Archive for January, 2018

What do companies like Pepsi, Wal-Mart, and your plumber have in common? Bartering.

Business bartering is BIG… and it’s happening at every level. The International Reciprocal Trade Association reports that in 2011 over 400,000 companies worldwide used bartering to earn an estimated $12 billion on unwanted or underused assets.

Discussions with senior executives around the world, show that in response to tighter credit and budgets companies are exploring new ways to create and capture value. In this context, they see bartering as a way to steer around the restrictions imposed by cash and credit, to extract value from perishable or under-performing assets, and to expand channels to market and find new customers.

Business bartering has been around for a while (Pepsi conquered the USSR by bartering the soft drink for vodka in 1990), but the pace is rapidly increasing. In 2010, for example, the North Carolina Bar Association approved the participation of attorneys in organized barter exchanges allowing them, for example, to swap legal services for credits to “spend” on a vast range of services from computing to web design, auto repairs and advertising.

Now, at barter exchanges across the world, professionals from doctors to electricians are trading their services for goods, services or “trade credits” which can then be used to pay for business expenses like printing, advertising or travel. Meanwhile, corporate barter firms, the intermediaries in barter transactions, have flourished, helping companies to create value from assets which may no longer fit their strategy, may not be working at capacity or are no longer needed.

Client firms swap what they don’t want or need for something they do — frequently media services. In addition to swapping goods and services for media, companies can use the trade credits they receive from the bartering intermediary to exchange for freight, travel, waste management and equipment. Honda, Kia and Subaru for example, have bartered cars for media trade credits. Haymarket Exhibitions made part payment for advertising using tickets to their exhibitions. Leading electronics firms have bartered discontinued stock, placing it in leading hotels in exchange for media and trade credits — gaining a potential new client in the hotel group in the process. Food manufacturers have bartered excess inventory in exchange for media credits or trade certificates allowing them to purchase other services such as hospitality and cleaning. Lufthansa has bartered real estate for media credits and aviation fuel.

Companies Looking At Bartering Should Consider These Three Questions:

1. Are there services for which you could barter to improve your cost base or capacity utilization? For example, if you are in the travel industry, can you trade “perishable” excess capacity — whether rooms or golf tee times — for flat screen TVs or refitting your fitness center, as Magnolia Hotels based in Denver has done?

2. What under-performing or non-strategic assets do you have that could generate value through creative bartering? For example, food processor Hormel Foods Corporation sold a frozen food brand which no longer fit its strategic goals to corporate barter firm ICON in return for putting part of its media spending through ICON.

3. What other assets could your company benefit from by using barter? For example, could a barter deal quickly expand reach, credibility or brand recognition in the market for new products poised to launch? One start-up microbrewery in the US funded its launch and purchase of essential services by bartering for its stock via a barter exchange — building its brand in the process.

Look around your organization. How can you use barter to reduce costs, enhance revenues, build awareness or otherwise expand the pie? What linkages do you need to build in your organization, for example: between purchasing, finance and the business units to make these deals work?

Take a look at bartering as a extremely viable part of your corporate strategy in the present economy. You may find it to be a very profitable strategy indeed.

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The advent of technology has finally made it’s mark even in the field of marketing. E-mail, also known as electronic mail, is now turning out to be an indispensable medium of marketing on the Internet.

The Internet as a whole has a wide marketing arena because of the fact that it is spread oot over the whole world. This makes it accessible to almost every country. E-mails are very techno-savvy, effective, and fast. This is the reason that we can now see e-mail as an indispensable media of marketing.

Over the years local business has started realizing the advantages of e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing carries a lot of advantages along with it. Some of the benefits are:

1. Speed

This is the main factor as to why e-mail marketing is considered better over many other types of media. E-mail marketing along with it brings the advantage of high speed. E-mail marketing has a very high speed of information transfer. It just takes a second for the person to transfer information from his working place to the Internet worldwide, where everyone can view it worldwide.

2. Reach

One another factor as to why e-mail marketing is considered a better option is because of the fact that it has a better reach to the people worldwide than the other marketing media. E-mail marketing knows no boundaries and this helps the people to continue or conduct their marketing work on a larger scale. The higher reach of e-mail marketing, attracts more people towards it and thereby assists the whole marketing process.

3. Inexpensive

E-mail marketing is comparatively much less expensive than that of the other media. The people do not have to incur any special or extra cost to market their product or service.

