Dirty Little Secrets

by Jonathan Goodman on June 13, 2013

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This is Jonathan Goodman, Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today’s topic is “Dirty Little Secrets: The Complacency of the American Individual.” This is going to veer a little bit off-track from what I normally talk about. We’re still going to have our great segments, but I am extremely frustrated with both the news of what’s going on with Verizon and Google and the FBI’s requests for data, mixed in with the news media’s inability to fully educate us on the circumstances, as well as the American individual’s inability to rally the cry against what is becoming a tyrannically led society.

Let me state from the start that I am not a politically active or motivated individual. I partake in voting and that is pretty much the extent of my politics. I don’t feel that things are getting done in Congress. I don’t like what is happening with this data being provided to the NSA and to the FBI. I’m extremely concerned about the slippery path we are on all in the name of protection against terrorism. Although I am deeply concerned, but I am to blame just as everyone is in that I am not marching the streets. I did not partake in any of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I didn’t go down there. I don’t march. I’m extremely passive. But for me, I feel we’ve crossed a critical line in our society, and I’ll get into that more. I’m riled up about this issue, so it’s definitely on the forefront of my thinking, but of course I want to go through all the segments we have on this podcast and then do justice to this topic.

Oops of the Week

So our first segment is “Oops of the Week.” This week, the Oops may not fit perfectly into the Oops segment, but it’s rather interesting tale. SEOmoz, one of the leaders in the SEO industry, recently changed their name and took off the SEO, so now they are just Moz. This is an interesting change because my company is an Internet marketing company. That’s what I tell people when they ask me what I do. SEOmoz is now changing their name and dropping the SEO.

I think that we see this is a trend of where we really do need to go because the connotation is very muddy with business owners of what SEO is. A lot of people have had very bad experiences, partially due to their own fault because they hire companies that don’t really tell them exactly what they’re going to do. And then months down the road after they’ve paid them and there are no results, those businesses scurry away. And the individual business owner is left to handle the loss of funds and the misdirection for their website. So I understand the strategic dropping of the SEO by SEOmoz.

What’s interesting, though, is that as soon as they dropped the SEO and they focused on just Moz, they immediately attacked another trademark called Doz. Now here are all the facts behind it. The Doz trademark was filed on March 12, 2012. But they did it electronically, and there’s a whole issue behind that, which I will get to in a second. The Moz trademark was actually filed on August 16, 2011.

You have to think, well, maybe this was a strategically planned changing of the name and at some point, Rand Fishkin, who runs the company, realized that they were going to drop the SEO from Moz and become a broader company just like the movie about Facebook, where he says to drop “the” from The Facebook. So it become just Facebook. Now Moz can stand on its own and it can branch out into other areas. It doesn’t have to just remain within the SEO industry.

So it is strategically a very smart move. The difference between the Doz and the Moz trademark is how they were actually filed. A lot of people are trying to take the quick road with no funds. I understand that small businesses need to do things quickly, get it off and move on. And this is exactly what happens. They go online and they know they want to do a trademark. They wind up at the first website that they see and it’s talking about an electronically filed trademark registration.

There is a significant difference between paying $40 for a trademark and hiring a patent trademark attorney and going through the proper process. It’s going to cost a couple of thousand dollars. I’ve done it. I’ve done it the correct way, and I know people who have done it the incorrect way. What is going to happen here regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong is that number one, they did an electronic registration and did not do an analysis to see whether there were competing names or competing data or companies that might object.

Certainly, if you go through the proper process and get an entire report is done, it will cost several thousand dollars. But it will come back and give you important information. When I registered Halyard Consulting, for example, it said that there was a Halyard Consulting in Germany and a Halyard Financial here in America. I have to be aware of that when I’m attempting to register a trademark. That doesn’t mean that you don’t register the trademark. You just have to write it in a way that shows uniqueness.

So a general action electronically-filed for $40 trademark filing isn’t going to get your weight in gold when it comes to the time when someone challenges that. I’ve known Sarah Bird, who is the COO at SEOmoz, for years. I actually met her at the same party I met Danny Dover, which I’ve spoken about in a previous podcast. Obviously, I’m much more frequently talking to Danny Dover than I am Sarah Bird, but when I go to Seattle, Sarah knows who I am. And I do see her on Facebook all the time.

She’s a lawyer. She’s moved up in the ranks and is now COO. She knows how to handle these things. And she knew, probably through strategic meetings, that there was a possibility that SEOmoz was going to change their name. She probably filed 20, 30 or 40 different trademarks for any kind of variation of the name SEOmoz. That was done back in 2011, and now we’ve got Doz registering the trademark in 2012.

