IPL: ED notice to SRK, Gauri, Juhi for Rs 73 Cr violation

first_imgunder FEMAMumbai, Mar 24 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate today issued a show-cause notice to actor Shah Rukh Khan, his wife Gauri, actor-friend Juhi Chawla and others for alleged loss of Rs 73.6 crore foreign exchange in a FEMA case related to the T-20 cricket league IPL.The agency said it has also issued notice to Knight Riders Sports Private Limited (KRSPL) which owns the Indian Premier League (IPL) team of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).The notice has been issued for the sale of some shares of KRSPL to a Mauritius-based firm at a cost lower than their “actual value”, resulting in loss of foreign exchange to the extent of Rs 73.6 crore.The agency said the notice has been issued for “contravention of provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India) Regulations, 2000 made under the Foreign Exchange Management Act”.While Gauri is a Director of KRSPL, Khan and Chawla are the owners of the IPL team KKR.The case pertains to 2008-09 when the ED first began investigation against the IPL franchise and its owners.Khan and others have been questioned by the ED multiple times in this case and the actors statement was also recorded under FEMA provisions.A show-cause notice under FEMA laws is issued when the investigation gets completed.Khans company Red Chillies Enterprises Private Limited (RCEPL), the agency said, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Chillies International Limited based overseas in Burmuda and is co-owned by Gauri.”In 2008 Red Chillies Enterprises Private Limited formed a special purpose vehicle namely M/s Knight Riders Sports Ltd for the purpose of acquiring IPL franchise rights of the cricket team named Kolkata Knight Riders.advertisement”Initially, the entire share holding of Ms Kolkata Knight Riders Private Limited was with Red Chillies Enterprises and Gauri. After the success of IPL, about two crore additional shares were issued by KRSPL out of which 50 lakh shares were issued to The Sea Island Investment Ltd (TSIIL), Mauritius and 40 lakh shares were issued to Chawla.”These shares were allotted at a par value of Rs 10 whereas the actual value of these shares was much higher,” it said.The ED said its investigation showed that Chawla subsequently sold her 40 lakh shares to TSIIL, Mauritius at the par value of Rs 10 only.”Thus, foreign based company TSIIL was issued 90 lakh shares at par value while the actual cost of share at the time of issue/sale was ranging between Rs 86-Rs 99 per share. This has resulted in loss of foreign exchange to the extent of Rs 73.6 crore,” the agency said.The agency has given 15 days time to all the parties to reply to the notice after which the adjudication proceedings will begin in this case. PTI NES SMNlast_img read more

Are You Making a $23,000 Mistake?

first_imgOne of the biggest tests for investors — and, for savvy investors, one of the biggest opportunities — is how they behave when the market gets rocky. There are essentially two things every investor can do when the market suffers a… Full Story,There are a number of reasons why it might be tempting to cash out your hard-earned 401k savings before retirement. From hefty car or home repairs to emergency medical expenses, sometimes unexpected circumstances cause us to seek out extra cash…. Full Story,2018 was a roller coaster for the stock market. If you’re an investor, you were probably impacted more than once – for better or worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 each hit new all-time… Full Story,You’re bound to make a few rookie errors when trying out anything for the first time, whether it’s making homemade greek yogurt, growing heirloom tomatoes, or learning to drive. After all, learning is a process, and trial and error is… Full Story,It’s easy to think of investments as existing in a vacuum. You contribute money, wait a certain amount of time and watch your portfolio grow. Where that money goes – and how it grows – are questions most people would… Full Story,Out of the main pillars of financial wellness—earn, save, spend, invest, and protect—investing can oftentimes feel like the scary, unknown thing lurking in the closet. Being frugal, creating a spending plan, and buying insurance seem to operate within the warm,… Full Story,Getting ahead financially is a game of inches. It’s about finding every trick, tip, and loophole you can find to maximize the growth potential of your money. There’s no topic where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” is more relevant…. Full Story,When you make a mistake in daily life, you usually have the opportunity to immediately make things right. If you spill soda on the floor, you can mop it up. If you burn the chicken you’re roasting for dinner, you… Full Story,One of the precious, oh-so-sweet things you give up when you go freelance is an employer-sponsored 401(k)—along with any matching contributions. But on the flipside, freelancers have quite a few options when it comes to saving for a retirement nest… Full Story,As the VP of Investments at a fintech company, it’s my job to pay close attention to the ever-changing trends and progress within the world of money. Working at Fundrise also means I’m directly involved with the development of the… Full Storylast_img read more

Move Like a Minimalist: How to Avoid New Nest Syndrome

first_img Post navigation Spring is a common time when people start buying new homes, or simply moving to new apartments across town. Moving by itself is an incredibly stressful time, and no one needs to add additional financial stress into the mix. Moving tends to be expensive, transporting things across town (or further) and getting everything settled can put a major dent in an established monthly budget. Once you get to your new place, it’s likely that the layout of the furniture won’t be the same, and you’ll need to figure out how to best fit everything in while very likely buying some new furniture to make everything work.When you’re starting the moving process and getting settled into your new place, don’t let the expenses get out of control. Here are some tips to help prevent the new nest instinct from taking over and ruining your savings and budgeting progress.1. Walk The New Space To See How Things Will FitTake some time to walk through your new home, make and record some measurements and roughly plan where things will go. Doing so will allow you to declutter the things that you either don’t need or simply won’t fit in the new space. There’s no sense moving something that you’ll just end up getting rid of shortly after. This preparation will allow you to save money by potentially renting a smaller, less expensive moving truck.2. Wait To Buy New Things Until You’ve Lived There For A WhileWhile it’s tempting to go to your favorite furniture store and buy everything you think you’ll need in your new home, I’d highly suggest waiting until you’ve lived there for a few weeks. Unless something is absolutely essential, you will benefit from waiting and seeing what things you actually need. This gives you the opportunity to find the small quirks and needs of that specific home and you won’t waste money buying things before you know you need them.3. Take Your Time And Acquire Unique or Interesting PiecesJust like number two, if you’re willing to wait a little bit and acquire things more slowly, you’re more able to find interesting and unique pieces of furniture to bring into your space. These pieces will add more character to your home, and really bring it to life. If you’re the DIY type, you can make some custom solutions that will perfectly fit the space you have. Even if it’s repurposing and upcycling an antique piece by painting or refinishing it, it’s guaranteed to be cheaper and likely more durable than something from a local superstore.4. Remember That White Space Is Perfectly FineEspecially if the space you’re moving into is bigger than your previous home, remember that you don’t need to fill up every corner of every room. It’s okay to leave big open spaces in your new living quarters, for a clean, uncluttered look. If you don’t feel the need to fill in all the space, you’ll save a ton of money on potential furniture and decorative purchases along the way. Focus on fewer, more meaningful purchases and you’re good to go.5. Don’t Buy Everything Right AwayWhen visiting the homes of parents and other folks that have lived in their homes for a long time, it’s easy to feel like that level of furnishing is expected. Don’t go into debt immediately buying furniture for your new place! The reality is that most people have had years (sometimes decades) to furnish their home and have done it over a very long period of time. Relieve yourself of the pressure to have a perfectly decked out home and feel free to leave some rooms open, undecorated, or even unused if you want. It’s your space, and you get to choose exactly how you use it.If you follow these tips, you’ll significantly cut the cost of moving into a new home whether it’s an apartment, a house, or anything in between. While you might feel pressure to get everything set up right away, take your time and make everything work to your advantage.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

