Thursday, March 10, 2016

Amazon Site Down Again

Today the major online retailer, Amazon.com, had a brief period of service disruption in the US. Data compiled by downdetector.com showed that 2:19 PM, the site had over 10 thousand reports of trouble of either logging on, or loading site at all.
Map provided by Downdetector.com at 3:00 PM; Google Earth TOS applys (https://www.google.com/intl/en-US_US/help/terms_maps.html)


While most parts of the country were back up by 3:00 PM, Los Angeles and several other major cities still reported the site down.

Last year, Amazon took over as the worlds biggest retailer, reported the LA Times. Even a short time down is a big deal. Web content providers often depend on revenue from Amazon's Associate program to keep content free for their readers. If readers can't complete a purchase, they may choose to not make a purchase, or visit later instead. This keeps blog writers and other content providers from getting their 4 or 6 percent referral fee.

Amazon.com has yet to comment on the outage.

Creative Content Writing Services is available for all your content needs, including social media profile management. Contact me at Christine Emmick on Facebook with your content request.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Be in It to Win It - The Small Business Social Media Game

File:Hebeb├╝hne.JPG
Source: Wikimedia Commons Bukk
I recently shared a need on my Facebook page for snow tires, and in less than 4 minutes I had a local auto repair company reach out through a mutual friend. I checked the ratings on their Facebook page, and made a purchasing decision.

The whole thing happened in less than 11 minutes.

Not all of your small business leads will come from social media, but when they do, response time is crucial. Be slow on the uptake, and your customers will move on.

But when you constantly monitor social media, you might miss a lug nut. Psychology experts in media like Eli Brown agree that social media multi-tasking is a myth that costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the form of lost productivity.

So how do you serve current clients without missing new ones? Here are some ways to respond to new leads, while keeping up with your current customers:

  • Use Alerts - If your line of work allows, set email alerts so you know right when a potential customer comments on a post or sends you a message. That way you only have to monitor one thing, your email, instead of multiple social media accounts.
  • Time Posts - Many social media sites allow you to write a post, then have it appear later, when traffic is heavier. This means you can devote off work hours to write a few posts, then time them to appear later, when your customers are looking, and you are working.
  • Consider Hiring Help - Let's face it, following all social media accounts can be overwhelming, even for the professionals. Running a small business with limited resources often necessitates bringing in help for things like marketing, even if it is just temporarily.
Hiring someone to manage communication for you can help direct leads, provide information to customers and answer complaints almost instantaneously. This means happier customers, who talk about their experience with connections, and well informed potential clients ready to buy. Services often include creating engaging and informative posts that get people chatting about your company, or entertaining posts that will get shared with friends.

Creative Content Writing Services is available for all your content needs, including social media profile management. Contact me at Christine Emmick on Facebook with your content request. I will get back to you quickly, I promise. ;)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Social Media Privacy and Google Plus

I recently saw an interesting thread about strangers adding you to their circles...

In this thread, a woman named Susan proposed eloquently several reasons why it's not a good idea to allow followers to add you to their circles without approval by you.

"The heavy-using diehards defending this product do not comprise critical mass for Google to support it indefinitely; they won't let it go now, but if it does not resonate with a critical mass, for reasons such as I outlined, about power going to the person desiring the association against the wishes of the person who does not desire such association, it will be the product's undoing. Due to its stubborn insistence to adhere to an ideology that doesn't resonate for many of us. (And with good reason--I could site basic psychological and sociological studies about what conditions makes people feel safe and like contributing---being able to have agency over, or informed consent regarding, who "claims" you is just one factor)."

I feel much the same as this woman who posted in the Gplus experience forum. I just had a stranger add me to their circles who had zero content on any of his Google products. I blocked him because I have no idea what his intent is, and he'd be able to easily get to what I posted publicly, I'd show up as being followed by him, and he'd also be able to know who else is following me.

As an aside, although I can limit what I share publicly on g+, I cannot limit what friends share about me on g+. This alone is enough to gain access to my information. It is also incredibly easy to accidentally post personal information. At least in Facebook these accidental posts can be defaulted to a specific audience. Conversely, every time I post anything to g+ it defaults to public.

I then gave Google feedback asking them to please make an approval process for followers. But like many have found out before, they are not listening. Which is why I will use Google+ for only information I want to make public, like my blog posts, and will continue to do so until this is corrected. To the left is a screenshot of where you can leave feedback on your own g+ account. Click Home, then find Feedback in tiny print at the bottom of the bar. Click and submit to tell Google how you really feel.

In the meantime, if you want to block someone from your circles, go to their g+ page and underneath their name click the tiny arrow "˅". I box will pop up asking you if you want to simply mute, or block them.













Carefully select those you want to block. For instance, my criteria for blocking is:
  • People I do not know who add me to their circles
  • People with zero profile information
  • People who are posting things that I do not want to be associated with
  • People who are badgering me, or spamming me
Remember, you will still show up in their circles, even if you block them, but they will no longer have access to any of your content.

Play nice out there. Social media is fun and educational, as long as we keep our senses about us.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Is That Email a Scam?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia user Sabinocivita. No endorsement implied. Licenced under : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Email scams are more prevalent these days. With many people looking for work, and consequently putting personal information on pubic sites, scammers have an even greater pool of people than in the past.