4. Effective

E-mail marketing is more effective than many other methods of marketing. The reason being is that they are very techno-savvy, very fast and still pretty cost effective. This whole package makes e-mail marketing very cheap and pretty attractive. This is the reason that e-mail marketing is being seen as more approachable.

Thus we see why and how e-mail marketing has turned out to be an indispensable tool in marketing.

Can E-mail marketing work for your business? Are YOU using E-mail effectively? If you aren’t and would like to learn more…call us for a free consultation.

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There’s a storm brewing, and although we have only seen the first rumblings, it’s gonna be a whopper! I’m talking about what I call the “WI-Fi Security Crisis”, and if you don’t know what it is, then please read on…

Ask Yourself One Or More Of These Questions:

Q: Would you let a terrorist walk in off the street and call their buddies in Iran or Afghanistan using your phone?

Q: Would you allow a pervert to use your Internet connection to download child pornography?

Q: If you are a hotel General Manager, would you knowingly allow a thief to steal the data from a guest’s computer?

EVERY DAY, this and much more happens at WI-Fi hotspots around the world, but nobody seems too concerned about it. WHY?

Some recent examples:

1. A US Military war driving team finds an access point installed on the base granting open, unencrypted, unrestricted access to the internal US Military unclassified network. The access point is accessible from a K-Mart parking lot outside the military base.

2. A six-page, full-color article in Russia’s “Hacker Magazine” describes in complete, step-by-step detail how to attack hotspots of three Moscow Marriott Hotels operated by MoscomNET.

3. In a recent prosecution of a man for possession of child pornography. His defense that “he was on an open access point so it must have been someone else” failed, and he’s now looking at doing some hard time with the other criminals.

Open, unsecured access points aren’t the only threat, but they make a great entry point. Just drive around with NetStumbler and see how many access points still have the default D-Link or Linksys SSID and even the default username and password for administrative access and you have a small sample of the scope of this problem.

Even if the hotspot has reasonable measures to protect unauthorized users from accessing the Internet, few operators bother protecting legitimate users from intra-site attacks. Once the attacker can associate with an access point — any access point — they can begin port-scanning and attacking any users… that means YOU…associated with the same access point, and most often, users associated with any access point in the entire hotspot — all without needing any connectivity through the gateway.

Unsecured, unpatched client computers are juicy targets for data thieves, or anyone wishing to implant key loggers, root kits or any other malware. Hackers can easily get access to your passwords, credit card information, and now…automation codes for your home and security systems that protect your family. Such computers are all too easily found with simple, freely downloadable scanning and analysis tools. On the Internet, stolen identities are bought and sold everyday like so much coffee.

Interestingly enough, when interviewing one of the major authentication providers in preparation for writing another article, when asked what his company was doing about security, his response was, “We don’t worry much about it, the only hackers are in Russia…”

For operators with these attitudes, the wake-up call may be coming sooner than they think. Just go to Google Video and search for WI-Fi, war driving or wireless hacking and you will find videos with step-by-step demonstrations on exactly how to do it and what tools to use.

Hotels represent a unique problem. Most hotel IT Managers are ill equipped to understand let alone respond to the dangers wireless networks present. If the hotel is relying on a third-party operator to run their hotspot, the hotel IT Manager won’t have access or control of that network and couldn’t apply additional security even if they wanted to.

This is the case in Moscow where the three Marriott hotels rely on third-party operator MoscomNET to operate their hotspots. What baffles me is why virtually nothing has been done to secure the network since August 2006, when the Hacker Magazine article was published. To this very day, from the hacker’s perspective, nothing has changed and the same vulnerabilities still exist.

One major flaw in the Marriott/MoscomNET WI-Fi system is that they are still using MAC-address-based authentication. Such systems are wonderful for ‘ease-of-use’ but a total disaster with regards to security. (MAC addresses are the simplest thing in the world to harvest and spoof.)

For example, at a popular American hotel, I borrowed a WI-Fi adapter for my notebook computer, plugged it in and had instant, free access to the WiFi network. How did that happen? Very simple… the guest who borrowed the adapter before me returned it while time still remained on his account. The MAC address from the adapter automatically authenticated me to the system — no other credentials required.

And what if I did something evil, such as setting up a P2P server pirating music? As I had never purchased an account, the previous user of the account would receive the blame. As for attackers just capturing MAC addresses out of the air and spoofing them — they are completely untraceable and can do whatever they want with complete impunity.