Cooking International Meals on a Budget

first_imgWelcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody!  I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.When you’re bored in the kitchen international meals can be a lifesaver. They provide unique flavor combos and transport your pallet to a new region of the world. Plus, with so many food blogs on the internet – finding international recipes is easier than ever!The downside to international meals is that we often don’t have many of the ingredients these recipes call for. So they require us to invest in new ingredients that we may or may not ever use again. I’m here to help prevent this. There are some easy, tips and tricks I can provide that will make cooking international food budget friendly for you!How to Make International Food Budget Friendly#1 Start Regionally.Don’t get international food ADD. If you invest in some unique ingredients for a Mediterranean meal, don’t make Japanese food the next night. Instead, try to find several dishes from the same region that use some of the same ingredients. Make 2 or 3 of these dishes in the course of a week. This way, you can prevent yourself from only using a new spice or sauce once and throwing away whatever money you spent on it.#2 Build your spice cabinet.If you only have salt and pepper in your cabinet, start by building out a solid basic spice cabinet. I suggest always having cumin, cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, oregano and basil as a base. From there, you can add to your cabinet with each new recipe you try. I find that buying in bulk is the most cost effective way to purchase spices, although it requires a larger upfront cost. Nuts.com and Frontier Co-Op are my two favorite places to buy bulk spices, Mountain Rose Herbs is great for herbs and flowers, and Spicely is great for buying a small amount of a particular spice.#3 Shop at international markets.When looking for specialty ingredients for an international dish, shopping at an international market can save you money. You’ll be able to find ingredients for your Japanese recipe more easily at an Asian market than you will at your regular grocery store.#4 Pick recipes with seasonal produce.Cooking with seasonal produce will save you money. So if you’re already investing in international spices, sauces, and other ingredients, don’t waste your money by making a recipe with out of season produce.#5 Make sauces at home.I at least encourage you to price out what it would cost to make a sauce or marinade at home versus buying a can or jar. Usually you’ll get a higher quality, higher quantity and healthier version if you make it yourself.#6 Don’t buy something you’ll never use again. How many times have you bought a $7 jar of something and used 1 teaspoon of it, only to have it sit in your refrigerator for years? Don’t do that. It’s part of why I recommend making multiple recipes from a certain region. Use what you buy, by making more than one dish with the ingredient. It makes your investment worth it!Asian Inspired Meals: Mediterranean Inspired Meals: Follow along!Over the next few months I’ll be covering a variety of ways to be healthy on a budget. Keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime! Caribbean Inspired Meals: Caprese Squash PastaMarinated Mushroom Pesto Pizza Tropical Jerk Chick’n Sandwich Post navigation Latin Inspired Meals: Southern Inspired Meals: Indian Inspired Meals: Deconstructed Sushi Salad30 Minute Meatless Teriyaki Chicken BowlEasy & Healthy Teriyaki SauceCarrot-Noodle Vegetarian Ramen Meatless Gyro WrapsMediterranean-Spiced Yogurt and Egg Breakfast Skillet Italian Inspired Meals: Supreme Veggie PaellaChickpea Street Corn TacosRicotta Huevos RancherosGrilled Spanish Tomato Bread Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedHow to Get Your Food Budget for Two on PointFebruary 21, 2018In “Budgeting”Budget Meals: 6 Unique Ways to Eat Beans and RiceApril 18, 2018In “Budgeting”How to Create a Flexible Grocery List to Save MoneyOctober 6, 2017In “Budgeting” Masala Chickpeas with Coconut RiceMild Chickpea Coconut Curry Oven Baked Masala Chicken Skewers BBQ Shrimp & Cheese GritsTexas BBQ Potato & Tempeh TacosHealthy Southern Buttermilk BiscuitsSouthern Baked Beanslast_img read more

21 Love Coupon Ideas That Won’t Make You Roll Your Eyes

first_imgThese are love coupons you’ll be happy to fulfill.Giving your loved one a present is nice, but not every gift needs to be expensive or bought from a store. Some of the best gifts are the ones you DIY or that are full of thoughtfulness and care and real understanding of the other person. Also, when you’re feeling a little tight on cash, it’s especially helpful when it’s the thought that counts — not the price point. Our best idea? A love coupon book.Before you run away thinking we’ve got a bunch of coupons here for monogamous lap dances, hear us out. These are the coupons for things you wish you had a real veto power for — things like running to the store, calling the landlord and taking care of the kids for a whole day.Hopefully, you’re in a partnership that does its best to be 50-50, so these coupon ideas will work well for both partners in the relationship.We tried to make these fun and loving, but also super-realistic. Love can’t be all snugglefests and kissing contests. Some days you’ve got to figure out who is taking out the recycling.A coupon for…A foot rubA picnicA public social media posting about how great you areA “don’t post that!” social media vetoYour favorite meal cooked by meOne free “let it go” coupon (even when I really want to keep ranting about it)One day with the house entirely to yourselfOne hour with a “cone of silence” (I won’t say a word!)A late-night dessert run on demand, weather not-withstandingOne hour of participating in your favorite hobbyTakeout is on meYou can have full control of what we watch on Netflix tonightYou can have full control of what we have for dinnerYou can pick the date-night activityI’ll do 24 hours of uninterrupted child careI’ll turn off the light/turn down the thermostat/turn on the fanI’ll run to the store (even though I already took my pants off)I’ll call the plumber/repairman/landlordI’ll go to a group event of your choice (even though there will be people there)I’ll drive the whole way (and even deal with parking)I’ll handle the oil changeSourcelast_img read more

Weather Patterns that Fueled Great Smoky Mountains Forest Fire Could Increase with Climate Change

first_imgThe catastrophic fire that originated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has caused 14 deaths, 150 injuries, and damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 homes and buildings around Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While the fire is nearly extinguished now, the blaze scorched an enormous area in a region that has not experienced this type of devastation in memory. While two juveniles have been charged with arson for setting the fire, it raged out of control thanks to high winds and tinder-dry forests amplified by exceptional drought.The situation is tragic, but it’s hardly unique. It mirrors a spate of unusual fires that have devastated many parts of the world over the past two years—blazes that may become more common as climate change continues to increase global temperatures.Record-Breaking Forest Fires Flare Around the WorldIn 2015, the United States saw 10 million acres of wildfires, the highest amount ever recorded. Meanwhile, devastating fires in Indonesia generated greenhouse gas emissions that exceeded the daily emissions of the entire U.S. economy.In 2016, boreal forest fires raged, with a 1.5 million acre blaze in May that ravaged Fort McMurray in Canada’s Alberta Province. Siberian boreal forests generated a 2,000-mile smoke plume July.The southern Appalachians experienced above average and even record-breaking temperatures from August to October 2016 and below-normal precipitation, resulting in exceptional drought conditions. In November 2016, intensive fires burned across many locations in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina; one of these fires raged across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg, Tennessee on November 29th, leading to this most recent fire catastrophe.In late November, severe (orange) extreme (red) and exceptional (dark red) drought spread across much of the southern Appalachian region. Photo by US Drought Monitor We Can Expect More Fires in a Warmer WorldSome of these fires—such as those in Indonesia—are thought to have been influenced by the 2015-16 El Niño, which brought wide departures from normal conditions around the globe and contributed towards 2015’s record-breaking global temperatures. Whether climate change will influence the frequency and intensity of El Niño cycles in the future is uncertain.And while it’s impossible to point to climate change as causing or contributing to individual forest fires, we do know events, such as extreme drought and heat waves, have been amplified by climate change and may increase in frequency and intensity in a warmer world. As the world’s climate warms, extreme weather events are occurring more and more frequently, with the U.S. National Climate Assessment projecting a continued increase in certain types of events across the United States. The southeastern United States has already seen more  weather and climate disasters costing $1 billion or more in the past 30 years than any other region of the country. And there is very high confidence that climate change will lead to an increase in large wildfires and longer fire seasons in parts of the United States.Disasters such as the Smoky Mountain wildfires are a stark reminder that people everywhere need to prepare for the possibility of extreme or unusual events. Better fire preparedness may include both improving planning for fires and fire response,   managing forests to reduce fire risk (especially for urban-wildland interface zones), and working with landowners to reduce flammability of homes and other structures.Areas that have seemed invulnerable to wildfires in the past may increasingly be in danger, and past experience may not be our best guide to what the future holds. As recovery and rebuilding begins from this most recent disaster, the tragedy should serve as a wake-up call—a warmer future is one with more intense, frequent and unpredictable forest fires.Forbes Tompkins also contributed to this blog post.last_img read more

