a series of steps to complete the transfer to DRoA. These are highly misleading emails.[3]

I am really confused as to why this company is allowed to stay in business? Unfortunately, one of the reasons they are still around is because people are falling for this scam, so let's get the word out! Buyer be ware! So how can you make sure that you don't fall victim to a domain slammer like this? First, make sure that you have your domain with a reputable registrar that is not gouging you on the price. Next, set your domain to auto-renew with your registrar so that you don't have to worry about letters or emails that come from companies other than your registrar.

Below is the original post I posted once here on the SFIMA blog letting our readers know about domain scams and business owners know about the "poster scam". Unfortunately, they haven't gone away, so I have reposted them in addition to the new info above.

As business owners, or even website owners, we are constantly bombarded with offers, advertisers, proposals, contracts, invoices, & bills. Because of a few shady business practices we have to be so cautious about what comes across our desk everyday. Much like fraudulent emails, after a while you learn to distinguish what really is from Paypal or Ebay and we learn to ignore all the "Business Proposals" and International Lotteries that we sadly have not won. Here are a few billing scams that I receive all the time that I wanted to take the opportunity to make other aware of some of the unscrupulous business practices that really bug me.

Most website owners are probably familiar with this type of "bill":

Like most website owners, I have all of my domain names set on auto renewal with my registrar of choice. If I had a book keeper or secretary, they might get easily confused and think this needs to be paid. Problem is, the $30.00 per year renewal rate is more than 4 times the amount that I pay to renew my domains! I get at least one of these notices each month. In all fairness to the company that issued this notice, at least they mention that paying this bill will transfer and renew the domain name and mention in bold that it is not a bill; but the obvious bill appearance and large amount of text on the page really camouflages that. To a novice, this looks like a bill and might get paid. I am sure this works, and that is why it is continually done; however, this is far away from industry best practices. A good tip is to make sure that your domains are "locked" with your registrar so that just in case this is accidentally or inadvertently filled out, you can keep your domain name protected and un-do the mistake.

Rant #2 today is also regarding mail that I am sent several times per year regarding the labor law posters that most businesses with employees are required to display. Here is a copy of what I received in the mail:

Hmmm. . . Final Notice - looks ominous! Again, a secretary, assistant, or bookkeeper might react to this and pay this "bill". All the "legal looking" fine print in this letter recites the legal jargon regarding posting labor law posters that business are required to post. It further warns that if you do not comply you can be fined $17,000.00 in addition to being sued by disgruntled employees! WOW! Better get this poster AND FAST! HUH?

Funny thing is, I get these posters from our employee leasing company for FREE! That's right, they can be obtained for free! I believe that you can also get them from the county your business is registered in, also for FREE. Yet, this company is trying to bully their way into selling you this otherwise free poster for quite the ridiculous fee of $29.95! You can also opt to have it laminated (ooh, ahhh) for an additional $10.00 and they are doing you the favor of offering you a "deal" too: a frame worth $19.95 for only $3.95. Don't forget the $5.95 for shipping. So in the end, you can waste $49.85 on this poster that is normally issued for free.

Running a business is stressful enough without false notices and fake bills to have to contend with. Don't you agree? I welcome all views and comments on this topic!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Catch Up Post - Video from November 2009 E-Commerce Educational Event

I just realized that the blog is missing the video from the November 2009 E-Commerce Event that was held at Jungle Island in Miami! If you missed the event, or would just like a quick review, check out the 3 minute run down video of the November 2009 SFIMA Education & Networking Event!

Monday, February 01, 2010

SFIMA Membership Drive Month!

We hope your 2010 is off to a great start!

We wanted to take a few moments to ask you to participate in our Membership Drive in February. We need your help to spread the word about our great organization.

February is SFIMA Membership Drive Month
Share a great thing and bring a friend (who is not yet a member) to the February SFIMA event at no cost. That's right, they can come as a guest for FREE! This event is one of our most unique educational experiences and it will be held at the Crystal Ballroom within Pier 66!

Please email Membership(at) to register your guest.

Refer a Friend That Joins and You Get $25
When you refer your friends and colleagues to SFIMA, and if they join and include your name in the referral field of the enrollment form, then we will send you a $25 American Express gift card. If 3 of your friends join, then we will send you a $75 gift card and if 5 of your friends join, then we will send you $125 gift card and so on...

Win a Google Phone
The SFIMA Member who refers the most friends (who join as Members) will win a Google Phone at the March event. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for all of you! Good Luck.

As many of you know, SFIMA is a volunteer, non-profit organization. We thrive in this world due to the generosity and participation of our Members, Sponsors, and Partners - or as we like to say, our Friends.

We look forward to your participation.

New Membership Rules:
Valid through midnight March 10, 2010. Referral fee and contest open to all current SFIMA members in good standing. To receive the referral fee, the new member MUST include referring member’s name in new membership form at the time of signup.