There are two very interesting things here. First is the question of who knew what when? Because loose lips sink ships. I would be very curious to know – and this is certainly a suggestion to any business facing this kind of thing – if a trademark was registered in 2011 for Moz and a trademark was registered in 2012 for Doz, did SEOmoz during that one-year period fire anybody? Did anybody leave? Does anybody have intimate connections to this guy who registered Doz? If so, that’s nearly criminal because that’s corporate espionage. Did somebody take information that was privileged and confidential and give it to someone else in the hope that they could ride off the coattails of the change of name?

I have no affiliation with SEOmoz aside from knowing people who work there, but my suggestion to SE0moz is to solve this quickly. If the guy wants a certain amount of money, pay him. Grab the domain name, close it down never to be opened again. Have him sign a nondisclosure agreement where he can’t talk about the financial situation, what was given or what was paid. Because now that you’re Moz, you’re going to need to move forward. And this guy is already gaining credibility just in the online chat rooms. There are people who are suggesting that SEOmoz is being a bully, when if they looked at the facts about when the trademarks were created, it would be very clear that one was following the other.

Semantic Minute

Let’s move on now to Semantic Minute. Google introduced the Data Highlighter Tool for Structured Data and Markup. It’s within the Google Webmaster Tools under Optimization. Right now it’s for reviews and events only. But basically what it allows you to do is go into Webmaster Tools. You go under the website that you have and go into the Structured Data. And you go to pages that have either events or reviews and mark those up.

We might have covered this already because this is what I speak about all the time, but you are trying to associate in this case reviews or events as tangible things that Google can understand when you mark these things up and you explain to Google, what criteria they are and what categories they fit under, Google is then able to have a better understanding of the information that is on your website.

Supposedly, all you have to do is about five or ten pages. Then the learning mechanism within Google Webmaster Tools is able to go through your entire website, see what’s marked up as reviews and events and can extrapolate that data and grab it into semantic code.

Hacker News

Now let’s move on to Hacker News. There were two very interesting stories coming out of Hacker News. First, Nir Goldshlager. What a great name, by the way. Who even knows if that’s his real name? But he’s a security researcher and founder of BreakSec. He’s found a huge privacy data vulnerability in PayPal. So PayPal uses a third party application called Actuate iPortal Application, which displays customer reports.

Nir Goldshlager downloaded the trial version and he read through all the source code and he found a file that allowed him to log into and access user data without any required credentials. Being the good guy that Nir is and being a security researcher, he immediately alerted PayPal and they have since fixed the issue. So no worries for the rest of the population. But it’s very interesting that these guys are out there researching this stuff and then providing the data back to the companies.

Another important piece of Hacker News is that a sophisticated Android malware called Backdoor.androidos.obad.a has been found by security researchers at Kaspersky Lab. The malware exploits multiple vulnerabilities in Android operating system, as well as blocking the ability to uninstall it. The malware is able to gain root access and can execute and update remotely. Fortunately, Kaspersky says that the malware is not spreading to a level where we all need to be concerned. They have notified Google, and Google is working on those vulnerabilities.

Dirty Little Secrets

Now on to our main topic: Dirty Little Secrets. Americans have become terribly complacent to this idea of wiretapping. Yes, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. But it’s just a terribly slippery slope. Now aside from the wackadoo conspirator theorists out there, no one is up in arms over this. You go back 40 years or back to World War II. Now what if the government had said we need to protect ourselves against Germans so we need to know everything about you. Therefore, we’re going to tap your phones and you’re not going to know we’re tapping your phones. But we’re going to wiretap Americans across the board and retain that data to see whether there are German spies.

Look at what we did with the Japanese. The internment, right? We didn’t do that to Germans, but it’s just a very slippery slope in how we as a society want to combat terrorism. We call them terrorists today. During World War II, they called them enemies. It doesn’t matter. Terrorists is the term that we’re using because there’s not a guy who is dressed up in Army suit who we have going up against our guys. We have people that are laying low, radicalizing themselves and then doing damage like at the Boston Marathon.

I think the big issue here is that now Google and Verizon are required to give this data out. When Google was founded, their one big motto was Do No Evil, and now they’re almost forced – they actually are forced – to do evil. To give the government what we would consider personalized data. Here’s an idea for what Google should do. Google and Verizon together should buy a half hour of television time on all the major networks and show us exactly what they have to provide to the FBI.

Of course, all of these requests are secret, although we know them now. And all of this is contained within the guise of keeping us safe. So I can only assume that Google and Verizon are not allowed to tell the American public the information and the data that they’re relaying back to the NSA and the FBI. That’s a big black hole for us because we know the data is being given, but we don’t know what data is being given and we don’t know the extent of data being given.