Man Still Better than Machine (For Some Things…)

first_imgEven after decades of advancement in computer technology, there are some tasks that humans are just superior at doing.  One of those things is evaluating the quality of a website.  The most dominant search engines are all computer based today because of the vast pace at which content is published online.  However, this was not always the case.  Back in the 1990’s when the Internet was just a small set of interconnected tubes [smile] a number of websites tried using people to review and list websites in a directory and use that directory to power search results.  The idea was that humans could do a better job of deciding if a website was good or not and should be included in search results.In fact, that is still true today.  A human can do a much better job than Google of looking at a website and deciding if the content is good and it is a quality website.  Computerized search engines have won the search engine battle, because to review all of the websites on the Internet using people would be cost prohibitive and time consuming given the explosion of content on the web.  We prefer search engines that are always including new content that was just published and that search nearly all of the web.  But human reviewed directories still do a good job of only including good websites, even if they only include a small percentage of the overall Internet.  And because of this, the computerized search engines look at the human reviewed directories as a list of websites that are more trustworthy than other websites.Getting your company listed in a human reviewed drectory is sort of like getting into a good college.  It doesn’t mean you are smart, but it means a human looked at your application and thought you are smart.  It is also somewhat expensive and time consuming.  But, just like a good college on your resume sends a positive message to potential employers, getting listed in a human reviewed directory sends a positive message to the search engines.Here are four of the better human reviewed directories, along with a bit of info on how to use them.Four Directories That Should Include Your CompanyDMOZ – The name for DMOZ.org comes from directory.mozilla.org, the original name/location of the directory.  Because it is all volunteer run, it can take a long time (months, sometimes never) for them to act upon your request to get listed.  Only sites that have some history to them and decent content get listed.  Here are the instructions for suggesting your website for listing in DMOZ.Yahoo Directory – Like DMOZ, the Yahoo Directory started as a way to use humans to screen websites for quality and use those as part of search results.  The good news about Yahoo is that they act pretty fast on your submission (a week).  The bad news is that it costs you $299/year.  Here is information about listing your website in the Yahoo Directory.Business.com Directory – The Business.com directory is another human reviewed directory.  Like Yahoo, they will review your website quickly, but they also charge $199 for the first year and $149 annually after that.  Here is information about listing your website in the Business.com directory.ZoomInfo – ZoomInfo is a newer website than the other three.  It is also not really a completely human reviewed directory, but it does have a verification method to edit your company listing and it uses trustworthy sources (other than your own website) to build your company profile.  Also unlike the other three that really just have a link to your company, ZoomInfo has a full profile on your company, so that page sometimes shows up in search results.  The other great news is that it is free.  Just got to ZoomInfo, search for your company name, click on the result, and on the page that shows your company name and website, click the edit link.  You’ll have to create an account and verify through email you work at the company.  If your company is not listed, they don’t have a great way to get it listed, but you can use this form to make a request. Free Ebook: Introduction to Search Engine Optimization SEO Originally published Dec 12, 2007 11:43:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack It’s about time your business started taking advantage of SEO to increase organic traffic.Download this free ebook to learn how to successfully optimize your website and content to get found online.last_img read more

Twitter Testing a New Look For Threaded Conversations, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack You’re smart. You’re already aware that content plays a huge role in today’s world of inbound marketing. You know about the importance of social media, online videos, PPC ads, blogs, and interactive websites — but the rest of the world is still catching on. This week, a number of companies made progress by honing their digital content to be more beautiful, shareable, and easier to digest. With the launch of new web development tools, website redesigns, and ad platform support, there were some really exciting news this week. Bonus: if you want an in-depth analysis of the news, check out the video at the end featuring HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe and Marketing Fellow Dan Lyons discussing the latest trends in marketing. Enjoy! Twitter Testing a New Look for Threaded Conversations, From MashableThis week, Twitter started testing a new look on its website for messages and replies. In a post from Mashable, some users shared screenshots illustrating the new look on their Twitter feeds. In the new look, users don’t have to click on a tweet to see a conversation — the conversation and replies will appear directly in-stream. As far as we know, Twitter should be slowly rolling out the UI update to users.This new UI update will be a welcomed by many marketers and community managers. Though there are already tools available to easily monitor entire Twitter threads without diving deep on Twitter.com, marketers should be excited about this update because it could help their followers better engage with their brand’s tweets. Be sure to keep an eye out for the UI update on your Twitter feed in the weeks to come to see how the conversation thread redesign impacts your brand’s Twitter engagement. Read more about Twitter’s new look at Mashable.New York Stock Exchange Joins Inbound Marketing Push­­, From AdweekWe know that content is a big piece of the inbound marketing puzzle, and it looks like the New York Stock Exchange is hopping on the bandwagon. The NYSE is definitely an old-school company, but they’ve recently launched a site called The Big Stage where visitors can find a variety of content about companies listed on the NYSE. Audiences of The Big Stage will be greeted with an interactive website featuring videos, Q&As, and profiles to help the brand engage its community.This move by the NYSE is similar to other big brands that are adopting the inbound methodology and using content to attract and engage audiences. The site content is heavily supplied and curated by a team of 10 writers from Time Inc. Content Solutions, who pay special attention to social trends to guide their content. For marketers, it will be interesting to see how a fairly small team from an old-school company fares — NYSE’s efforts may even help you convince your boss to invest more resources in inbound marketing. Learn more NYSE’s new initiative at Adweek.101 Awesome Marketing Quotes, From HubSpotDaily marketing responsibilities can be quite the daunting task when you’ve got a million other things to take care of around the office. We know things can get a bit stressful with all of the changes constantly happening in the world of marketing. To help remind you why marketing is amazing, we’ve compiled 101 insightful quotes from industry leaders to put some pep in your step on this lovely Sunday morning. Download the full collection today.Bing Ads Will Copycat Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns With New Bid Adjustments, From Search Engine LandWith Google making moves on its Enhanced Campaigns, Bing has decided to step up to the plate and make some new changes of its own. Bing is finally allowing users to import their AdWords’ campaigns into Bing Ads. This means that users currently on AdWords will be able to bring over their bid adjustments based on age, gender, location, and day of the week into their Bing Ad accounts. Bing is also adding the ability to make negative bid adjustments and increasing their maximum bid range to +900%. For marketers who want to switch from Google AdWords to Bing, this is great news. Before this update, Bing wasn’t able to import campaigns or bid adjustments from AdWords because they were supported differently in each platform. Bing will continue to support tablet targeting and soon introduce bid adjustments based on device. Learn more at Search Engine Land.Google Will Soon Launch Google Web Designer, A Free HTML5 Development Tool for Creating Web Apps, Sites, and Ads, From TechCrunchThe search engine giant will soon be launching a set of web tools for creative professionals called Google Web Designer. Launching in the coming months, the HTML5 development tool will provide users with tools to create cutting-edge advertising content, web apps, and websites — though it’s initial focus will be on advertising content. Google Web Designer is built to be a stand-alone creative product for agencies and designers. Marketers should definitely keep an ear to the ground for any additional information on a release date. Google Web Designer will put very powerful web development tools in the hands of brands and marketers looking to improve their online presence. With this new tool, marketers will have much more flexibility in their advertising content — especially when it comes to native advertising. Learn more about Google Web Designer at TechCrunch.YouTube’s New One Channel Design Now Live for All Publishers, From Marketing LandYouTube rolled out its new One Channel design to all publishers this week. The video sharing network has been testing this new design since February and finally decided to release it to all users. The One Channel design adds a number of customizable features to YouTube profile pages that include showing channel trailers, and adding channel art and custom sections. YouTube reports that its One Channel early adopters have seen a 20% increase in visits and subscribers.The new One Channel design should allow marketers and brands to better present their video content to visitors. If the reports from early adopters are anything close to what all YouTube profiles will experience, marketers could see a great boost in channel traffic and subscribers. With all of the new customizable features, brands should consider designing branded channel art and curating video sections based on user interests. Learn more about One Channel at Marketing Land.Weekly Marketing Hangout with Mike Volpe and Dan LyonsWant a deeper look into the weekly marketing stories? Check out the recording of our live Google+ Hangout below. What other marketing stories did you come across this week? Share your favorites with us in the comments!Image credit: Found Animals Twitter Engagement Topics: Originally published Jun 9, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Optimized Links in Press Releases & Guest Posts Can Harm Your SEO, Says Google