Who can be held responsible and accountable? Hotel General Managers? Hotspot operators? IT Managers? Authentication and roaming partners? There is plenty of blame to go around, but nobody wants to take responsibility or action. It seems the safety and security of the guest’s computer or any other security matters are of no concern.

Is the problem a technical one? Not at all! Every commercial-grade access point is easily secured with WPA or WPA-2. (Forget about WEP.) Newer commercial access points allow simultaneous dual-mode operation — where the user can choose to associate insecurely or securely. This simple measure could reduce the risk of wireless eavesdropping to near zero. Only clients whose computers were incapable of operating in the secure mode would remain vulnerable.

So why don’t hotspot operators implement even minimal security precautions? I suspect it could be because:

1. Many WI-Fi operators simply lack the knowledge, skills and experience to properly secure and monitor their networks.

Let’s face it…setting up a couple of access points to share an Internet connection isn’t rocket science — but properly securing and managing even a small system does require knowledge, skills and experience well beyond the capability of the local ‘computer guy’.

2. WI-Fi hotspot operators who are more concerned about profit than security.

Secure systems ARE harder to manage and harder to use — which is another reason commercial operators are less likely to implement even the most basic of security measures. Real security would mean implementing encryption all the way from the client to the Gateway, and secure authentication — likely implemented through a Public Key Infrastructure and digital certificates.

Of course I realize that some client systems can not support certain security mechanisms, but at least give the client the option of borrowing supporting equipment and/or notifying them of the potential hazards they could be exposed to.

As of this writing, it does not appear that WI-fi cafes, hotels, or local small business will be taking any precautions to protect their customers from any level of threat here. I can only say that if you are considering transmitting your company information over a unsecured hot spot…think twice.

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Everyone needs targeted visitors to their websites and this can prove, at some times, to be a very tough job to do. You hear that you need to do one thing from this guru and another guru tells you to do something different. It gets confusing sometimes.

Now, the one strategy that will never fail you is finding good partners. Basically even internet marketing is about the “partners” you have and find. You need link partners to gain popularity in the search engines and when you want to sell a product effectively, you need JV partners to get it off the ground.

Why Should I Do A JV?

Well, whenever you have a product and you want to launch it, it may be wise to find websites in your niche that have lists and may be interested in selling your products. And even if they don’t have a list, just ask them if they would like to promote your product on their website.

What’s In It For Them?

Great question! Whenever you set-up a JV, you need to be sure there is something in it FOR THEM. So depending on your focus you could offer them a commission of 50 to 100% on a product you sell.

So how do your determine what kind of commission you will give to your affiliates? It really depends on your focus. If you want to build a list of paying customers quickly, you set-up a JV and give as much commission as possible to your JV partners but when it is for a product that you are going to sell as your main product, you could offer them a commission anywhere from 50 and 65% (you still need to make a living yourself).

In the first case the product doesn’t have to be extremely high priced, it is all about building that list with paying customers… your golden list. So something like $9.95 would be just fine and perfect to attract partners and hand you over their lists. Especially if you give-out a commission of 100%.

Now, the next thing you should do is make it as simple as possible for the JV partner. What I mean by that is that you shouldn’t let them do too much work. You should create all the messages for them(so they can send it out to their list), create a couple of banners that they can put up on their websites, text links, etc.

Let me give you a few basics you can follow when you set-up your Joint Ventures:

#1: Have a product to sell. You need to make sure you have some kind of product your could sell before you can set-up a JV. And this doesn’t have to be your own product, just think outside the box or check out this website for more information about Joint Ventures.

#2: Set-up you website. When you set-up a JV for your own product, you need a website to promote that product. So you will need to buy hosting and a domain name. I personally get my domains at Namecheap and my hosting at Hostgator.

#3: Find JV partners. This is a very time-consuming task but very rewarding in the end. All you should do is look for websites in your niche and ask them if they want to be your JV partner. Try to call them if possible and otherwise send them a email about your affiliate program(how much they can make, other advantages for them, etc).

#4: Set-up and prepare for launch. This is also a bit time consuming, but well worth it.

What you need to do is make sure your follow ups are ready, and that you start getting prospects before you launch and keep these prospects updated and interested about your product. Create a sense of urgency like your product is the best they can get in your niche. And it will make sure that your partners will make more money and the next time you launch something, they will be happy to help you out.

I hope this article has been useful and will help you set-up some very profitable Joint Ventures in the future. Take action right now and good luck!

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