Google has the ability to build a schematic of who is connected to who in the world. Now absolutely the government should have the same connectors, right? We should know who these bomb idiots in Boston were affiliated with, who they were connected to, who they reached out to and who they touched. But what kind of data does the government really need to know about you and me? Again, I don’t want to take this podcast down a conspirator theory avenue and I’m not going down that road.

My hope in my heart is that what the government is doing is for the benefit of all of us, but who also has access to that data? Does the Republican Party have access to that data? Does the Democratic Party have access to that data? Will that data now be incorporated into who I’m affiliated with and connected with during the next presidential campaign? It’s all just a terribly slippery slope.

It reminds me of the movie, “V for Vendetta.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very good move, but it’s not “Ben Hur” or “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It’s not a classic movie, but it gets the message home. When you see all these people on TV and they’re all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, you have to ask yourself why. The reason why is this movie. This movie kind of re-initiated the Guy Fawkes ability to demonstrate. What he was going to do was insane and destructive, but it does put to question the ability to comment on the society in which we’re living.

In that movie, there is a very good speech. The speech could be taken out of the movie and applied to today’s society. The actor playing the lead role says:  “I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War. Terror. Disease. There were a myriad of problems that conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you.”

Let me just say, if that’s what we’re working on and that’s why this data is being given and if it’s because of the fear that we have, then we have already lost. Again, I’m not a political person, but I know there are people out there who are saying the same thing. If this is the way that we’re going to combat terrorism by creating a society in which we are monitored and tracked, we’re not the society that we once were. We’ve fundamentally changed.

Are we safer? Maybe. What’s interesting is that if all this data was already provided and the Boston Marathon bombers were already on a list, so how did this all happen? Who is seeing that data? And you can’t say that the government is working perfectly because all I have to do is point to what’s happening at the Veterans Administration to show you a buckling ceiling of mounds of paper. So where is this going and who is looking at it? And is it at the end of the day really making us safer?

Rant of the Week

I already kind of combined my Rant of the Week with the main topic of today’s podcast, but since I have a Rant of the Week, I might as will provide that now. My rant is about meeting deadlines. When I hire somebody and I expressly give them a deadline and they don’t meet it, they shouldn’t come back to me surprised that I fired them. Now I understand if I’m hiring internationally that your night is my day and you may be 6 hours or 12 hours ahead or behind depending on where you are in the world. But that’s your responsibility.

I’m not going to get into the details of who I hired and where I hired them. I’m just going to say that I had a project that needed to be completed in a certain time frame and you missed the deadline. I would rather you’d handed in garbage that not handing in anything at all. That’s the professor coming out in me. That is the school teacher in me, but it is critically important. When you’re given an assignment and somebody is paying you money to complete that assignment, it’s your responsibility to get it in on time.

This is turning into a very angry podcast, and I apologize if this is completely out of the ballpark from where my podcasts normally go. But I think this is more true to life for me. It’s not as stoic and staged as some of my other podcasts. I’m certainly having a lot more fun doing this one than just reading off details and data. But again, I don’t want this to be a political podcast. On the other hand, this is my half hour, so it’s important that I’m able to express myself.

App Highlight

The last segment of this podcast is the App Highlight. I’d like to give you a comparison between Grammarly and Copyscape. I use Copyscape. I’ve used them for several years. What they do is you put in text from an article or from something you’ve written or something that someone you’ve hired has written into Copyscape. Then Copyscape is able to go out and search for key sentences and any comparable copying of data and sentences within that text. They do it very quickly. It costs a little bit of money.

Now, Grammarly is very interesting. I was turned on to it at the SFIMA show. Somebody suggested that I check it out. I didn’t want to do the 7-day trial, although I may do that when I’m writing my second book. For my second book, I may use this to review some of the sentence structure and that sort of thing. Grammarly does a lot more than just plagiarism and looking for copied content on the Web. It also looks at contextual spelling. It looks at the grammar, the punctuation, the style and the choice of words, and it grades you.

So I took that little outro that I always do and I did the comparison. They only scored me a 52 out of 100 and they found 10 critical writing issues. But none of the text repeated anywhere, which is very good. The big difference between Grammarly and Copyscape is the price. Grammarly is almost $30 a month compared to Copyscape where I can put in $5 and it lasts me several months. I think they’re both worth looking into, but I prefer Copyscape for right now.

Well, we’re out of time for this week. You can follow me at HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com with user name Jonathan Goodman. Transcripts of the podcasts are also available at HalyardConsulting.com and at GeekCast.fm one week after the episode airs.

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