first_img“It’s like my favorite analogy about diet pills,” said HubSpot SEO Manager Rebecca Churt. “Sure, they are popular, and they may work. But they aren’t really that healthy, and they won’t have any good long-term results.” Link Building Topics: Well, there you go.  What’s unclear from Google’s Link Schemes document, however, is whether Google passes any search value to any anchor text links in your press releases. Clearly, the above example is a blatant example of keyword stuffing and should absolutely be avoided. But what about a few anchor text links sprinkled throughout your press release?  So according to Google, search engine optimizing your press releases violates its Webmaster Guidelines.  Do those search engine optimized press releases you’re sending actually boost your search rankings? What about those guest blog posts you’re writing? While the question of whether anchor text links in press releases ever actually pass search value has always been debatable, a recent update from Google seems to shed some more light on these issues.On Friday, Search Engine Land reported that Google had sneakily updated its Webmaster Guidelines’ Link Schemes document. If you’re not hip to the SEO lingo, link schemes are “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results … [including] any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.” This, according to Google, includes what are called unnatural links — “links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page.” And this, my friends, is where press releases factor in. Google Says Optimized Anchor Text Links in Press Releases Qualify as ‘Unnatural Links’One of the examples Google provides for what qualifies as an unnatural link is as follows:”Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:center_img Originally published Jul 30, 2013 4:40:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you consider this example from Search Engine Land, it appears that Google may actually pass search value to anchor text links in press releases. So … what gives? There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.” Good point. Even if Google does pass value to anchor text links in press releases, press releases have a very short shelf life. Sites that syndicate your release usually take them down after a certain amount of time. So while you might benefit from some short-term wins, using press releases as part of your SEO strategy isn’t the most scalable or long-term solution. It can also get pretty darn expensive, considering the cost of press release distribution/wire services ain’t cheap.Not to Mention Guest Blogging … Unfortunately, the same appears to hold true for guest blogging. Google indicates that “large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links” can also negatively impact a site’s search rankings. Ouch.So, Google Is Putting Muscle Behind PageRank Again?”I actually think the most interesting thing about Google’s recent update is the fact that Google appears to be putting more muscle behind PageRank again, which was sort of MIA for a while,” says Churt. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard the term, PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that determines the value of inbound links. You might also know it as link juice. PageRank is a number (from 0 to 10) that Google assigns each page on the internet based on how “powerful” a web page is in terms of the number and quality of links coming into that page.In fact, a few years ago we blogged about why PageRank is irrelevant. So is it now making a comeback? The thought is intriguing, and it’s something we marketers should be mindful of.Again, SEO All Comes Back to User Experience We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: SEO should really all be about user experience. Think of it as search experience optimization rather than search engine optimization. It’s not simply about getting found in search engines; it’s about optimizing for users so they actually click through to your content. In this case, think about user experience as the goal of your link strategy in external content such as press releases and guest blog content. Here’s what I mean …The Right Way to Use Links in Press ReleasesWe’re not saying you can’t include any links in your press releases. What Google advises against is “links with optimized anchor text” — optimized being the key word here. In other words, keyword-rich, as you saw in that earlier example.There’s no denying that links are important in press releases. But rather than using them for SEO purposes, you should be using them to drive awareness, and drive traffic back to your website. In fact, the only true potential SEO benefit of press releases is if a journalist or blogger thinks the content of the release is compelling enough to write about and links back to you naturally. This also means that, as I said, the content of the release needs to actually be compelling. So instead of using the links in your press releases for “link juice,” use them simply as inroads to your website for more information about the content of the release. Think of the links you use as resources for the readers of your press release, not as ways to move up in search rankings. So if you were writing a press release to help promote your awesome new product launch, include links back to a page on your site that provides more information about that new product — whether it be a product page, landing page to sign up for a demo of that product, or a blog post.It’s All About the Anchor TextFurthermore, steer clear of using keyword-optimized anchor text for your links, as Google warns against. As an example, if we were writing a press release about our new Social Inbox tool, we’d do something like this:Click here to learn more about our new social media monitoring tool, Social Inbox.Instead of something like this:Read more about our new social media monitoring tool, Social Inbox.And considering Google also qualifies keyword-optimized anchor text links in guest blogging content as a link scheme, you might also want to take this advice for your external guest blog content, as well. Although Google does include the term “large-scale” in reference to the guest blogging campaigns that violate its guidelines, it’s unclear whether guest blogging in moderation and using optimized anchor text links is okay. To play it safe, use guest blogging opportunities not as a way to generate lots of inbound links through a ton of mediocre content, but rather as a way to establish thought leadership and get your high-quality content in front of new audiences. What do you think about Google’s quiet update? Does this change your approach to press releases … or guest blogging?Image Credit: the imagystlast_img read more

Oops! 7 Awkward (But Common) Grammar Mistakes

first_imgOkay, so I’m no English major, but I am a content marketer — attention to grammatical detail is something very near and dear to my heart.The more time I’ve spent in this role, the more I notice little errors in things like text messages, IMs, and birthday cards. This could either be seen as a good thing … or incredibly stressful to anyone who has to communicate with me non-verbally. (Sorry guys. I can’t help it!)I’ve become the go-to person for proofreading other people’s content before it goes live, and as a result, I have started to notice a few of the same mistakes cropping up time and time again. So, I decided to write this post with the hope of calling attention to those common errors.And if these grammatical faux pas aren’t enough — there’s actually another post by my colleague Ginny Soskey that details several other common mistakes. Just in case you want to nerd out a bit more.Note: I know, I know, not all of these are “grammar” mistakes. But I’m taking a pretty liberal definition of “grammar” in this post — including spelling, usage, punctuation, and the like.Free Download: Marketing Editorial Calendar Template1) The Apostrophe CatastropheThe two most common misuses of the apostrophe are:ContractionsThe apostrophe is often used as a contraction. For example, “I can’t figure this out.” The apostrophe here is used to omit the word “not” so that “cannot” becomes “can’t.” The same can be used for “don’t” (do not), “they’re” (they are), etc.PossessivesThe second most common use of the apostrophe is to indicate possession. For example, “That is John’s car.” The car belongs to John. Without using the apostrophe in this case, you are pluralizing John, meaning there’s more than one John in your sentence. And then the sentence just doesn’t make sense anyway.A common point of confusion for both of these apostrophe use cases is the word “it’s.” The possessive form of “it” can cause all kinds of confusion, as it doesn’t conform to the above rule.For example, “The elephant is known for its memory” is a correct use of the word “its” — even though one might think there should be an apostrophe after the “t” since the elephant “possesses” the memory. A simple way to remember the right one to use is to ask if the word can be separated into two words — “it is” or “it has.” If it can, use an apostrophe.2) That Tricky Little CommaThere are many uses of the comma, but for simplicity, I’m only going to cover the most frequent errors I spot. To Separate Elements in a SeriesI went to the shop to buy apples carrots bread and milk.That sounds insane, right? That’s because each element in the series should be separated by a comma.I went to the shop to buy apples, carrots, bread, and milk.Ahhh, much better. That last comma, by the way, is optional. It’s called an “Oxford comma,” but whether you use it depends on your own internal style guide.To Separate Independent ClausesAn independent clause is a sentence that can stand on its own, so when in doubt whether a comma needs to be in the sentence, take the second part of the sentence and ask yourself if it would make a full sentence on its own. If it does, add a comma. If it doesn’t, leave it out.To Separate an Introductory Word or PhraseAt the beginning of a sentence, we often add an introductory word or phrase that requires a subsequent comma. For example, “In the beginning, I had no idea how to use a comma.” Or, “However, after reading an awesome blog post, I understand the difference.” There are plenty more use cases for the comma, which is really well documented in this blog post from Daily Writing Tips, which I follow and highly recommend for content marketers.3) Semicolons and ColonsIf you only semi-understand when to use these punctuation marks, here’s a quick explanation to keep in your back pocket.SemicolonsSemicolons help writers connect two independent clauses that, though they could stand on their own, are closely related and should remain in the same sentence. For example, “It’s her birthday; a party is inevitable!” Notice that each clause could be its own sentence — but stylistically, it makes more sense for them to be joined. (Note: If the first clause contains a coordinating conjunction — “and,” “or,” or “but” — use a comma instead.)They may also be used to separate items in a list when those items contain commas themselves.ColonsColons should be used to introduce or define something. For example, we used one in our blog post title, “The ABCs of Content Marketing: A Glossary of Terms.” Before the colon we give you the title of the post, and after the colon we define what the post is.You may also use a colon before a list, or when preceded by a clause that can stand on its own. For instance, one might write:A blog postAn ebookA novelAnd here’s the thing about writing a blog post, ebook, or novel: Your business will benefit as much as your personal brand.See what I did there? Note that because what follows the colon can stand alone as its own sentence, the first word is capitalized.4) “Fewer” Versus “Less”This one drives my colleague Pamela Vaughan up a wall.You know that show 10 Items or Less? That’s actually incorrect. It should be 10 Items or Fewer, because the object is quantifiable — you can count out ten items. You use “less” when the object is not quantifiable. If you’re ever unsure whether you should use “less” or “fewer,” ask yourself if you could attach a number to the word. For instance, it makes as much sense to say “He has ten beans,” as “He has fewer beans.” That’s because you can quantify beans. But it doesn’t make sense to say “He has ten angst.” You can’t quantify angst. Thus, you’d say “He has less angst.” 5) “Should Have” Versus “Should Of”This one seems obvious when written out — particularly in the context of a grammar post — but alas, people get it wrong all the time. The confusion stems from the way we all slur our words together, so in an age of more colloquial writing, I understand why people make this mistake.Always write “should have” or “should’ve.” That contraction — “should’ve” — is why writers get confused. It sounds a heck of a lot like “should of,” and people probably started writing it without even considering the contraction “should’ve.” But now that you know, it’s a mistake that’s easy to correct.6) “Couldn’t Care Less” Versus “Could Care Less”This is another one that seems so obvious when you think about it — but hey, I guess people aren’t really thinking about it when they say it. There’s a scenario in which each phrase makes sense; the problem is, people don’t use the right phrase for the right scenario. Let’s walk through a scenario together to clarify the right usage of these phrases.Scenario: Bill asks Bonnie on a date, and Bonnie turns him down. Annoyed, he flippantly tells his friend, “Pshh. Whatever … I could care less.”This is the incorrect usage of the phrase. Why? Because context clues tell us Bill is trying to save face and pretend he doesn’t care about Bonnie. But this phrase, “I could care less,” indicates that he does care a little bit.He should’ve said, “I couldn’t care less” to demonstrate he has no care left to give.If you commonly get confused with this phrase, follow the advice of my fourth grade teacher: If in doubt, leave it out.7) i.e. and e.g.i.e. and e.g. are both abbreviations for Latin terms. i.e. stands for id est and is translated to mean “that is.” E.g. stands for exempli gratia, which means “for example.”A great trick I learned for remembering the difference between the two of these came from Grammar Girl’s blog. She teaches us to remember that i.e. means “in other words” (both start with i), and e.g. means “for example” (example starts with e).Not too hard, right? This is particularly important for content marketers, since we often produce educational content that contains clarifications or examples for readers to reference.Want to learn more about grammar mistakes? Check out Grammar Police: 30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making.  Topics: Grammar Fails Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 10, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated April 18 2018last_img read more