Two months ago, I was contacted about a job. For a month's worth of working I'd receive a $1,000 pay check from a company called HERO, Inc., for doing assistant type tasks. At first glance, everything seemed legitimate, so I filled out the form and got my first assignment. Because of the strangeness of the assignment, I reconsidered and asked to talk to the manager directly before beginning the task. 

It turns out he was not available, for 3 whole work days. After repeated emails and phone message requests to be contacted, I refused any further contact with the company. I guess it's a good thing that I never filled out my W-4 form.

I got another such email this month, only this time I was wiser. I decided to search some of the text of the email instead of the company name. I got tons of matches on scam reporting sites. 

Being a writer, I know how much time it takes to create original copy. It only makes sense that the bad guys wouldn't be spending time or money on that, especially if they've crafted persuasive copy that was shown effective in the past.

Several boards, like scamwarners.com and scamdex.com, attempt to give would be victims the leg up, but in order to find these companies you have to know what name they are using this week. Instead of searching for a name do this instead:




  1. Scan the email and select what might be considered a common "hook" line. This will most likely be at the top or bottom of the email.



  2. Put this in a search engine with quotes (") around it and examine what you find.


  3. If you do not find anything...




  4. Try searching a smaller phrase. For example, instead of searching, "Based on your resume on beyond.com we to suggest you following job," try leaving out the beyond.com website while maintaining the quotes around the other two phrases.



  5. The face of work is changing dramatically to match employer and employee need. This is good, 
    but it makes it nearly impossible to determine if some companies are legitimate. Do your research before developing a working relationship. Like the saying goes, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Sign...or Else

    I had a wake-up call last week while getting things together for the purchase of our first REO property. The list of addendum included liabilities to the tune of $100 per day if we don't close on the specified date. But what surprised me the most was there was no quid pro quo. The bank could be as late as they wanted to closing and they experienced no ramifications at all.


    When I balked at the notion that I should pay a per deim, my agent talked to the other agent. He said that we were only $500 higher than the next highest bidder. Which reading between the lines you can see what that meant.

    In a recent post on Activerain.com an agent posted a blog about a sellers use of the property after the sale. According to the "Arms Length Transaction Notice" that both seller and buyer had to sign on a short sale, the bank was forcing the parties to say they will never let the seller rent or buy the property.

    Now, I understand that the seller could be trying to get out from under the house just to buy it again, but who cares? If the bank got a fair price for it, then why do they give a crap what happens to it afterward? It seems a bit draconian of them to insist that the people who know the most about the house, want to keep their kids in the same school and have made connections in the neighborhood to have no recourse to stay. This is not good for neighborhoods, communities and the country in general. Having to move in the middle of job loss is a recipe for dysfunction, which will be carried onto the taxpayers who are still working by way of new housing assistance, welfare payments and other subsidies.

    We who are in the real estate business need to call these REO sellers to account. What is happening is not good for the industry either. How much more time are you spending on deals because of increased paperwork and time affiliated with these transactions? How much liability are you as an agent opening yourself up to with all these fine print addendum and notices? I say Fannie and Freddie need a refresher economics course in free market society. All this red tape is raising some red flags and I'm beginning to smell something funny, and it's not just the stench of a stuffy vacant property.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    CCWS News - Elance

    Look for me, Christine Emmick, on Elance.com. Here you can request services, inquire about rates and browse my portfolio. Click here to visit me on Elance.

    Posted using ShareThis

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Why Writing Samples are an Essential Part of Your Resume

    You took time to review your work history and craft that winning resume that is sure to make that employer or client choose you over the other guy. Now be ready to provide samples when they are requested. Having the samples ready before they are requested

    Choose samples that show your writing style, and your expert knowledge of the subject matter. Be sure to select pieces that adhere to the format and may interest their audience. For instance, if you are bidding on a medical writing position, select a research sample with some type of science bent. If you are looking to break into news writing, supply a piece that displays your ability to supply important information early in the copy and makes an impact in the headline.

    Also, don't even thing about plagiarizing content....

    WAIT JUST A MINUTE! "Thing"? This piece is a perfect example of why you must, must, MUST proofread your copy before hitting the "publish" button! Remember, potential clients are searching for you, and anything you publish may be scrutinized, including anything you post publicly to social media. It looks like I need to go back and proofread my blog posts! Let's try this again...

    Don't even think about plagiarizing content. Most hiring editors will take the time to check your samples with an authentication site like Copyscape to make sure potential employees don't try to pass of someone else's sample as their own. Even if they don't check the copy and you get the job it can turn into a bad scene. If your writing is not up to their standard you won't keep your position long, and your client may post bad reviews about your work, which may end your career.

    If you don't have published samples of your work, how do you get them? You can start by creating your own blog, this gives both writing practice and a potential audience. Then start looking for opportunities for writing web content. These might not pay well at first, but they expand your work experience. You get the opportunity to work with an editor, and get a little cash on the side. You can find opportunities at sites such as Elance and Freelancer, and both of these sites have free user accounts to get you started. If you put out great copy, the word may get out and you'll have more work than you can handle! :)