6 Underused CTAs to Include in Your Email Marketing

first_img Email Marketing Originally published May 12, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Solving for how the reader might act, instead of how you want them to act, can help you improve conversion rates across all your marketing, email included.4) Make it easy to email or forward your message.A lot of people get confused about using email to generate leads. And for good reason. If you’re already sending them marketing emails, they’re already a lead. Nurturing tem via email can only help you create opportunities and customers, right?While email is typically used for nurturing leads into customers, including calls-to-action to email your messages to a friend can help you generate new leads with your email marketing, too. Some people will forward on their own, to be sure, but including specific CTAs within your email to forward can help even more people take action.In the example below, you can see that we made it as easy as possible to send an email to a colleague. It even states what the email preview will look like so you have a complete understanding of what will happen when you click the “Email this to a Colleague” link or button. Also notice that there is a text link and button, appealing to different people who prefer one over the other.5) Include social sharing buttons.Social sharing buttons and links are a quick and easy way to encourage people to share the content of your email. Just as you need to make it as easy as possible to encourage your readers to forward your content to a colleague, you should make it as easy as possible to allow your readers to share content on social media.Using HubSpot’s email tool, you can quickly and easily add social sharing buttons to your emails. Simply insert a link that you want to share on social media, and pick the channels that you want to include on your emails. HubSpot will automatically format it to the different social networks, making it easy for you to promote your content on social media — but also easy for your audience to share this content.6) Optimize your preview text.When you open your inbox, you see a list (a loooong list, usually) of your emails. Along with that list of emails is preview text letting you see part of the email, to give you more details about what it’s about so you can decide whether or not you want to open it.But did you know that that preview text isn’t necessarily the first line of your email? You can actually customize it to make it more action-oriented. Think about the ideal copy (it’s got to be short) you want your audience to see that will encourage them to open the email. Remember, it may not necessarily be the first couple lines of your email; it could actually be something much farther down in the email, maybe a portion that highlights your call-to-action. Treat your preview text as an opportunity to present your readers with another call-to-action — one to open your email in the first place.What other CTAs do you use in your email marketing, beyond the typical primary redemption button? You probably know you should have a big, standout call-to-action (CTA) in every email marketing message you send. But do you know that there’s a lot of different opportunities for CTA placement and type, beyond that same old “Download Now!” button you’re used to?While it may be a bit frightening to include CTAs other than a big, bold redemption button, CTA variety is actually critical for improving your email engagement, which can result in a wider funnel through email marketing and higher net new lead gen.With that in mind Let’s nestle in and get creative, folks. Here are some primary and secondary call-to-action opportunities to consider in your email marketing, all taking different forms that you might not have thought of.1) Include text CTAs.When someone thinks of a CTA, they normally think of a button or graphic that’s used to help people take action. But CTAs don’t have to be visual; they can actually just be text. You can choose whether you want to link that text to something else — or just have it be a statement.For example, if you’re running an email campaign to follow up with a group of people who have done a demo but not purchased your product, you may want to send out a personal email from your sales rep following up with them. (Note: You can send an email campaign like this using HubSpot so your sales reps don’t have to do this individually). A CTA that’s as simple as “Please send me an email at xyz@company.com and we can set up a time to chat” may be a good way to ask your leads to take that next step in your buyer’s journey. This type of CTA can be a great way to help you qualify your leads. If someone takes that extra step to call you or email you back asking to hear additional information, you can bet your sales team is going to be interested in continuing that conversation. .2) Add CTAs to signatures.Email signatures are often forgotten landscape that can be used for CTAs. That could mean including your Twitter handle within your signature and linking to your Twitter profile, including your company’s phone number, or even promoting registration for an event or webinar that’s coming up. (If you regularly communicate with anyone at HubSpot, for example, you may notice many signatures rocking an INBOUND 2014 registration call-to-action.)When deciding what type of CTA to add to your signature, think about the content of the email and the placement of the CTA. Ideally this secondary CTA will either align with the subject matter of the email (if you’re sending an email about a social media ebook, you offer registration to a social media webinar), or be general enough to be interesting to anyone (like INBOUND registration).3) Link your images to landing pages or blog posts.Here’s something we learned over the past couple years — people love clicking images.With that information, we’ve learned that images can do more for your email marketing than just be a visual cue to the contents of the offer you’re promoting, or draw the eye to where you want your reader to go. They can actually help improve the conversion rates of your email — particularly when the image in your email has a natural tie-in to the offer you’re promoting.For instance, if you’re promoting a checklist in your email message and you include an image of a checklist in that email, it’s natural for readers to think they could click that checklist to redeem the offer. Yes, even if you have a big colorful “Get Your Checklist” button in the email. So link that image to your checklist landing page!You can see an example of this in action in the image below — a linked PowerPoint presentation (that looks like, conveniently, a presentation). And yes, I’ve linked the image in this post, too.center_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How I Paid for My Christmas Presents and How It May Be Ruining Consumer Trust

first_imgThis year’s Christmas was a huge success for me on a number of different levels. Not only did I check everyone off my list with at least one heart-felt present but I was also able to do it for next to nothing. But how?Let’s take a step back first.Over the last four or so Christmases (the ones where I actually had money to spend on those closest to me), I have averaged right around $500 spent on presents for everyone (girlfriend, parents, sibling, extended family, coworkers, boss, friends, etc.). I enjoy finding just the right gift for the people closest to me and don’t mind at all spending a relatively large chunk of my paycheck getting them something unique.Now, this year for me was different. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself with less money than normal to purchase the types of presents that I wanted to for my family and friends. Luckily for me, though, there were alternative options available that allowed me to supplement a large majority of my Christmas budget: Software Reviews.As you well know, review sites such as G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, Capterra, Cloudswave and GetApp have grown in popularity over the last year or so and are now some of the first places both businesses and consumers go for information regarding different consumer and business software.Much like Yelp, users create profiles (or connect their profiles to their LinkedIn accounts) and then leave product or service reviews regarding different, specific elements about the company’s offering. These reviews are then authenticated by the site’s review team before they are published on the company’s profile. Seems legitimate and something that could ultimately be helpful to consumers looking to get unbiased information regarding different solutions they are considering. There’s just one problem…A certain, unknown percentage of these reviews have been paid for.Now, when I say “paid for,” I don’t mean there are people in some foreign country being paid $2/hour to write consumer product reviews. No, every review on these websites is from real consumers who have at least some knowledge and experience with the product. When I say “paid for”, I’m referring to the now-common act of exchanging product reviews for gift cards.How It WorksThere are two ways that a person might be approached and solicited gift cards in exchange for reviews, one seemingly more “black hat” than the other.Scenario 1: Review Site Reaches OutAs new review sites like Cloudswave and GetApp come online and begin to fight for search engine rankings against some of the bigger, more established sites, they will begin to reach out to people who have left product reviews on their competitor’s pages and offer gift cards in exchange for honest and helpful reviews (often establishing a word or character limit to ensure enough detail).Depending on the site and the number of products you have knowledge of, you could make anywhere from $10 to $25 in gift cards (most likely Amazon) per review! All that needs to be done once contact is established by the review site is for the reviewer to notify the site of the products they will review, receive approval or notice on which ones will be paid for and then have the reviews be written, reviewed and approved before a digital gift card is sent.Overall, this scenario and the review site is less worried about specific product reviews and more about building awareness and clout surrounding their library of real, honest, and detailed reviews across a spectrum of categories. Reviewers are encouraged to leave honest reviews, whether positive or scathing, and reviewers often have to prove their access to the different platforms they are reviewing (through screenshots of login screens or dashboards mainly).Scenario 2: Software Company Reaches OutMore and more companies online today have noticed the power and influence that these new review sites have begun to attract and have taken quick measures to ensure that their presence on these sites are positive overall.Much like the review sites from Scenario 1, a software company that you already work with will contact you with a proposal for a positive review in exchange for a gift card. Often times, customers will only be contacted if they are known to be power users or evangelists (often tracked within the software company’s CRM) and will be told that they will only receive gift cards if they leave the highest level and most favorable review (5 stars, 90+%, etc.) possible.Once the review is written, reviewed, and approved by the review site, the reviewer will then take their live review link and send it back to the software company for verification and payment. Since there is only one review to be made by a consumer, they are often paid anywhere from $20 to $50 in gift cards (often Amazon) for their glowing review.Unlike in Scenario 1, most of these companies (but not all) require that the content in their reviews be favorable toward their software in order to receive payment which opens up a number of ethical questions and an overall debate surrounding this new and growing practice.Now Back to Me…Over the course of a month and a half (November-December 15th), I wrote approximately 25 reviews across 4 different review sites and received around $250 in Amazon gift cards that helped me pay for nearly all of my Christmas presents.I was approached by review sites themselves as well as directly by companies and ultimately spent about 6 hours of my weekend time putting together honest and detailed reviews of both software that I was knowledgeable on, as well as some that I had used once over a year ago. There were some platforms that I couldn’t stop writing about when it came to functionalities and benefits and others that I had to read reviews on just to get myself to the required word limit.How These Practices May Be Ruining Consumer TrustA recent advertising study put on by Nielson showed that only two thirds (66%) of internet users trust consumer opinions online, a statistic that is down 2% from 2013. While still a majority of consumers seem to hold trust in these B2B software review sites, recent events within the B2C review world raise questions on how long this trust will last.B2C online review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have seen public pushback over the past decade, thanks mainly in part to competitor review and paid review scandals. As the public began to learn more about these various scandals, more scrutiny from the public, users and businesses alike was applied to reviews, ultimately leading to the loss of consumer trust.Using another example, the literary world was in shock a few years back after it was shown that many authors were paying for “honest reviews by verified purchasers” of books on Amazon. While these authors made arguments that they were merely incentivizing people to leave reviews, the grey area they most certainly had stepped into was not well received by the public. Sound familiar?While it is currently unclear if the “gift cards for reviews” model is erroding consumer trust of these new software review sites, history shows that the larger a review site or industry gets, the more scrutiny their reviews and practices will receive.The Final Question: Is This Right?When it comes down to it, there are four positions we must consider when questioning if the digital marketing practice of exchanging reviews for gift cards is right or not: the review site, the reviewer, the software company and the review reader (end user).The Review SiteFrom a review site’s standpoint, there is very little to question when it comes to providing gift cards for reviews so long as there are a certain number of checks and balances in place (which nearly all of these sites have). These sites often need more reviews with more detail so that they can provide their site’s users the best information possible to aid them in their purchasing decision.Much like any other review platform out there, few people willingly leave reviews unless they are on one of the extreme sides of the customer satisfaction spectrum, leaving very little helpful information from the rest of the users. The problem is that most users of the software who fall in the middle of this spectrum are busy and require incentive to take any amount of time out of their day to leave a review.So, in exchange for a relatively small gift, these review sites are able to bring in users with experience and knowledge surrounding the products people want reviews on and can ensure they are leaving quality advice and information thanks to their internal review process.If done correctly, everyone connected to this practice wins. The review site gets a quality review in an area they are looking for, the reviewer gets a gift card and the review site’s users get helpful reviews that can ultimately aid them in their purchasing decision. If done poorly and with little reviewer oversite, poor or duplicate review content can slip through the cracks and ultimately hurt the end user’s experience.The Software CompanyFrom a software company’s standpoint, the practice of exchanging gift cards for favorable reviews lands in a moral grey area. You know that customer reviews are extremely important in today’s world and while you know that you have a number of happy customers who most likely wouldn’t mind leaving you a review on some of the major sites you also know that they are busy people who require (and deserve) incentive to take time out of their busy day to do so.Depending on the size of your happy customer list and the amount you are willing to gift for a review, your company could be spending anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars on these reviews that will not only help you become more visible on these review sites but also allow you to gather (potentially) honest feedback that your product team can then use to improve your overall offering in the future.Ultimately, you know that your profiles on these review sites need to have overwhelmingly positive reviews for you to see any kind of ROI on this venture, so you most likely are asking for positive feedback only (or are making it easy for your customers to read between the lines that this is what you want).At the end of the day, the review site gets more reviews on your software which helps them, reviewers receive incentive and compensation for the time spent writing detailed, potentially honest reviews, the review site’s users may or may not have gotten helpful information to use and you received positive reviews to help establish yourself on the site.The ReviewerFrom a reviewer’s standpoint, your conscious may or may not be clear at the end of this process depending on who approached you and how helpful you believe you actually were with your review.As a user, you most likely use a number of different products out there on a daily basis and know plenty about them but just don’t have the time or feel the drive to share your experiences with others out there. When approached by either a company or a review site, you are more likely to leave a review in exchange for some sort of compensation and will spend the necessary time to meet the requirements set so that you can walk away from the site with money to spend.You most likely left a good review (the site approved it, right?) but the information in there may or may not have been entirely yours depending on how much you needed to write vs. how much you knew or if you had to sway your responses one way or another to meet the requirements set.At the end of the day, the review site and the software company got their review, you got your money but it may or may not be clear as to if the review site’s users actually got a helpful review or just a generic post.The Review ReaderFrom an end-user standpoint, reviews are reviews to a certain extent. Visiting a site to either look at reviews for a single company or to compare features and reviews of different options is only helpful when you have reviews to work with. But while having a library of reviews to peruse is good, your overall experience and the amount of helpful information you walk away with will only be as good as the quality of reviews left.It can be difficult to tell whether or not a review is honest and helpful, especially if you are aware of the incentives being provided to reviewers. A sea of similar reviews and ratings can be just as unhelpful as no reviews and can call into doubt the validity of any statements being made throughout the site.When all is said and done, the user only found this review site because they showed up well on an initial internet search. The company has a presence and reviews on the site and a number of users were compensated for their honest reviews, but it is unclear whether or not the end user will find the information they are looking for or if they will trust the information they do find.The Author’s Final ThoughtsHaving looked at the practice of exchanging gift cards for reviews, I’ve found that the positives outweigh the negatives if, and only if, the proper steps are taken by the review site to fully authenticate any and all reviews. Without proper and through authentication, poor reviews can slip through and ultimately hurt the website’s reputation in the eyes of the end user. Furthermore, software companies practicing gift cards for reviews must ensure that they are requesting only honest reviews and not requiring positive reviews in return for payment.Both the review sites and the software companies on them have a lot to risk when exchanging gift cards for reviews, especially when it comes to their reputations. Consumer trust is something that can be hard to earn back once lost, and as a resource claiming to be agnostic, reviews sites must ensure that they are promoting only practices and procedures that will ensure reviews that help the end user. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Ecommerce Marketing Originally published Jan 25, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2017last_img read more

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Instagram Followers (& What to Do Instead)

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Instagram Marketing You might know your Instagram content is good, but imagine how much better it will seem if it looks like 10,000 people agree.Whether you’re trying to become a social media celebrity or simply looking to spread brand awareness on Instagram, it can seem tempting to pay for your first couple thousand followers.Download 25 Free Business Instagram Templates.There are plenty of services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for the price of a small Starbucks latte. But of course, if it really was that cheap and easy, everyone would be doing it. So what’s the catch? Is buying Instagram followers legal and safe for your business? Is it a worthwhile investment?Here, we’ve gone ahead and covered all the questions you might have about buying Instagram followers to give you a better idea of how it actually works. We’ve also explored the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself if it’s a good move for your brand.Can you buy Instagram followers?Yes, you can buy Instagram followers. There are plenty of cheap services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for as little as $10 USD. But you’re only paying for a number. Many of those followers are either bots or inactive accounts, which means they’ll never engage with your posts.As a quick Google search will reveal, there are many cheap services you can use to buy Instagram followers. For about $6 USD, you can get 500 followers, and for about $10 USD, you can get 1,000 followers.The vast majority of these purchasable followers, however, are either bots or inactive accounts.When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.In addition to buying followers directly, you can also pay services to strategically follow other accounts on your behalf based on your preferences (location, hashtag usage, account type, and gender). Ideally, those followed accounts will then follow you back.With this option, your followers are more likely to be real people, but engagement is still unlikely. Since you can’t even guarantee these accounts will follow you back, it’s a risky investment. Most accounts won’t follow you back, and even if they do, they probably aren’t going to be long-term, loyal, or active followers.If your priority is simply to have a big follower count, these services can definitely help you. When your number of organic followers dips, these services even replenish your pool with other followers.But remember the risks: these followers will probably never like or comment on a post, and if you’re caught with a ton of fake followers, you could ruin your credibility with your real audience.Think of it this way: would you keep following an account if you saw that most of their “loyal audience” were inactive accounts or bots? I’m guessing not. It could seem deceitful, and lead you to believe the brand couldn’t get authentic followers through good content alone.Should you buy Instagram followers?It’s not a good idea to buy Instagram followers. The purchased followers are likely bots or inactive accounts, so they won’t engage with your posts. This means your posts won’t show up on Explore Pages, or on your real audience’s newsfeeds. It will also make it hard to measure metrics.You’re buying fake Instagram followers.The main reason buying Instagram followers can prove to be a wasted investment is because the accounts you follow often aren’t real.Fake followers are created either because they’re managed by users whose only goal is to get followed in return, or because these accounts are sponsored by services that sell followers — as we discussed in the section above. And while these accounts might offer early engagement, they’ll ultimately become a drain on your Instagram account’s performance metrics (we’ll get to that in just a minute).You’ll get early engagement that tapers off.Purchased Instagram followers also provide no long-term value to your profile’s content. The followers you buy might give you views, likes, and comments early into acquiring them as a follower, but the attention they throw you now won’t be there later — when you start reporting on how your Instagram account is performing.And how helpful, really, are 10,000 followers that don’t engage with you? Engagement is key to how Instagram’s algorithm displays posts to users. Without likes or comments, your post probably won’t show up on your audience’s newsfeeds, and it also won’t show up on any Explore Pages.Having a lot of followers could convince users to follow you organically, but it’s not a guarantee.Users might notice you don’t have a ton of engagement on your posts, which could deter them from following you. If you have 10,000 followers but only four likes per post, it won’t take people long to realize something is up.Without real followers to engage with your content, your posts are essentially hidden from everyone except your inauthentic audience. Plus, your fake followers won’t share your post on any of their channels. And they won’t discuss your brand in real life with friends or family, because, well … they don’t exist in real life (no offense, bots).Bought Instagram followers can distort your performance metrics.It’s practically impossible to measure how well your target audience is connecting with your brand if a high percentage of that audience isn’t real. How will you measure posts that do well with your real audience if those bots and inactive accounts skew the ratio?If you don’t know how well your posts are doing or what your real audience thinks, you’ll never convert your Instagram followers into real customers. And isn’t that the point?Ultimately, if you pay for Instagram followers, you aren’t paying for quality, real-life followers. You’re paying for a blank number. And since Instagram’s algorithm is largely tied to engagement, not followers, buying followers isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, it isn’t really a solution at all.Take the time, energy, and money that you would’ve dedicated to buying followers, and focus instead on building genuine relationships with a real audience. If your content is engaging and authentic, your loyal followers will spread the word and engage with your brand without needing any bribes.Instagram Identifies and Purges Fake FollowersRecently, Instagram has updated its terms of use to identify and remove inauthentic accounts from its platform. Instagram is removing any likes, follows, or comments from third-party apps that are designed to artificially grow accounts’ audiences. By buying followers, you violate Instagram’s community guidelines and it may trigger a reaction from Instagram moderators. Instagram is looking to maintain genuine interactions on its site, protecting real accounts and experiences. Fake or bought activity infringes upon this mission and might result in consequences, so it’s better to grow your audience organically.Alternatives to Buying Instagram FollowersInstagram’s new algorithm rewards engagement more than follower count, displaying content similar to posts users engaged with in the past. In order to drive engagement, there are many different actions one can try on the platform to get in front of your ideal audience.By using good Instagram marketing practices — whether you are building your personal brand or a company account — you can better reach the nearly 800 million monthly Instagram users and build an authentic audience. First, make your account public so that users can see your profile and content. This way, you can grow your audience organically when your content pops up on users’ explore pages, attracting and delighting your target viewership. Next, publish a variety of posts to your feed: you can post images, GIFs, videos, Boomerangs, quizzes on your story, how-tos, user-generated content, and so much more. Build trust and excitement among your followers by using high-quality photos, writing catchy captions, posting consistently, and keeping up a unique style overall to differentiate yourself from other accounts. Do your research on which hashtags generate a lot of buzz and which are aligned with your brand — hashtags can be a great way to reach new audiences if done correctly.Depending on your brand personality, it can help to be funny or witty in your content. Having an acute awareness of how your brand is perceived and the trends going around Instagram will serve you when choosing content to post and how to interact with your Instagram community. Lastly, utilize the many different channels on the platform, like Instagram Live, IGTV, Instagram Stories, or Shopping on Instagram. There are so many different ways to connect with users, and by driving engagement through these features, you can drive engagement and traffic organically and authentically. Originally published Jul 11, 2019 2:00:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics:last_img read more

District court stays arrest warrant against Mohammed Shami

first_imgA district court on Monday stayed an arrest warrant against Indian pacer Mohammed Shami in connection with a case of alleged domestic violence filed by his estranged wife Hasin Jahan.District and Sessions Judge Rai Chattopadhyay stayed the warrant issued against Shami by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) on September 2.Shami had challenged the ACJM order in the District and Sessions Court.Shami’s counsel Sheikh Salim Rahaman said that it was pleaded before Judge Chattopadhyay that after filing of chargesheet in a case, the magistrate has to issue summons against the accused.Rahaman claimed that failing to appear before a court on summons may invite a warrant being issued by the magistrate.He claimed that the ACJM had instead of issuing the summons, issued a warrant of arrest against Shami.The ACJM had issued the arrest warrant against cricketer Shami, saying he should surrender within 15 days of returning to the country. Shami was on the West Indies tour with the Indian cricket team when the warrant was issued.Taking note that the pacer was away on ‘national duty’, the ACJM had kept in abeyance execution of the warrant till 15 days after his return to the country, according to Rahaman.The ACJM had directed that Shami would have to surrender before the court within 15 days of returning to India, failing which the arrest warrant would be executed against him.Jahan had filed the case of domestic violence against Shami and some of his family members in early 2018.Read | Mohammed Shami in touch with lawyer from US, returns on September 12Read | Mohammed Shami thinks he is too powerful, says his wife Hasin Jahanadvertisementlast_img read more

Ajinkya Rahane becomes father, wife Radhika gives birth to a baby girl

first_imgIndia vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane became father on Saturday after his wife Radhika Dhopavkar gave birth to a baby girl. Rahane woke up to the heartwarming news in Visakhapatnam wherein he is playing the first Test against South Africa.Ajinkya Rahane married his childhood friend Radhika in 2014. The two had met first in school and remained friends for quite some time before their parents met and arranged their marriage.Rahane’s fomer Inida teammate Harbhajan Singh took to social media to congratulate the new father. “Congratulations new daddy in town @ajinkyarahane88 hope Mum and lil princess ?? are doing well.. fun part of life starts now ajju. #fatherhood,” Harbhajan wrote.Congratulations new daddy in town @ajinkyarahane88 hope Mum and lil princess are doing well.. fun part of life starts now ajju. #fatherhoodHarbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 5, 2019Notably, Rahane is the latest Indian cricketer who has become father to a baby girl. The likes of MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh himself, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari are among the few who have a girl child.Ajinkay Rahane is currently with Team India who have resumed Day 4 action of the first Test of a 3-match series against India. Rahane returned to form during the 2-match Test series against West Indies after the World Cup. While the Mumbai batsman did not make the World Cup squad, his return to form has come at the right time as India are hoping to dominate the inaugural edition of World Test Championships.Notably, Radhika had taken to social media last week to post a photo of herself with a baby bump with an emotional message.advertisement”Have more of milk and milk products. Don’t have that much coffee. And are you taking the supplements you need?,” Radhika wrote.”:Being pregnant means being ready for extra care and extra attention from just about everyone. And the flood of information can only make things confusing. I have found it helpful to stick to the basics and keep track of my daily nutrient intake. Among all nutrients, I got to know how adequate iodine is essential for an expecting mother as well as the baby since first 1000 days of life are considered to be the critical period for Brain development for which Iodine is an essential nutrient… Requesting all mothers @momspresso to pledge their support in raising awareness for #MissingI.”Ajinkya Rahane did not trouble the scorers much in the first innings of the ongoing Test. After scoring 271 runs at an average of 90.33 in West Indies, Rahane will be keen on getting some big scores in the ongoing Test. He will be required to play a key role in India’s second innings as the hosts are looking to seal a 100-run first innings lead in Vizag.Also Read | R Ashwin second only to Muttiah Muralitharan on exclusive list after 21st 5-wicket haul at homeAlso See:last_img read more

CBSE to observe Fitness Week in November as part of Fit India Movement

first_imgIn an attempt to promote fitness among school children, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be observing Fitness Week in the second and third week of November as a part of Fit India Movement. The prime objective of the initiative is to bring about a behavioural change in school children from spending “Passive Screen Time” to “Active Field Time”.As many as 22,000 CBSE schools from all over the country will participate in this first-of-its-kind endeavour.Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju expressed his happiness over CBSE’s move and said Fit India Movement is the need of the hour.Here’s what Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said:”I am very happy to know that CBSE has decided to celebrate Fitness Week in all its affiliated schools. The Fit India Movement, envisioned by Honourable PM, is the need of the hour and we must make every effort to inculcate fitness habits in Indians from an early age.””The Sports Ministry is in talks with education departments of all state governments and we will soon finalise the plan to observe Fitness Week in schools across the country in the last week of November,” Rijiju said in an official statement.About Fitness Week:The extensive six-day programme is aimed to address both physical and mental fitness needs of children. Indigenous games from every state, such as Cowrie from Gujarat, Silamba from Tamil Nadu, Bante from Jammu and Kashmir, Gulli Danda from Punjab, Pambaram from Kerala, will also be included in the fitness regime of children.advertisementKhelo India Mobile App:CBSE has also decided to assess the fitness levels of students from the age of 5 years to 16 years using the Khelo India Mobile App that has been developed by the Sports Authority of India. The App has an inbuilt fitness test for various age groups and helps ascertain aspects such as flexibility, core strength and agility of students, the scores of which can then be used to identify students who have the prospect of taking up sport at the professional level.Read: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju lauds CBSE’s decision to organise Fitness Week in schoolsRead: CBSE introduces booklet of 122 pages for Class 12 students to choose better career optionAlso read :CBSE introduces experiential learning from 2019-20 sessionlast_img read more

100 Days of Summer: Get to Know No. 82 Cole Walterscheid

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. We’ve already made it to Day 82. As the summer rolls on, let’s do the same and look at a story of hard work, genetics and seized opportunity by one of the stalwarts of Oklahoma State’s defensive line in defensive end Cole Walterscheid.How he got to OSUThe three-star defensive end from Muenster, Texas went with the only Power 5 school to offer him a scholarship. At that time he was 6-foot-5, 205 pounds and lanky.“If he turned sideways you couldn’t see him,” Gundy said. “He’s got a big dad – tall dad. Mom’s pretty good size for a female. So we were hoping he would grow into this.”AdChoices广告This is still my favorite recruiting tip and an all-time Gundyism. Luckily for OSU, Joe Bob Clements is keen to Gundy’s hypotheses. Apparently, we all should be. In his first year in Stillwater, Walterscheid went from a 210 pounds to 242. Now, heading into his redshirt junior year, he’s listed at 260 thanks to Rob Glass and some late-night trips to the drive-thru.What he’s done in StillwaterAfter injury limited him to spot duty as a redshirt freshman, Walterscheid took a starting spot in the wake of Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean’s departure — and in lieu of an injured Jordan Brailford.Walterscheid burst onto the scene in Week 3 against Pittsburgh. The sophomore recorded four tackles — all for a loss — and sacked Nathan Peterman twice in just the third start of his career.Walterscheid started all 13 games at defensive end and tallied 28 tackles which was second only to Vincent Taylor among linemen. He added 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, five QB hurries and a forced fumble.Role in 2017Walterscheid will compete for starting reps again with Jarrell Owens and Jordan Brailford who should be healthy by fall camp. We can also include Tralund Webber and Vili Leveni in a lethal three-deep end group. Any and all of these guys should make an impact.Noteworthy stats and highlightsThe Pitt game was his best from a numbers standpoint. Also recorded a career-high seven tackles against Oklahoma.last_img read more

Josh Groban Keeps Busy With Holiday Charity Initiatives

first_imgJosh Groban was busy with a number of fundraising initiatives for his Find Your Light Foundation prior to Christmas.Groban established the Find Your Light Foundation in 2011 to to enrich the lives of young people through arts, education, and cultural awareness, and the singer believes that early exposure in the arts helps shape young people’s lives.In late November and early December, the Foundation launched a fundraising auction that brought in $96,181.“The final amount that the first official auction brought in is staggering and humbling,” commented Josh. “I am so proud of what YOU the fans have been able to accomplish here. And so many young people’s lives and creative spirits will be lifted from the contributions you made. I’m grateful beyond words!”Also before Christmas, Josh and the Foundation helped Toys for Tots help the thousands of kids who didn’t have presents to wake up to by launching the Grobanite Toy Drive. Over 2600 toys were donated, with the Foundation offering people the chance to donate toys directly from Amazon.com.Watch Josh go toy shopping for the needy below.Video: Josh Groban – Toys For Tots Shopping Spree [Extras].last_img read more

Open Season Scared Silly Characters Join Smokey Bear To Promote Campfire Safety

first_imgSony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and Sony Pictures Animation have joined forces with the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to help raise awareness for Smokey Bear’s national wildfire prevention campaign, using #SmokeyBearHug.Smokey Hugs Boog and ElliotOPEN SEASON: SCARED SILLY stars Boog & Elliot received a hug from Smokey Bear this weekend for promoting campfire safety, kicking off a nation-wide program teaching youth from the Boys and Girls Club of America how to safely build, manage and put out a campfire.Video: Open Season: Scared Silly Sizzle“We are so pleased that Boog & Elliot are serving as ambassadors for Smokey’s wildfire prevention campaign,” said Jennifer Anderson, SVP, Marketing, SPHE. “Teaching children campfire safety tips will bring the importance of wildfire prevention to a whole new generation.”“The U.S. Forest Service educates children to prevent unwanted wildfires,” said James Hubbard, deputy chief of the agency’s State and Private Forestry. “We are excited Boog and Elliott will help spread Smokey Bear’s message of campfire safety. This partnership helps today’s youth become tomorrow’s adults who use fire responsibly and care for our nation’s forests and grasslands.”For every Boys & Girls Club youth member participating, SPHE will donate a tree to be planted by the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to replace those lost during natural disasters such as wildfires, and insect and disease outbreaks.“Our national forests and grasslands are home to thousands of animals, from bears like Boog to deer like Elliot. They also provide clean water, clean air and opportunities for hiking, camping and playing in nature. Wildfires, insects and disease can negatively impact forest health, which is why we’re very grateful to SPHE for supporting reforestation efforts through our Trees for US program. Together, we can ensure our national forests and grasslands are healthy and vibrant for generations to come,” said Marcus Selig, Interim President at the NFF.Audiences everywhere are encouraged to also participate in spreading awareness of campfire safety by posting their own fire safety photos using #SmokeyBearHug online.last_img read more